Is middleware replacing talented, creative developers? Is everything becoming mass produced?
Our industries echos the early days of the industrial revolution where machines replaced talent and workers were inter-changeable, the cheapest people worked. During the industrial revolution businesses replaced highly skilled but slow workers with machines and cheap labour. The products were technically better and more cost effective but the skill was driven out of the business and interchangeable workers were brought in. New mediocre products appeared at a phenomenal rate as they were churned out and ultimately mass produced. At one point, almost 50% of cars on the planet were one specific model!
In today’s world, you could take this further by documenting the process and ship it and the machinery over to where the labour is cheapest. After all, anyone can do that job can’t they? Non-native customer support call centres ring any bells?
Echo’s of this are happening now. Game Engines like Unreal Engine 3 are the Victorian machines, drone artists who can produce 3D facsimile of concept art, level designers following tried and trusted methods, managers who follow methodologies, anyone being trained in how to do one specific interchangeable job without thought. It’s an easy life but ultimately there’s a lot of people who can get that far up the career ladder very quickly, and for much less pay.
This all comes crashing down when things change. Where are the people who think for themselves? Where are the ones who can come up with new ways of doing something? Who’s looking out for the future?
This is all very sad if we destroy the creativity that we all claim to have by churning products out by the numbers to satisfy some demographic.
Don’t get me wrong, I completely get that some of this is necessary but I would ask : Where do you fit into all of this? Are you, your business or your game an inter-changeable cog?