From Social to Awesome
I’m kind of a weird person… at first I thought I was born to make social games. I was the only person I knew that openly stated that actually liked those kind of games. I even thought there was much to do and experiment in that area. So my first experience as a game artist was, as you might guess, in a social gaming company.
In the beginning it was great, but as months went by, I started to notice some strange things. Let’s put this in context: some of the biggest social gaming companies that operated here owned their financial success to some big investments, which allowed them to grow from groups of 15 employees to 100 or more in just a couple of weeks.
That hiring rhythm was kind of crazy. Week after week lots of people joined the company, everyone had their own way of working, and once their “area of expertise” got detected, they ended up stuck doing the same thing forever. In my personal experience, whenever I asked for a change I received arguments like “You’re the only one who understands how this task has to be done”, and so on. And even though I started as a junior, in a context where lots of new employees keep appearing out of nowhere it only took me a few weeks to feel like a senior. Months, in these kinds of companies, feel like years…
My expectations of innovating and growing started to fade as I came to understand how rigid the workflow was. There was no space to innovate, or even to object. Don’t misunderstand me, I was not expecting the CEO to hear what I had to say, but the spaces these companies provided to do any kind of suggestions were excel docs and weird and awkward meetings often led by people I’d never met before and who knew nothing about our daily work.
We didn’t have professional interaction with other areas such as programmers, animators, etc. We were only expected to draw what we were told to and that was it. I like to call it “the shoe factory” experience.
I won’t even talk about the originality of the games…pff! I was such a dreamer…
As time passed, my expectations migrated from working in well-known social gaming companies to working in a small company doing advergames and casual games. Luckily, I could make it into HeavyBoat!
I’m rediscovering what it felt to take some important decisions. At first I was all like “And what do you think about this?”, and all I got was something like “It’s ok if you think it’s ok. You’re the expert”. It was terrifying. But now I have not only the possibility to handle the art of an entire project by myself; I also found that space to make suggestions I was struggling so much to get in the past. I can even get an answer explaining why my ideas suck! I’ve grown so much, and just in a couple of weeks…
In the end, I’m thinking that it’s not about the kind of games you develop, or even the size of the company. The important thing is to be true to your philosophy and try to do the best to be up to it. And that’s the reason I joined HeavyBoat! Hope my presence will actually make a difference and help to lead us to the right port!
Oh! BTW…my name is Paula! Nice to meet you!