Tag Archives: anonymous

This is why you’re so disappointed by Aliens: Colonial Marines

13 Feb

aliens colonial marines boiler gif

15 hours ago, a Reddit user, nickname throwawayacm (meaningful, isn’t it?), posted a very long explanation on why Aliens: Colonial Marines is such a bad game.

Apparently he has been on the project for around a year and a half (probably working for Gearbox), so this is a good old fashioned NDA (Non-disclosure agreemen) breaking. Enjoy!

“First off, due to me breaking NDA, I can’t provide any proof that I’m not just talking out of my ass. But I figure you’d be interested in hearing what I have to say regardless. I’ve been on the project for around a year and a half, so some of the following are things I’ve heard from more senior guys.

Pecan (the internal codename for ACM) has a pretty long history. SEGA, GBX and 20th Century FOX came to an agreement to produce an Aliens game around 6 years ago, after which SEGA almost immediately announced it, long before Pecan had even started production. The game has been in active development in the past, only to be shelved in favor of another project (Borderlands, Duke, etc), and each time it was resumed it would undergo a major content overhaul.

SEGA, naturally, wasn’t super pleased about the delays, but GBX got away with it for a long time and the contract between SEGA and GBX kept getting augmented to push the projected release further and further back. The last time it was resumed, GBX outsourced a good portion of the game to outside companies. Initially, the plan was for TimeGate to take the majority of campaign, GBX would take MP, Demiurge and Nerve would handle DLC and various other focused tasks. This decision was made mostly so that most of the developers at GBX could continue working on Borderlands 2, while a small group of LDs, coders and designers dealt with Pecan.

Somehow the schedules for Pecan and Borderlands 2 managed to line up and GBX realized that there was no fucking way they could cert and ship two titles at the same time. Additionally, campaign (which was being developed by TimeGate) was extremely far behind, even as Pecan’s Beta deadline got closer and closer. In April or May (can’t remember which), Pecan was supposed to hit beta, but GBX instead came to an agreement with SEGA that they would push the release date back one more time, buying GBX around 9 mos extension.

About 5 of those 9 months went to shipping BL2. In that time, TimeGate managed to scrap together 85% of the campaign, but once Borderlands 2 shipped and GBX turned its attention to Pecan, it became pretty apparent that what had been made was in a pretty horrid state. Campaign didn’t make much sense, the boss fights weren’t implemented, PS3 was way over memory, etcetcetc. GBX was pretty unhappy with TG’s work, and some of Campaign maps were just completely redesigned from scratch. There were some last minute feature requests, most notably female marines, and the general consensus among GBX devs was that there was no way this game was going to be good by ship. There just wasn’t enough time.

Considering that SEGA was pretty close to taking legal action against GBX, asking for an extension wasn’t an option, and so Pecan crash-landed through certification and shipping. Features that were planned were oversimplified, or shoved in (a good example of this are challenges, which are in an incredibly illogical order). Issues that didn’t cause 100% blockers were generally ignored, with the exception of absolutely horrible problems. This isn’t because GBX didn’t care, mind you. At a certain point, they couldn’t risk changing ANYTHING that might cause them to fail certification or break some other system. And so, the product you see is what you get.

Beyond gameplay, the story has been raised as an issue several times. I can’t really comment without feeling bad beyond saying that the script was approved by 20th Century FOX, and that the rush to throw a playable product together came at the cost of the story. Campaign does a pretty bad job of explaining a lot of the questions raised at the start of the game, and so hopefully there will be DLC to flesh that out a bit better.

I’ll answer some questions, but I have to run soon, so it may take a while for responses.”

If you want to join the conversation, or just take a look at the original post, go here.

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Game Developer Salary Survey 2013

4 Feb

The Game Developer Magazine and Gamasutra are inviting readers to participate in their annual Game Developer Salary Survey, a worldwide, publicly-released statistical study of game industry salaries and benefits.

The survey takes approximately 6-7 minutes to complete, and will run until Friday, February 22nd. The results will be published on April 2013.

So if you are a programmer, a game designer, a tester, an animator (or you just clean the toilets at Ubisoft) you can fill out the survey here. Obviously it is anonymous, and none of the information presented will be associated with any individually identifiable information.

But what are the results from the last year? Here we go! (bad news for you testers)

Programming: Already some of the highest paid talent in the game industry, programmers made even more in 2011 as their average salary jumped up to nearly $92,962 from $85,733. Salaries increased across the experience spectrum, with newer workers (under three years of experience) reporting a whopping $10,700 average increase over last year.

Art and Animation: Artists and animators’ average salaries increased to $75,780 over the previous year’s average of $71,354. The largest gains went to art directors and lead/technical artists, which bodes well for the industry veterans and less so for the younger artists and animators.

Game Design: Game designers, writers, and creative directors were paid $73,386 on average in 2011, up from $70,223. Game designers with less than three years of experience received the biggest boost over last year ($3,500).

Production: Though producers saw a huge increase in 2010 for their average salaries to $88,544, that dropped last year to $85,687. Most of these cuts were felt by producers with 3-6 years of experience, whose average salaries fell about $4,900 from 2010, and by producers with over six years of experience, whose salaries were cut by $3,300. Women continue to be comparatively well-represented in the production department (16 percent) — men absorbed most of the salary drop, while female producers’ salaries actually rose.

Audio: The average audio professional’s reported salary in 2011 was significantly higher, $83,182 compared to 2010’s $68,088. While it is difficult to draw meaningful conclusions from the data due to there being fewer respondents for this category compared to other disciplines, we received 30 percent more responses from audio professionals than we did in 2010, so the job market might just be on the uptick.

Quality Assurance: Quality assurance professionals (testers and QA leads) are the lowest-paid workers in the games industry for yet another year — and in 2011, their average salary decreased to $47,910 from $49,009 in 2010. The salary hit was mostly felt by QA leads with over six years of experience, while those with less experience in the field actually earned more.

Business: Business and legal employees are still the highest paid in the industry, but their salaries dropped from $106,452 in 2010 to $102,160 last year. Those with more than six years of experience were negatively impacted the most, making nearly $8,000 less. Newcomers, however, saw their average salaries increase by $14,000.