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[TRENCHES] Thursday, June 26, 2014 - The True Meaning

GethGeth LegionPerseus VeilRegistered User, Moderator, Penny Arcade Staff, Vanilla Staff vanilla
edited June 2014 in The Penny Arcade Hub
The True Meaning


The True Meaning
http://trenchescomic.com/comic/post/the-true-meaning

I’m Not Working That Job!

Anonymous

When I graduated high school all I wanted to do was work in the gaming industry. This was a time when EA was a company people were proud to work for and WoW had no connection with Activision. All-in-all this was the last time I would ever think about wanting to work for a big company.

I wanted to be an illustrator. I wanted to be the guy who shaped the look of the game before the game was a game. So I did what any young artist would do: I applied to a prestigious school with no money, got in, was told I had too much money, and opted for a two year art degree at a local college while I saved up to go to the nice art college.

While there one of my teachers asked an old student of his to come and give a lecture on his post-graduation activities. He had graduated with his generic art degree and, like I had planned on, moved on to a prestigious art school and then worked his way into the industry.

He told us the generics: working through his two year school, working full time to pay for the next school, and what it was like to graduate with a degree in sequential art, graphic design, and a minor in something-or-another.

After the generics he told us the first thing he did was apply for a job in the industry and that turned out to be a QA or game tester. This was in 2006 before that shitty gameshow that glorified game testing like it was a guaranteed door into making the games themselves.

He said right from the get-go he worked from early in the morning to midnight. This didn’t sound so bad to me, playing games for 14-16 hours straight? I did that anyway on the weekends. He did it every day. He didn’t get days off.

Eventually they had him on a schedule where it would be less restful to go home to sleep and come back than it would be just to bunk at his desk. So he did. With everyone else.

This was his home for months. He would eat there, drink there, bathe there, he rarely went home. He said the smell from everyone around him was nauseating. People would bring in hot plates and cook different foods or order out from ethnic delivery places. The smell, he told us, was enough to make you vomit.

He did this for a couple of years while shopping his portfolio around to different dev studios before finally landing a job as a character designer for one of them. The stress didn’t end there though.

Apparently he was expected to compete with his fellow artists for the position he was hired for. If you ask any artist of any medium what is the best way to stay sharp and keep getting better and they will tell you to just keep drawing/playing/recording etc and that’s just what he did. He would go to work and draw and draw and draw, come home late, set up in his tiny kitchen and draw and draw and draw, then come in to work with little or no sleep and keep doing the same thing all the while being told that everyone else was up for his job so he better not screw up or stop outshining everyone on his team.

I’ve never worked at a dev studio but I did work QA for Nameless Cell Phone Company and the bosses constantly told us if we didn’t keep our stats just right, if they fell by one number, we would be fired and replaced in as much time as it took to walk us out the door. That was stressful but all I had to do was talk to people on the phone and make sure their over-privileged twelve-year-olds could text their friends. He had to meet the demands of everyone in the studio working on the title he was on while basically racing with his design teammates.

One day he had a stroke due to his lifestyle of 100% stress, little to no sleep, and unhealthy eating.

All of that work, all of that stress, just to end up in the hospital and the one thing he worried about was losing his job titles to someone else because he was missing work and therefore out of the competition.

All of the crap he went through just to end up in the hospital had me off of the path to working in a studio. I know full well his experience was probably not common. If it was the mortality rate for artists in the industry would be enough that a simple Google search of “game designers dead from stress” would turn up a list of names that grew every few months.

I do know that he left the industry and does screen-printing now. He might not be super successful but he’s alive and happy. I’ll take that over having my name attached to a AAA title of critically acclaimed game any day.


Geth on

Posts

  • RMS OceanicRMS Oceanic Registered User regular
    This is the Trenches story:

    thomas1.jpg

    dfkabnzRenegade WolfTryCatcher
  • melaltonmelalton Registered User regular
    Yay, another Isaac strip! I've always thought the heart and promise of the series are in these three early strips:

    8/9/11 - First pane: Isaac, sitting in his expensive sport car with the convertible top down, in the rain. "We'd love to hire you, but you're just overqualified."
    9/8/11 - "That's a crazy story. I knew your name sounded familiar".
    11/01/11 - Isaac, sitting in his expensive sports car with the convertible top up, tilts the seat back and sleeps in his car.

    The whole series should be revolving around Isaac and his story.

    cB557
  • JortalusJortalus Registered User regular
    The English in the comic is...suspect. I'm actually kind of thrown off by the writing lately. It could use the tiniest bit of editing so that it flows a bit better.

    TPSoufortyDonnicton
  • JormungandrJormungandr Registered User regular
    Jortalus wrote: »
    The English in the comic is...suspect. I'm actually kind of thrown off by the writing lately. It could use the tiniest bit of editing so that it flows a bit better.

    Everything reads correctly to me if I replace "Disregarding" in the second panel with "Disregard". Which could have been him changing the wording in the sentence and not fixing the verb to match. Like it could have been "My problem wasn't not disregarding enough ... " and then he changed it to the current form and just missed the change from disregarding to "to disregard".

  • Finnish_LineFinnish_Line Registered User regular
    My problem is the intentional bad English in panel one to get a point across, and then unintentional bad English in panel two. It really throws everything off.

  • vardisvardis Registered User regular
    edited June 2014
    How can you tell it's intentionally bad English in panel one? I don't see how using "people's" gets a point across.

    vardis on
    GaslightdonavannjDonnicton
  • fortyforty Registered User regular
    So for now, Ty Halley is writing The Trenches. If text mistakes in Penny Arcade are called Tychpos, are text mistakes in the Trenches called... Typos? I'm hoping this new word of mine will stick.

    donavannjmarsiliesDonnicton
  • dfkabnzdfkabnz Registered User new member
    Is it sad that I created this account just to protest how bad The Trenches has gotten? You may gripe about the writing, or the grammar, and you're absolutely right. But the worst part for me is that I can't look at the characters' faces—every single panel is chock full of INEXPLICABLY EXTREME EMOTION!!! Gah, I'm done.

  • streeverstreever Registered User regular
    dfkabnz
    It's funny, I keep seeing this sentiment, but I think the trenches is better than ever. I enjoy the layered narrative, the less tight focus on Issac, and I really love the more physical humor. The characters have more motion, more expression, and are just more fun with the new creative team.

    I don't get the negative feeling toward it. I guess it's just opinions, but I feel weird being in the apparent minority on this. I wonder what the breakdown is of people who are enjoying it versus people who aren't?

  • GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    dfkabnz wrote: »
    Is it sad that I created this account just to protest how bad The Trenches has gotten? You may gripe about the writing, or the grammar, and you're absolutely right. But the worst part for me is that I can't look at the characters' faces—every single panel is chock full of INEXPLICABLY EXTREME EMOTION!!! Gah, I'm done.

    The third panel face may be a little over the top. All the other panels are fine IMO, and I love the second panel face.

  • rahkeesh2000rahkeesh2000 Registered User regular
    streever wrote: »
    dfkabnz
    I don't get the negative feeling toward it. I guess it's just opinions, but I feel weird being in the apparent minority on this.

    It's a Penny Arcade site, and the strip used to have Tycho's writing. What did you expect?

  • streeverstreever Registered User regular
    streever wrote: »
    dfkabnz
    I don't get the negative feeling toward it. I guess it's just opinions, but I feel weird being in the apparent minority on this.

    It's a Penny Arcade site, and the strip used to have Tycho's writing. What did you expect?

    Do you mean the standards would be much higher than on other sites? Or maybe that PA fans are pretty devoted to Tycho and aren't going to be happy with anyone else?

    See, I actually think the comic has improved, which is why it seems weird to me. I feel like the comic started to hit its stride a month ago; before, I checked it because why not? but now I look forward to it.

  • TubeTube Registered User admin
    dfkabnz wrote: »
    Is it sad that I created this account just to protest how bad The Trenches has gotten?

    Yes.

    streevercB557
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