BrettxPW wrote: »
Maybe meant to say "recession"? Makes a lot more sense.
Finnish_Line wrote: »
Why is this thread on page 3?
Morgan Blackpowder wrote: »
It's just sad, so many unanswered questions remain in the story :/
Perhaps it's time for a new Strip Search? Winner takes over the trenches?
QA Bug Detective01/27/2015 - Anonymous
Dear Share Your Tale,
It is an ego thing. Hopes, dreams, expectations. Developers learn that the gaming industry isn’t what they expected. It’s all math calculations and deadlines from the higher ups. I used to want to be a QA for the gaming industry, but I’ve learned that QAing, the business as it is now, is just not right. Developers will ask if it’s in scope of the project: If not, bugger off.
It’s not different from the film industry. I’d know. I worked as an editor and a screenwriter: But I’ve found myself in the position of a QA for a survey company. It’s not gaming, but I still put in 12+ hours a day to do my best.
Every day I feel like I’m about to lose my job, I’m a single QA to a project that involves 10 developers. Every day is a regression test and THEN test the new add-on. (Automated testing is slowly being constructed) I was originally a contractor for the company, moved to a salary position. Not what I expected, my voice CRACKED when that happened.
Every company operates differently: You’ve got your usual industry standard that works off fear of people afraid to get fired. Then you’ve got the small fries of people who dropped out of college and wanted to hit their dreams running. Their inspiration will fuel those under them because they will always throw themselves in the trenches.
Our CEO still takes up customer support calls if we’re short on man-power, stays up late to help the development team to hit their 7 day deadline for a major release. The company’s belief is to put in over 100%. If a customer asks for something, we’ll give it to them and go steps further that’d take them off guard.
I’m the QA that checks out the stories to make sure the fixes work out and do not break anything else along the way.
We started adopting the “Open book” method, where people could voice their opinions anonymously. It backfires when there’s only 1 QA. I stood up and said “I’m proud of all the code you put out and how fast you guys react, but I will watch your back. You are proud of what you do, but as a QA, it’s my job to make sure it’s PERFECT. I’m psyched to see what you push out. BUT I will cover your mother f***ing a**es to make sure it’s perfect. You can shrug me off and say it’s out of scope, or you can gain the company’s respect with a 1 line code change. Your choice.”
QA and Development are in the same pot (even though off the books we’re two different groups), they do not realize this. Once we realize we’re in the same trenches, and both sides put aside their egos, we can push out the best products out there that the world will be psyched to see. The funny thing is this. Brand names are just that: Names. The developers and QA’s create the code and solidify it. Without it, they’re just names.
I’m now a QA to 10+ developers. When the developers learned we’re all on the same side, things got better. But it comes down to if they’re willing to listen. If they’re not, it’s better to look for people who are willing to. The war is won when the scout says “Tanks with support’s coming.” not with “We can take it with hand guns.”
Regretfully that gaming industry will always be filled with wide eyed youths who think the brand name will score them the dream they want to live, but for those who are thrown into the industry inside and outside of gaming, where a mistake can cost a company thousands of dollars in a day’s time, we’ve got to stick together and back off when the higher ups ask for unreasonable deadlines and expectations. If they expect us to fail, let them realize the fault of their ways. The best things come out of team work, not out of exploitation.
This is over 400 words, but I hope it’s a good read. It’s still just me: I still put in 8+ hours a day, but there’s something to it when you’re in the office with the CEO and the developers, for a 60+ employee company, still working late in the building with you. Laughing, joking, and trying to perfect the application that makes you feel appreciated. Sometimes the old system’s and BS needs to be torn down to make way for a better adaptable company. If you speak up and everyone turns their back on you, let them. Get to know those who share your vision. Hard work is not handed to you on a silver platter, it’s done by support, friends, and team work.
I am a QA; and I am happy with the team I work with.
bowen wrote: »
The bacteria in your poop exist everywhere.
Gaslight wrote: »
Finnish_Line wrote: »
Why is this thread on page 3?
Something about the way the bot posts the threads keeps it from getting bumped when there are new posts in it, since the original site content this thread was started for is from October.
Week by Week01/29/2015 - Anonymous
I spent some time with a recent QA contracting position at a mobile game company. Development schedules for mobile games can be a bit more erratic, so contracts can be shorter than your typical six month deal. When I was initially hired, I signed a two month contract. As the end of the contract loomed close, completion goals for our game had not been met and we weren’t launching on time, so they decided to extend the contract out a month. This would be repeated once more until the project finally shipped two months late. This was when the contract extensions got ridiculous.
After the game had shipped, production got word from on high that they would need several patches in the coming weeks, so staffing of the QA contractors became a week by week thing due to budget constraints. My manager could not tell me on any given day of the week if I would be coming back the next Monday. My hours were kept through an online site hosted by the contracting company, and on this site I could see when my contract was set to officially expire.
One week, my contract was set to expire on a Wednesday. I had talked to my boss about making sure to either tell me I’m no longer working there, or to get that extended before I’m legally obligated to leave the office. Sure enough, Thursday rolls around; I get on the site and notice my contract was not extended. I figured my boss would have taken care of it since we spoke, but I found myself on Thursday morning working for free.
I decided to approach my boss and let him know that I’d be out of the office until he got the contract business sorted out. He looked at me annoyed, and said, “Gahhhh, that’s right. Look, you don’t have to leave. You’ll get paid. I just forgot to talk to the producer to confirm the extension.” I stood my ground and told him in all good conscience, I couldn’t be there. I walked out.
An hour later, I get a text from him (yes, a text), alerting me things had been worked out and to return to work. I decided I would, since I needed to eat and pay rent that month. This business went on for several months before I was finally let go on the last day of one of those weekly extensions (no warning before the day of).
Familiarity Breeds Contempt02/03/2015 - Anonymous
Never have I believed a set of words to ring so true.
It all started so fantastically, so innocently, an old school friend; practically a childhood friend, from the past extending an offer after a brief reconnection through social media, to join a group of independent developers to build games together. I had just begun to master the arts of the various areas of Games Design, from creation to development through programming and 3D modelling, beginning my formal education. I was so eager. So naive.
We hadn’t spoken since those years, but to me, everything seemed sincere enough. I wholeheartedly agreed to join and work under my old friend. I began to lend my skills and advice. I created 3D models, gave ideas on game mechanics, and opinions. After a year of projects, we had nothing to show for it. That should have been the first warning sign to bail. Constant indecision plagued all decisions and no project lasted more than half a year, being sometimes built up to neigh completion then suddenly quashed simply because our leader changed his mind.
Things began to reach a high at the start of the new year however, when new talent was recruited, doubled, with two groups becoming one, leadership suddenly divided between two individuals. I should have hopped out then, looking back. It was a pure recipe for a bad ending. Sure enough, familiarity bred contempt, a little old phrase I’ve seen repeated many times, yet I feel I never understood it until then. I had become a familiar resource. I wasn’t to be replaced by people more skilled than me. I was to be replaced simply because I didn’t play the group politics as well as our new ‘co-leader’. After a short opposition, I was ruthlessly dispatched.
The thing with working both in a working environment, is that if you’re working personally with people you’d consider friends outside of what you do, it’s going to come back to bite you. Every time. It burns into your soul, your passion, even more when things get personal.
After painstaking countless hours, working on projects, an entire year and a half of work and dedication, just one day, as we finally reached our latest goal, I was told to go. Bye. I don’t need you anymore, old chum.
Thankfully, I left with my all my personal work, my half-finished game, all else lost, but one thing I didn’t leave with was neither my pride nor my passion.
Nothing personal, I was told. One might ask what start-up Indie can afford to cast away a decent programmer and modeller so casually? One who asked for no reward and never questioned your leadership?
Of course it was personal.
I’d like to say this has built my resilience, only hardened and forged this young developer’s endurance and fortitude to succeed, to find some semblance of pride in rising above this, but this was the foulest dagger in the back.
Gone is that naive belief of an Indie developer’s honor, pure and untainted by the greed, coldness and necessity to make ends meet of the game making ‘business’ I’ve read off this very page. Even the smallest of mice are capable of disposing of you when there isn’t even a dollar at stake. Things get remarkably petty in development of games big and small.
Funnily enough, I will keep working, finish my project, and that old familiar plot of friends turned into the worst of rivals I once dismissed as so cliché, may just be the one truth in my future.
Below the trenches02/05/2015 - Anonymous
I never did get into game testing, not unless you include a few open betas where the game was pretty much finished and the test was really for checking server strength. I did get into one actual closed beta for a now-outdated sci-fi MMORPG, when it was buggy as anything but still looked like it would be awesome if they could just stop the game from constantly crashing. I still don’t count it, because it felt like the bug reports I sent in to the provided email address just fell off the face of the earth.
My real experience with the gaming industry happened in summer of Y2K, when I did temp work for Nintendo’s warehouse in Redmond, Washington. I had high hopes that somehow this would magically land me a “real” job testing video games.
What I actually ended up doing, for the most part, was testing used Nintendo 64 controllers to see if they could be bundled in a refurbished N64 set. I never found out what happened to the ones we put the little orange sticker on, the “failures”... perhaps they went out in the back dumpster, as they were surely a waste of time to fix.
The controller-testing job was nearly the most coveted option at the warehouse. The only job more desired was the one which required booting up a copy of Mario 64, running Mario through a set series of steps without actually moving more than a few feet into the game world, and then turning it off to check the next cartridge. I remember imagining that surely this was more fun than what I did, but in truth was probably just as boring.
The controller-testing program was a simple set of lines on the screen and indications for when to press which button or do what motion with the joystick. I learned the pattern quickly. It was technically boring as heck, but predictable and fairly easy. The cool part was, I got to sit on an assembly line with other people who were usually gamers, so we all tested controllers while yakking about our favorite games, movies, etc.
In the end, the job proved entirely too unstable, because I never knew if I was going to be needed from one day to the next. One day I was called in along with a few other temps only to wait around for a while and finally be told we weren’t needed.
Sometimes I would work for two weeks on a decent schedule. Sometimes it was one day after weeks of nothing. It was impossible to pay rent with hours like that, but my life took a drastic turn in another direction and I left that story far behind.
Tales From The Trenches has shown me that a real job in game testing would probably have destroyed what little was left of me. For those of you slogging away at it, my hat’s off to you. The glimpse I saw of the Nintendo temp underworld probably should have been a big hint to me that what I thought was real was not actually reality, but I wouldn’t figure it out until years later.
The most memorable part about that temp job? The yellow Pikachu Volkswagen New Bug with custom tail, ears, and paint detailing that was often parked in the warehouse. Still makes me smile to remember it.
Be Careful What you Wish for…02/12/2015 - Anonymous
One of our designers was a veteran of the golden age of PC gaming, enough that they are justified to have a Wikipedia entry. When the studio was bought out, corporate sent in a new studio head to run the place. Because he was this designer’s new boss, he figured he should have his own Wikipedia entry too, tasking some subordinates to submit a profile of his career. Well, those submissions were denied because he was, “not noteworthy enough in the games industry,” to warrant one.
This guy was your typical psychotic, petty boss so needless to say, Wikipedia was never to be mentioned of ever again in his presence. Then one fateful day after exaggerating on his career on a national TV program, he called got out by the public and forced into resignation. The TV series ended perhaps due to no small part on his end.
He finally did get his Wikipedia entry, though perhaps not the way he wanted. Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.
Office Sex02/17/2015 - Anonymous
I once wrote to you guys here about how awesome my job was. I would now like to retract that former submission.
About six months into my job as a game master, I was wrongfully terminated.
Now judging by the title of this story, you probably think I got caught getting busy at work, right?
I caught two of my fellow game masters getting busy in our office gym (the shower to be precise). Not only were they bumping uglies on company property AND company time, but they were doing so while I was left to deal with the ticket queue.
(So if you had to wait to get a ticket answered on October 13th, 2012, I’m sorry)
I told my supervisor and she said she’d deal with it. She even called me back later and told me to take the next day off so I wouldn’t have to face the two employees. My weekend started the day after that so she said by the time I got back in in a few days, the issue would have been “addressed”.
Three days later I got a call from my supervisor’s boss telling me I was being “laid off”. I was told not to call anyone at the company or talk to anyone but him about it. He gave me his number and told me to call him to set up a way to get my things.
You probably read about the layoffs that actually happened. They happened AFTER I was fired. I guess they thought they could lump me in with them and no one would notice.
I called the parent company. A month or so later, they fired a few people including the two people I caught doing it.
I never got my job back, their friends at Turbine made sure of that. Painted a nasty picture of me to corporate. I guess if they were going to lose their jobs, they wanted to make sure I definitely wouldn’t get mine back.
I wonder if my former boss will lose her job too when I officially file my lawsuit? Hmm…
AntonNUL wrote: »
Here's the story in question. Although... who's submitting these stories?
CEO - Crazy, Emotional, Overbearing02/24/2015 - Anonymous
I started my career in the video game industry as a tester, just like so many others. My QA department was amazing. I worked with smart, motivated people, learned a ton, and fell more in love with the industry every day.
Soon after, I switched to Project Management/Production with the same company and was fortunate enough to have great mentors. After three years I was married with a daughter, so I switched companies for a new job, the Producer title, and twice the pay—I was laid off 5 months later.
Following the layoff, I worked as a Project Manager for a software company outside of games, but got bored after a year or so. After taking all the Project Management cert classes I could, I decided to go back into video games and accepted a position with a small game development startup. It was a small team that was spread across the country and mostly worked from home. The really exciting part was that it was owned by a real legend of the industry.
I was to be the sole Producer, in charge of defining process, planning releases, and also directly managed the engineering team. On top of all this, it came with a little bump in pay, so I was ecstatic! My ship had finally come in!
Soon after my start date I found out that this legend was a co-owner of the company. The CEO was actually his wife. The third co-founder was a long time friend of the family and had largely been in charge of Operations before my arrival.
The engineering team was truly amazing. Despite them ALL working remote, I’d never worked with a more invested and motivated group. They were, however, very frustrated. The reason? The CEO had forcibly wedged herself into the day-to-day development minutiae. Despite having no knowledge of modern software development, she was, in her mind, our expert on how long a task should take, and she was also convinced that the entire engineering team was padding their numbers if they claimed anything would take a week or more to get done.
I spent months playing peacemaker between her and the entire team, it was all I could do, on a near daily basis, to keep them all from quitting. That third co-founder I mentioned was soon forced out of the company for a disagreement with her as well. With him gone, her blame for everything that didn’t go her way fell on me.
As a last straw, I finally received a phonecall from the CEO at 11pm one Thursday night. She was in tears, sobbing into the phone to me because one of the engineers had written her a “nasty email” in which he clearly expressed his frustration at being called back in to work, at 9pm, from the first date he’d had with his fiancee in over a month. I’ve never been so uncomfortable in my life. It was the single most unprofessional thing I’d ever been exposed to, and that’s saying a lot.
During those 20-30 minutes of listening, I applied for three jobs. Things moved fast and I interviewed for one the next day. The interview process continued over the weekend and I delivered my two-weeks notice on Monday.
During those two weeks, I was never spoken to once by the CEO and on my last day she let me know I would not be paid fully for final two weeks, because she was going to fire me the day I delivered notice. I should also be thankful that they allowed me to save face by working out my notice.
As I worked happily for my new company, my old coworkers kept me abreast of the meltdown. Within a month, their paychecks had stopped coming reliably. The three month mark saw them all being asked to work without pay “until the next deal closes.”
I watched from afar as the entire engineering team slowly had enough and left the company.
As of the last I heard, a federal investigation was underway… I’m still not back in the games industry.
So you want to be a tester…02/26/2015 - Anonymous
We all have out horror stories, success stories, and woes from the trenches… But this is more of a PSA for the ones who have nothing but horror stories.
In my years of QA, I’ve worked alongside a bunch of people who really didn’t care about how good of a job they did, quality of the product they were working on, or even the coworkers they stood face-to-face with daily. Those kind of people gladly stab anyone in the back for a chance to fail at proving themselves, as they gladly do over and over. These kinds of testers come in each morning to do the minimum amount of work to not get fired, bitch about the free catered food, take days off when the team needs them the most, then wonder why they were laid off.
I’ve worked 5 years straight in QA with 4 studios; never once laid off because I had the foresight to prepare and set up better opportunities. And I love my job. Every damn day of it. The point of it is that there are 2 kinds of testers: The kind who want an easy job playing video games - you will be hired to fill a seat as a project ramps up to launch; The kind who pursue a career creating a type of artistic media that they are passionate about. Which kind are you?
Long story short: If you actually give more than half a sh*t about the quality of your work, others will notice, and that’s all you need to do to move forward in this industry: have your genuine efforts become noticed.
meryt wrote: »
I would say it's downright dickish.
forty wrote: »
marsilies is doing a fine job as the Trenches downtime curator, no sarcasm intended.
Downtown Orwellsville03/05/2015 - Anonymous
I worked in a small game studio for about 5 years on the Art team. The first year there was hell because of a shitty AD. Then the rest of the artists (all 3 of us) convinced the CEO that he was useless and we got rid of him.
The next few years were great, working on small games, each one progressively getting to be more and more game like. I was promoted to lead and to creative director eventually. Everything was going well it seemed.
Then a switch went off in the heads of management. They seemed overly preoccupied with ass in seat mentality and didn’t care about quality, or quantity of work getting done, so long as you were in your seat for X hours a day.
They increased the mandatory be at work time, they installed cameras in the office pointed at the staff so that the CEO and Office manager (or whatever his title was at the time) could have a screen set up in their offices so that they could “watch” us work… You know for the 3-4 hours a day they were actually there. They started monitoring our IM’s searching for keywords, and rumor has it that they fired some employees for talking shit about their jobs over IM.
When all of this went down, being a person in between management and the art staff, a lot of the artists came to me to voice their concerns and to ask me to be a reference for their resumes.
Stupid me, I decided to tell management about the low moral, and asked what they were going to do when half their staff left because of these changes in policy. Management decided to confront some of the staff about it, and they all said “no no, I am happy here”.. of course that is what you would say, even if you were actively looking to move on, you wouldn’t want to tell them that. So they confronted me about it calling me a liar and strike 1. Strike 2 was when I mentioned that a certain staff member was leaving, apparently they don’t like to tell people that staff has left or is leaving. Not sure how strike 3 came about, but I had been working 12 hour days for months and doing the bulk of the art work on 1 project, redoing the GUI on another project, and reviewing and fixing artwork on 2 other projects when I was “laid off.”
They said I didn’t have the necessary skills for the company going forward even though leading up to my dismissal, I had to train multiple artists on how to do my job. Nice! A few weeks later they laid off another bunch of highly qualified staff, looks like they were cutting people based on salary in the end.
I am in a much better situation now, working 8 hour days, and have time for my family.