Layoffs, Writing References and Independent Development

Layoffs drive the reality of recession home
This week has been fairly shocking week for me personally. Usually layoffs are a cold hard number I look at on a website and feel a little sorry for. This was my first time sitting through a day of layoffs where people I work with every day for the last few years are no longer at work the next day. These aren’t people that weren’t doing their jobs. Nothing has driven home the severity of the current recession more than seeing talented people let go and finding out there is a flood of HUNDREDS of talented workers in Vancouver when six months ago any of those people could have walked across the street and gotten a great job.

Writing References

Since I am focused on “doing” rather than talking about stuff this year, I decided to put my project aside this week and devote that time to writing references for my friends and coworkers in order to do my small part. Much like blog writing, I found that these are something you need practice at to make them sound good. What I like to see in references are specific examples. Many recommendations boil down to “this person was great to work with”. I prefer to try and put specific skill examples that are both relevant to that persons profession and also to my point of view reviewing them. Those simple rules help me picture what the person has done and give my own, hopefully more credible view, into the work that they have done and also highlight work or performance that might be out of the ordinary.

Independent Development

A part of me cannot help but wonder with that many talented people in the market, is it inevitable that we will have a flood of independent games in six months to two years? Had I been on the list at my company, I don’t think I would immediately look for a job. I think I would try and start something even if money is low. I have read an article or two that look into if casual games are “wrecking the games industry” and I actually wonder if the reverse is true from a development perspective. I think next generation development has it all wrong. It is like the freaking cold war where companies are doing an arms race with the number of staff that they have and forgetting about efficiencies. I do agree that the industry got itself into this position and I am interested it will either go back to independent contracted studios or if it will generate more of a contract business. If someone wanted to start an engineering or an art contract/outsourcing business in Vancouver, the timing is ripe.

Conclusion

So in the end, I think we are either going to see independent start ups or some contract houses that shrink the gap between foreign outsourcing and local contracts. I hope to see many of my friends among this growth.

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