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05 December, 2010

Leaving EA

I've always avoided mentioning the company I've been working with while writing this blog. Not that it was a secret, actually many people in my company knew the blog, it's just that I don't love the idea of linking the blog to a company as I don't want to be bothered by people asking questions on the blog about my work. 

Recently though I've decided to resign and accept a new offer, so now I'm free to write about my last three years of work. 

I'll publish also some photos, I have to admit that for the first few days when I started working there I could not avoid smiling while walking around in the amazing Burnaby's campus.

My cube, while working for Fight Night Champion
I've been very lucky there. When I left Milan for EA Canada, most of my friends in the industry were telling me that in such a big company I was going to end up taking care of a bunch of small tasks, not being able to influence much such huge and bureaucratic teams.
Two of the three building of EA Canada's studio
Bullshit! It turns out that to make great games you need great teams, able to move quickly, experiment new ideas, be agile and open to all the relevant opinions. I actually was able to do more research in my job as a on-team rendering engineer than my previous two years, in a smaller company, where I was a R&D engineer working on their next-gen graphics engine!
Secondary entrance, at night
It is true that not all the games at EA are the same, and that you can be moved around regardless of your preferences. But if you're smart, if you fight for it, and if you're not too unlucky, you'll end up being very happy about your job.
One of the cafeterias
It's not easy, and there is a lot to learn about how such a huge company works, but it can be an unique experience. Surely there are some opportunities that you won't find anywhere else...
Study rooms area
One of the best points for me was the ability of learning, talking, and sharing knowledge with such a huge worldwide audience.
Technology sharing at EA is somewhat a recent process, and it has its problems (you have a lot of nicely packaged, great tech, but there is not much overall design as you put together a game made of lots of different bits that came from all over the world) but it doesn't matter.
One of the many patios
The best asset is not the technology, is the knowledge! Even if EA has some stupid legal restrictions and there is still a lot of work to be done to let every game influence each other better and in a more effective way (I tried to do my part, for what I could, to address that), you won't easily find another company where you can access so much data and papers about virtually anything. Or where you can so easily talk with the best individuals across the world in any game-related field, work with universities, or directly with the hardware manufacturers.
Corridor of the second building

Why I've left? Because even if you can love your job, and love your team, hardly you can have such an empathy for the whole company. EA is a big corporation, it has its own objectives, mostly driven by the market. That is fine, and I don't mind the fact that it can move people around or fire them faster than lightspeed, but it means that the relationship with it has to be strictly a business one. It's not a family, it won't care much about you, so in my opinion it's hard to develop any emotional attachment to it. For a couple of years it failed to match what I believed to be my market value, so I ended up signing a more lucrative contract, it's as simple as that.

Fight Night Champion, WIP screenshot

Fight Night Champion has been my last game at EAC. It's a game that I feel particularly "mine", and I hope it will perform great! It surely has all the potential to be 2/3 metacritic points above Round 4 (that was 87/88) but who knows, reviews are influenced by many factors other than quality (i.e. hype...). We'll see, I surely think the team did a great job.


MaciejS said...

Wow, those are some nice mountain views you had there. Good luck with your new gig!

Anonymous said...

Are you still working in vancouver? As a fellow graphics person - curious to know where you joined after EA?

DEADC0DE said...

I'm still in Van, but I won't write on the blog where I'm working now (for the same reason I didn't disclose I was working for EA before).

Anonymous said...

Have been following ur blog ... recently i came to know that you wrk @ EA when i recd ur mail on outlook .. n boy i was surprised to know you were so close ( on outlook ) yet so far ... wish u all the best for ur future

Anonymous said...

good luck with your next job!

Biagio said...

In bocca lupo!

Anonymous said...

Oh! I didn't mean to ask your current employment firm. I got curious about what possible next step lie for a R&D engineer at EA. In terms of career path - what is considered as a step up from there onwards. (Nevermind if I sound confusing).

namar0x0309 said...

Thanks for the share!! Hope transition is smooth and you find what you're looking for at the new job!

Unknown said...

Good luck to you! Sorry to hear you won't be blogging so much, hope you find some other outlets :)

gpakosz said...

When I read that comment:

I knew :)

Good luck in your new adventures