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I'm since a few months back working at a software development firm which creates an enterprise product.

I've always dreamt of being an awesome game developer, but I'm fearing all this enterprise stuff will eventually kill these dreams.

What do you think? I should add that the work is just fine.

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Is this too subjective to be a question? –  Levinaris Jul 19 '11 at 16:24
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I don't know the culture however Blizzard appears to be an enterprise software development company that has an impressive software release schedule. –  Levinaris Jul 19 '11 at 16:25
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Why did you send your CV to them? You should send it to game dev shop instead. If I don't want to pack fish in alaska, I don't send my CV there. –  user2567 Jul 19 '11 at 16:33
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@Pierre 303 Sometimes it's not always that simple. There can be other factors (for example family, location, and local economy) that play into a decision to work in a less than optimal place for an individual. –  Corv1nus Jul 19 '11 at 19:09
    
@Levinaris Excellent example of a company that is both enterprise and game developer! –  Mark Canlas Jul 19 '11 at 22:26
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closed as not a real question by MichaelT, gnat, Kilian Foth, thorsten müller, Bart van Ingen Schenau Apr 17 '13 at 11:13

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9 Answers

I'm in a similar situation and here's what I've found:

  • Any job will limit your availability/energy for side projects and extra-curricular learning.
  • No job can stop you from doing what you love.

There are also things that you can and will get from working on an enterprise product.

  • Teamwork is usually a big deal on enterprise product teams
  • Tools are often good
  • Your soft skills become important
  • Processes are often well laid out

Some of these things will help as a developer or are directly translatable to a game development position.

I think the key is that if you really want to get into the game dev field you have to keep at it. Practice in your own time to build experience in game industry tools/technologies and whenever possible, apply to positions in the game industry that you would like to do and are capable.

In my experience, the only difficult is that I enjoy my job and the people. I have good tools, good coworkers, time and resources to learn, decent pay and get to write code. That satisfies much of my desires. At a previous job, where I hated pretty much everything about the place, I coded at home all the time because the itch burned like a raging fire. Now, I get to scratch it almost enough to placate the urges, and that's sometimes sad because I'm only learning things that are related to my work - not my outside interests.

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+1: The less code I get to write at work, the more I write at home which means I am learning new things. Vicious circle ... –  IAbstract Jul 19 '11 at 16:50
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+1 @SnOrfus, with this addition: whatever you learn as an enterprise product developer, you can translate into any other IT field (development or not) and especially now-a-days into game / entrainment development. Some of the most successful games are built up in the same fashion as enterprise products - the games are based on mature databases, complex (business) logic, priority oriented process work-flows, etc etc - take any massive online game, for example. Essentially ERPs, but with a really fancy graphical user interface! –  Martin S. Stoller Jul 19 '11 at 17:19
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You can still pursue that dream while you're an enterprise developer. Maybe find an open-source game to contribute to in your free time?

You may find that the enterprise work eventually becomes suffocating to you if you are committed to becoming a game developer. If it does, your experience and any open-source experience you can gather could help you land a better "dream job" in the future.

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It's possible:

  • You might actually find out that you're really good at this "enterprise product" stuff and how it works for "big business", and you might grow to regard game development as kid's stuff. You'd lose your innocence and become jaded and stuffy.

  • You might get so burnt out on development work that you decide programming, in general, is drudgery, and you can't imagine it being fun anymore. You'd lose your enthusiasm and become depressed.

  • You might become frustrated with the complexity of the system and start to doubt your own abilities, and decide you aren't really capable of game programming. You'd feel defeated and worthless.

  • You might find out that you actually don't have to work that hard to pull a steady paycheck, and fall into the rhythm of doing just enough not to get fired. You'd become lazy and unmotivated.

Or, you could decide that you're going to stick to your dream and make it happen. During your day job you'll take care of business, learning how to work as part of a team, honing your problem-solving skills, getting general development experience, building your resume, and generally kicking that enterprise product in the nuts. On your own time, you'll do your independent game dev and be on the lookout for game dev jobs.

Like most things, if you are determined to do this, you'll figure out a way to make it work. But you have to be serious about your goal and stay motivated. It's not just going to fall into your lap one day because you were daydreaming about the games you'd like to make.

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This precisly what I'll do, cheers! –  David The Man Jul 20 '11 at 3:49
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I don't think that any software development that you do will hurt you. It's important to learn all different types of programming to be well-rounded. I too once had aspirations of being a rock-star game developer but it's very hard to break into and in the meantime I needed to make some money and I wound up working in an 'enterprise'... and I still work in that space to this day. Sure, I have written my fair share of hobby games and stuff and if an opportunity came up that allowed me to go work in the game space I'd definitely grab it. In the meantime though I will keep doing what I am doing and finding it enjoyable. Programming is awesome, it's fun and it's a great gig so my advice is to stick with it and try to learn as much as possible. It can't hurt...

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I'll say yes. It may well kill your dream. Don't do it.

Don't do enterprise software unless you actually like it. Doing something you don't enjoy can really suck the ambition and energy right out of you. Moreover, you won't really be able to excel at it unless your heart's in it, so is there really a point? You actually live in a country (Sweden) where money isn't everything--so I it seems foolish to make that your sticking point.

If you want to be an awesome game developer, work at that. Don't waste your time on distractions.

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In my opinion, software development is software development. We all don't have the liberty to write the software 9-5 that we would normally CHOOSE to right, but if you love programming in general, then that should be enough to give you some self-edification.

Many of us, if not all passionate developers, have our passionate weeknight/weekend projects that really get us going.

Take your professional development as a way to learn lessons and expand on your knowledge so that you can apply it to your game programming. Then maybe one day you will be able to transfer over to that industry.

Good luck!

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You can still get a job in the game industry even though you aren't in it now. The key bullet points that you need to meet are:

  • You need a stellar reputation as a top notch developer at your current place of unemployment.

  • You need to show that you have the education to be useful (eg. math, programming language, ai, game theory, game programming etc...).

  • Since you aren't in the industry already, it is critical that you have a portfolio of games/game-like projects that you've done on your own.

I looked into a career direction change to game development several years ago, including interviewing, but in the end decided against it because the long hours didn't fit my desired life-style. I prefer to enjoy my kids while I have them at home. Once they are out of the house then maybe that would be an option once again, But by then I might be a bit old for the young whippersnappers that tend to work for game companies. Who knows, at that point I should be in the position to be able to take some risks and maybe start my own company since I won't have the kids depending upon me any longer, just the wife.

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And there are things that I think enterprise developers could bring to game development. World of Warcraft's auction house sucked compared to some of the inventory management systems I have worked on. And I think that is true of most games.

Battlefield 2 server selection screen was far more cumbersome than a typical brain dead data grid in just about any .Net business app. In general I think games do very poorly at data presentation compared to many enterprise applications.

So enjoy your time and learn these skills and maybe someday you will make games better.

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Write games. Geek out on the craft of game-writing. Pursue jobs that involve designing/writing games. Don't let anything that doesn't need to, get in the way.

Sometimes food/clothes/shelter/getting-laid-occasionally need to get in the way. Anything else should be replaced ASAP.

So if the Enterprise job is soul-sucking and leaves you with zero energy at the end of the day, look for a smaller company full of smart people that don't like to work hard when they can work smart (the hours tend to be better) until you can build up the skill-sets/creds that you need.

But mostly, stay focused on that first part and keep your eyes on the prize. The beauty/advantage of games is that you can show them to people. Get good/creative at it and they'll like what they see.

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