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f13.net  |  f13.net General Forums  |  Game Design/Development  |  Topic: Working (unpaid) for a startout Games-Company 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
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Amarr HM
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on: February 14, 2012, 10:06:30 AM

As part of my Game Development course we need to do a 3-6 month internship in games or a software related position, it's compulsory. I've had few interviews for quite technical positions and though my coding is decent and I'm enthusiastic, there are definitely more technical people than me out there, I've only taken one of three tech interviews so far to a second interview.

But aside from that I got offered a position today working for a kickstart Game company which are doing what looks a very good game, that will likely be released. They seem like cool and talented guys that I'm definitely interested in working with, downside it's unpaid not even travel costs from the looks of it. Anyway I know this is the MO of startout games companies to take on interns unpaid so everyone can get a foothold, but I was wondering what sort of things I could/should be asking for, eg. a percentage of net profits on any projects that I do a lot of work on? Shares? Cookies? I might down the line feel like I deserve more and could end up losing motivation cause seeing my name in big lights isn't enough motivation to see me through the six months.

Interested if anyone here has some suggestions.

I'm going to escape, come back, wipe this place off the face of the Earth, obliterate it and you with it.
schild
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Reply #1 on: February 14, 2012, 01:03:34 PM

There are a thousand dudes, no matter where you live, who will take that piece of shit job. Unless you offer something none of the other people offer, you can't ask for anything else.

Though, my attitude is nothing is free, good work chief among "things that aren't free."
Ghambit
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Reply #2 on: February 14, 2012, 07:47:04 PM

Solution:  come up with your own game/kickstarter and hire interns.   awesome, for real

"See, the beauty of webgames is that I can play them on my phone while I'm plowing your mom."  -Samwise
Viin
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Reply #3 on: February 14, 2012, 08:00:06 PM

For some reason, the game industry is one of those places where you have to start at the 'pay us to let you work on our project' level. Experience is the best/only thing that will get you in further than that. If you already had a job coding for another industry it might bump you up a bit, but prolly not much unless it was very similar to the work you'd be doing on a game.

- Viin
Margalis
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Reply #4 on: February 14, 2012, 11:16:31 PM

Honestly I've never heard of a video game company offering unpaid internships for technical positions, and IMO it's a lot easier for an established company to take on short-term interns than a small group. (Although technical internships in the video game industry seem rare)

Personally I'd also be a little worried if I saw someone who had done an internship did it unpaid for a place I'd never heard of. Part of the point of an internship is that you get experience in a real workplace and potential employers can see that and get that you aren't a total flake.

I would never offer an unpaid internship. That said, if someone told me they were worried they couldn't stay motivated for 6 months that would be a huge red flag that would probably stop me from "hiring" them. A lot of times managing an intern is barely worth the productivity they provide, even without a guy saying up front they may lose interest.

Getting your name on something published is very valuable, so there's that.

I would say either find a "real" internship or suck it up with this one - DO NOT say anything about being unmotivated or in any way imply that you need compensation to stay interested. Compensation to move and commute to work and each and such sure.

vampirehipi23: I would enjoy a book written by a monkey and turned into a movie rather than this.
Amarr HM
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Reply #5 on: February 15, 2012, 02:57:04 AM

I would say either find a "real" internship or suck it up with this one - DO NOT say anything about being unmotivated or in any way imply that you need compensation to stay interested. Compensation to move and commute to work and each and such sure.

Good advice actually, needed to hear that I'll be meeting the boss tonight. I am trying to find a "real" internship but it's not easy and the deadline is looming, remember this is a compulsory part of my course. Worst case scenario I don't have an internship in three weeks time, I've avoided that thankfully.

I'm going to escape, come back, wipe this place off the face of the Earth, obliterate it and you with it.
Jobu
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Lord Buttrot


Reply #6 on: February 21, 2012, 12:02:54 AM


Doesn't/shouldn't your school help and assist you with finding a company to intern with? If it's compulsory, it seems kind of backwards to just throw you to the wolves and hope you can figure it out. That just leaves you vulnerable and ripe for being taken advantage of by someone who needs free labor.
IainC
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Reply #7 on: February 21, 2012, 12:54:01 AM

My company might need a programming intern at short notice. If you don't mind relocating to Germany for a bit, I can ask what the requirements are.

- And in stranger Iains, even Death may die -

SerialForeigner Photography.
Amarr HM
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Reply #8 on: February 21, 2012, 05:19:58 AM

Hey Iain that sounds interesting, if you could send me on a PM with more details would be much appreciated.

I'm going to escape, come back, wipe this place off the face of the Earth, obliterate it and you with it.
Scadente
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Reply #9 on: February 28, 2012, 07:40:53 AM

A lot of times managing an intern is barely worth the productivity they provide, even without a guy saying up front they may lose interest.

This, basically. And especially in a start-up. If you aren't self-motivated... go work for a big corp.

And by self-motivated I mean, start shit on your own, look for broken shit on your own and break shit and then fix it on your own; I only need to show you a door, and you will, hopefully, figure out the rest and report back with your success!

It's probably very different in a bigger company though, so YMMV.

So the kids on the internet say that you're a big noise?
Amarr HM
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Reply #10 on: February 28, 2012, 11:45:12 AM

Hey I only said I might lose motivation, the alternative is I could absolutely love being part of a small team and actually taking part in the building of a game. In retrospect at least the employer was decent enough not to make me any false promises.

On another note, the other interview I got as a software engineer with a large company have offered me a position. So now I'm in a nice position of doing a paid, looks good on a CV number, or working on a game for six months. I'm edging towards the paid job cause bills are mounting up, but I'd hate to miss out on the opportunity of working on a released game. First world problem I admit.

I'm going to escape, come back, wipe this place off the face of the Earth, obliterate it and you with it.
Lantyssa
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Reply #11 on: February 28, 2012, 03:35:16 PM

Go with the paid position.  If you really want to have your name on a released game, make one yourself.

Hahahaha!  I'm really good at this!
Amarr HM
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Reply #12 on: February 29, 2012, 10:33:52 AM

Thanks Lantyssa.

I'm going to escape, come back, wipe this place off the face of the Earth, obliterate it and you with it.
Evildrider
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Reply #13 on: March 13, 2012, 12:54:25 AM

Yeah in these times definitely go with the paying job. 
Amarr HM
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Reply #14 on: March 13, 2012, 04:57:40 AM

Most definitely agreed, wasn't much of a dilemma really. I signed the contract last week, starting in two weeks.

I'm going to escape, come back, wipe this place off the face of the Earth, obliterate it and you with it.
Phred
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Reply #15 on: June 29, 2012, 06:46:19 PM

Might want to think about your choice of career too. It sucks being in an industry where people will do your job for free.

Pantastic
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Reply #16 on: July 03, 2012, 07:58:17 AM

Honestly I've never heard of a video game company offering unpaid internships for technical positions, and IMO it's a lot easier for an established company to take on short-term interns than a small group. (Although technical internships in the video game industry seem rare)

That's probably because it's illegal to do in the US - if you're doing useful work for a company, then they're required to pay you at least minimum wage (that's what minimum wage means). This means if you're writing code that goes into the real product on your own, or even if you're running around getting coffee and bagels for the people who are, you're supposed to get paid, and not paying you violates federal and state laws. The fact that it's illegal doesn't mean it never happens, or that no one gets away with it, but it does mean that companies are very careful about what they'll put in writing. Also, while you can probably file a complaint and get paid for some time that you worked if you're at one of these, you do put your future in that industry at risk (which is a big part of why companies get away with it).
Amarr HM
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Posts: 2893


Reply #17 on: January 06, 2014, 04:48:22 AM

Apologies for the necro but thought I'd give an update on this one.

I ended up working in the paid position and didn't hate it, finished up there and returned to complete my honours degree. I am now back working for the same company. Which is good news as we just had our first kid during the summer, so yeh busy year. Thanks for the input everyone who chimed in.

I'm going to escape, come back, wipe this place off the face of the Earth, obliterate it and you with it.
Daeven
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Reply #18 on: February 07, 2014, 02:26:41 PM

An unpaid internship? My advice would be don't. When interviewed after college the first thought of the interviewer will be WTF were you thinking? Try Amazon or Boeing or someplace that, you know, pays for work. You'd be better off contributing to and Open Source project on Git if you're going to work for free. At least then you're showing interest without the stupid.


/edit: read the whole thread first. *sighs*

"There is a technical term for someone who confuses the opinions of a character in a book with those of the author. That term is idiot." -SMStirling

It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the beans of Java that thoughts acquire speed, the hands acquire shakes, the shakes become a warning. It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion
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