For the past two years I have been enjoying freelancing but recently I decided to make a change and I took a full time job at DICE. An amazing opportunity! I am really excited to be working with great projects alongside the best talent in the industry. After six months at the studio I wanted to share with you my impressions about going back to a full time job in the videogames industry.
All images are property of Electronic Arts.
Fig. 1 Battlefield 1: They Shall Not Pass. I had the opportunity to work on They Shall Not Pass. For the Front End I created parallax images captured from the 4 levels of the expansion pack.
Being part of a Project
One of the benefits of working at a studio is that you get to be part of an exciting project from the very beginning until the very end. You have the opportunity to discover the game from the inside and to understand how your work contributes to it. You truly feel that you are part of the project, that you are part of something large. There is a great satisfaction to that.
When it comes to games my field of expertise is User Interface (UI). UI is the communication bridge between the software and the player. As you can imagine it covers pretty much all areas of the game. This means that your job, as UI Artist or as a UI Designer, is deeply connected to all the other departments in the studio. Being at the studio day in and day out, gets you the opportunity to work with many different fields. That is truly an enriching experience.
Doing contractor work as a freelancer, on the other hand, limits your immersion with the project because you are hired for a limited time and to do a very specific task. You still get the satisfaction to have a project on your CV but you miss the chance to feel the game in your blood and that is something worth trying.
Working in a team
Dedicating long periods of time into a single project also means spending more time with the people making it. Another great benefit of working for a studio is that you build relationships that can sometimes last for decades. You not only make friends but you also grow as a professional. You learn immensely from your immediate colleagues and also from all the other people working on all the other departments. A video games company has an incredible diversity in professions. You will be amazed on how much you can learn.
When I was freelancing I missed this part of my life and in order to address this issue I rented a shared office space. In this scenario I was able to interact with other professionals in different fields and I even made some good friends that I still keep in touch today.
What a studio can offer you is the chance to establish deeper professional connections with people working in different fields.
Time and Money
Working a full time job means that you will be dedicating the most productive hours of your day to a company. For that reason I believe that Projects and People are two of the three most important factors when taking a job; the third one being Money. The time you spend at work are worth when you spend them with good people and doing good things. I believe that’s what makes a good job. I have been working in the entertainment industry for many years and I know how hard it is to find a good job. And after all these years I believe that good projects and good people will make the most valuable contribution to your professional career.
I do not want to underestimate the importance of Money. Being able to afford a living is basic. I know how it is to have a job where you can barely make it every month. That is definitely not a good job. But there is certain limit of how much money you can make and I believe that this limit can be measured by quality of life. Personally, I believe that the important thing is to be able to afford a good quality of life.
Both working freelance and a full time job can offer the same quality of life: the same paycheck.
I had the opportunity of experiencing both the studio life and the freelance life. Both have a lot to offer and it really comes down to personal preference. I personally think that it’s important to care for what you are doing because if you don’t care then something is missing and that could mean that you need a change.