Dealing with canned games

polycounter lvl 12
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hawken polycounter lvl 12
OK so the project I was working on has been canned, 6 months work frozen up, was a big license and all.

Just wondering what you guys do when your games get canned at the last minute?

Drinking?

(BTW thats why I've been absent these past few months)

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  • JohnnyRaptor
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    JohnnyRaptor polycounter lvl 9
    Ah man...this happened to me recently.

    Was gonna be a massive "AAA" title, big publisher..you name it. BAM, out of the blue..plug was pulled.

    Besides not getting to ship a hopefully awesome title, the worst part is the layoffs, and the survivalism guilt if your not one of the ones getting culled.

    It usually leads to a lot of lunchtime beers, meeting up with the folkes that got let go, and after a while, emotional discussions about what went wrong, how cool it wouldv been do have done it this or that way instead.

    Its happened to me a few times now, and no amount of booze has really helped in the long run...its like a scar from war...you carry it with you till the end dude...
  • JamesWild
    Catalogue your assets and code with a search system (tags?) so you may reuse them in the future.
  • Snefer
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    Snefer polycounter lvl 10
    I think I have worked on more canned projects than released ones.
  • cptSwing
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    cptSwing polycounter lvl 6
    ^ so what does that tell you? ;)
  • SHEPEIRO
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    SHEPEIRO polycounter lvl 10
    its sucks... i have found in my very limited experience that a few months down the line you look back and can see why, but thats not the case all the time.

    you can look at it as paid learning without the pressure of release.

    still sucks though
  • MM
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    MM polycounter lvl 11
    hawken wrote: »
    Just wondering what you guys do when your games get canned at the last minute?

    you remind yourself that most job creators are after profit only and if profit is estimated to be low, you will be out of a job. treat professional work and personal work separately.
  • JacqueChoi
  • skylebones
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    skylebones polycounter lvl 7
    I worked on a project that got canned, but it was after Blur made an awesome cinematic that was released. I wasn't allowed to use any game assets in my portolio or even mention the project at all, which really sucked. The only proof I have that it even exist is the blur work.
  • ericdigital
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    ericdigital polycounter lvl 9
    Most of my career so far has been canned games. first gig was a AAA title disney was working on that was canceled, followed by a canned mmo. I've been working in ios/casual games lately though and I enjoy the shorter dev cycles. There is less pressure when one gets scrapped. Always sucks though. :(
  • slipsius
    What exactly are you wondering about, Hawken? Were you let go, and dont have access to all your work? What should you do for that? Are you just feeling depressed? Are you wondering what to do to keep busy at work, or on your abundance of free time?

    I havent had to deal with this (yet), but I would guess you just rebuild your portfolio and start applying elsewhere. Or continue working on whatever they give you, if you werent let go.
  • Mask_Salesman
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    Mask_Salesman polycounter lvl 7
    Poop in a bag + Door step

    It's a tricky one, some people hold grudges against that publisher or whoever is in charge up the chain at said publisher. I'm kinda half n half, I was pissed at em for awhile but now I'm not so bothered by it, we've got better things goin on now, their loss ;)

    But at the end of the day I remember we get to make Art for a living and that is fucking cool :)

    SO meet friends, get drunk. find something new n fun for personal art to focus on.
  • ZacD
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    ZacD greentooth
    What percentage of games get canned after at least a year of (real) production? How many aren't even announced before they get canned?
  • Thegodzero
    ZacD, LOTS! More games die than live by a long shot.
  • bounchfx
    my last 5 projects have been canned. :( feels bad man. Just gotta learn to deal with it :\
  • Ninja Dodo
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    Ninja Dodo polycounter lvl 5
    It happens all the time. I worked on 6 games that were cancelled before I shipped anything. Some just never got signed, others got well into production before the plug was pulled for one reason or another.

    Definitely have a drink with colleagues/friends and make sure you have your portfolio in order. See if you can get permission to show some of the work you did on the cancelled project. If they say yes, even if you obviously can't put it on your website, at least you'll have something new to show in an interview.

    Also maybe work on some projects of your own in your spare time. No one but you can pull the plug on those.
  • Zepic
    Most vets I've talked to say they've worked on at least 4-5 canned titles throughout their career. I guess it just comes with the territory. Consider it a learning experience and move on...

    I was thinking it would be kinda cool to hear about everybody's cancelled projects; what they were about, and why the got cancelled etc... (then again, that might cause some legal issues).
  • Ninja Dodo
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    Ninja Dodo polycounter lvl 5
    An example: http://www.1up.com/features/story-steven-spielberg-lmno

    Reasons vary. Sometimes the design is not coming together fast enough, or at all... or <insert currency> is too expensive (a factor in international work-for-hire), shareholders are freaking out about the economy, the publisher is "realigning its portfolio", etc.

    As a developer in the trenches there's not a lot you can do to control your destiny other than to choose carefully where you work, but even on very promising/solid projects there are no guarantees. Obviously you work hard and try to make the best game you can but this usually has very little bearing on whether a project lives or dies.

    I'd say the odds of any given project shipping are 1 out of 3 at best.
  • Overlord
    "Don't get so attached to things. Learn to let go." - Justin Hammer
  • Glode
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    Glode polycounter lvl 9
    Happened to me not too long ago, publisher pulled the project and I was the only artist on that project so everything in the game was pretty much all mine (bar a few of my art leads assets). But ouch, it hurt :'(
  • ae.
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    ae. ngon master
    Overlord wrote: »
    "Don't get so attached to things. Learn to let go." - Justin Hammer

    that's terrible i tend to invest a lot of myself in the work i create, if you don't really love what your doing or working on then whats the point?

    i don't do this job just for a paycheck with the amount of your life you put into projects that take 2 to 3 years i would hope you at-least get attached to it in some way.

    If i had to come to work and make art for a game i have no interest in i would probably just quit my job.
  • Overlord
    ae. wrote: »
    that's terrible i tend to invest a lot of myself in the work i create, if you don't really love what your doing or working on then whats the point?

    i don't do this job just for a paycheck with the amount of your life you put into projects that take 2 to 3 years i would hope you at-least get attached to it in some way.

    If i had to come to work and make art for a game i have no interest in i would probably just quit my job.

    It was really meant as a joke. However, if you invest yourself into results, then you're going to be met with perpetual frustration and disappointment. Why not revel in the act, the process, of creating instead of what you are trying to create? Value the experience of creating because that's where you spend most of your time. The enjoyment of the result is fleeting and then it's time to move on the next project. If you fixate on the destination and not the journey, you'll begin to despise the journey because you're not getting where you want to be.

    Projects come and go, but the important thing is that they keep coming. What would truly be sad is if there was no more art to create. All that would be left are memories.
  • JohnnyRaptor
  • MM
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    MM polycounter lvl 11
    ae. wrote: »
    that's terrible i tend to invest a lot of myself in the work i create, if you don't really love what your doing or working on then whats the point?

    i don't do this job just for a paycheck with the amount of your life you put into projects that take 2 to 3 years i would hope you at-least get attached to it in some way.

    If i had to come to work and make art for a game i have no interest in i would probably just quit my job.

    you should be interested in what you do. just dont get too attached to the project as a whole instead be passionate about the asset you are assigned.

    to us, the artists we care more about the art itself. to a studio head/manager/CEO it is a business meant to make profit. if they are not satisfied with the profit then studio may be closed, project canned, etc.

    also, you should have your own personal projects to be more emotionally invested in. you never know when your studio will shut its door for what ever reason and all the work will be canned and banned from public viewing etc. etc.

    be passionate about the work you do more that the over all project. you have to learn to intentionally compartmentalize them and separate the two. it can be hard but takes practice.
  • Racer445
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    Racer445 polycounter lvl 9
    idk, it's a job, move on to the next one?
  • ae.
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    ae. ngon master
    MM wrote: »
    you should be interested in what you do. just dont get too attached to the project as a whole instead be passionate about the asset you are assigned.

    to us, the artists we care more about the art itself. to a studio head/manager/CEO it is a business meant to make profit. if they are not satisfied with the profit then studio may be closed, project canned, etc.

    also, you should have your own personal projects to be more emotionally invested in. you never know when your studio will shut its door for what ever reason and all the work will be canned and banned from public viewing etc. etc.

    be passionate about the work you do more that the over all project. you have to learn to intentionally compartmentalize them and separate the two. it can be hard but takes practice.

    Totally agree with your points, but i do want to be invested in the project as well.

    I would never want to work on projects i do not care about ( My little pony the game) would not be a project i would want to invest two years of my life to.

    working on games like Uncharted, Mass Effect, Gears of War games that i know are good both in art and game play and want to play as a user those are the type of projects i want to work on in my career.

    I know this isn't an industry where you can be very choosey about what you work on but thats my feeling when i head to work and do my job.
  • McGreed
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    McGreed Polycount Sponsor
    Yeah, I don't like that way of thinking. Sure its a job, but do you think a carpenter would like to get told to make a great ornamented cabinet, just to have the boss then come over with an axe and hack it into pieces? Sure you learn from the experience, but its still somewhat wasted effort, which can be quite depressing.

    We make stuff to show to others, not just to keep it to ourselves, its not masturbation. ;)
  • Computron
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    Computron sublime tool
    LOL^ McGREED says it's not about the money. :-P

    Racer445 wrote: »
    idk, it's a job, move on to the next one?

    Wait, is that why we haven't seen any portfolio assets from you in ages?






    So are these assets that are made for canned projects completely hidden forever, or do people still show them to their interviewers in private? I have heard that sometimes artists will have a password protected portion to their site for this kind of stuff.
  • McGreed
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    McGreed Polycount Sponsor
    It varies, some companies lock all assets down hard, maybe because they might want to use it for other projects later (or never as it sometimes turns out), and don't want a failed projects name attached to it. Some allows you to show it privately at interviews in person (aka not on your website so they can download the images), while others approve showing the work you done in public, while even saying for which game it was for.

    Usually I believe, you are allowed to show the work, but not where its from, just "an unannounced game".
  • PixelMasher
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    PixelMasher greentooth
    *jaded industry voice* fuck it, just gimme my paycheque.

    haha maybe not to that extent, I am picky about the projects i choose to work on but at the end of the day if something gets cut its usually to focus on making either the game better, or if the whole project gets canned its because they think the return on investment wont be worth it. their money not mine.

    ofcourse sometimes it dissapointing, although ive been on a couple games where I am glad they got canned haha. after being in the industry for a while most people find their big boy pants and just accept it and move on. If it was my own personal indie project that I was furiously working on for 80 hours a week and I ran out of money or some reason it got cancelled, I would probably be a lot more broken up about it.
  • Racer445
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    Racer445 polycounter lvl 9
    Computron wrote: »
    Wait, is that why we haven't seen any portfolio assets from you in ages?

    So are these assets that are made for canned projects completely hidden forever, or do people still show them to their interviewers in private? I have heard that sometimes artists will have a password protected portion to their site for this kind of stuff.

    when you work full time it's hard to bother making anything that won't make you money.

    getting attached to an entirely money-driven commercial project is silly, paycheck is the only thing that matters at the end of the day. i think the real travesty with canceled games is the inability to build a portfolio from it so you can continue getting paychecks from someone else. the developer and publisher will basically deny that the game ever existed and, other than a paycheck, anyone who worked on the project will have nothing to show for their year--or more time spent working on it.

    most people i know will show canned stuff privately. employers will keep a secret and it's totally understandable if you just spent a year on a canceled project.
  • Overlord
    Wouldn't showing off assets from a canceled game cast doubt on a person's ability to honor an NDA? Would a company want to hire someone that might show off secret work to other studios?
  • Justin Meisse
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    Justin Meisse polycounter lvl 13
    the pay isn't really that high on my priority lists, I left a full time position and took a 15% pay cut to be where I'm at now. Job fulfillment and enjoying the project are the primary factors for me.
  • KarlWrang
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    KarlWrang polycounter lvl 5
    Isn't illegal dealing with canned games?


    Troll.png
  • Justin Meisse
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    Justin Meisse polycounter lvl 13
    they stay fresh longer
  • MM
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    MM polycounter lvl 11
    the pay isn't really that high on my priority lists, I left a full time position and took a 15% pay cut to be where I'm at now. Job fulfillment and enjoying the project are the primary factors for me.

    ideologically that sounds good and i have done that couple times with some freelance projects just because i loved the games. but in general i try not to do that.

    but, here is the problem. taking a pay cut often can imply that you dont think you are worth enough in the eyes of the employer.

    if you respect your own work and you like what you do and you also think you are providing a quality service then you should not settle for low pay just to work on something fun.

    it only lowers artists worth in the job market when people do this and soon or later it start to be a race to the bottom while CEOs race to the top.
  • Hazardous
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    Hazardous polycounter lvl 9
    Snefer wrote: »
    I think I have worked on more canned projects than released ones.

    Me too :)

    It's tough - I got to the end of a 3 year project and it was canned. Heart wrenching as a Lead, Not much to do about it but move on :)
  • Ninja Dodo
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    Ninja Dodo polycounter lvl 5
    Overlord wrote: »
    Wouldn't showing off assets from a canceled game cast doubt on a person's ability to honor an NDA? Would a company want to hire someone that might show off secret work to other studios?
    It's tricky because even if you do the right thing and get permission, the people you are interviewing with might not bother to check and make that assumption anyway, adding insult to injury.

    Thing is if you work on a number of cancelled projects in a row you may have nothing to show for years of work, unless you are doing kick ass personal projects on the side that are as good as your professional work. If you find yourself with an outdated portfolio and several cancelled projects, getting permission to show the canned stuff may be your only option.
  • Justin Meisse
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    Justin Meisse polycounter lvl 13
    MM wrote: »
    but, here is the problem. taking a pay cut often can imply that you dont think you are worth enough in the eyes of the employer.

    don't worry, once I got hired full time my pay went up, I'm making more in Austin than I was in Boston or DC.
  • marks
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    marks polycounter lvl 9
    Racer445 wrote: »
    when you work full time it's hard to bother making anything that won't make you money.

    Maybe for you buddy, I value doing stuff I like a lot higher than being given money - I think a lot of other people on these boards are in the same boat.
  • Harry
  • Amsterdam Hilton Hotel
    marks wrote: »
    Maybe for you buddy, I value doing stuff I like a lot higher than being given money - I think a lot of other people on these boards are in the same boat.
    of course, although when you're being paid to do it for 8+ hours a day, doing it for free carries an opportunity cost that it didn't before
  • McGreed
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    McGreed Polycount Sponsor
    Yeah, for sure. I'm currently not working doing 3D, but I have always tried going for jobs I like as priority, then the pay. I could easily quit my job here, and get a job in wood furniture factory and earn twice the pay, but I don't.

    Priorities...Damn things keeps me from getting rich. ;)
  • Harry
    McGreed wrote: »
    Yeah, for sure. I'm currently not working doing 3D, but I have always tried going for jobs I like as priority, then the pay. I could easily quit my job here, and get a job in wood furniture factory and earn twice the pay, but I don't.

    Priorities...Damn things keeps me from getting rich. ;)

    wait, 2x pay for the same hours? surely you could get that job, work half as much, and do whatever you like with the leftover time? Nobody's talking hours here. If you can make more, you can work less and do way more creative shit than a job with a lower payrate which you have to spend more time doing to survive.

    more money = more free time = more creative freedom

    unless people mean "more money" as in more hours at the same payrate on a shittier project. So long as you make enough to survive that's a no brainer. But if you can get a higher pay rate per hour it seems crazy to me not to do that, unless you need someone to direct your creativity at all times
  • McGreed
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    McGreed Polycount Sponsor
    Harry, yeah sure, I could do that, if it wasn't because the work would make my brain go dead and not have any energy when you get home. The work was mind numbing, and it was just hard to restart when you get home from work, which felt like it was 3x as long. It's just not worth it.
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