For the Creator CBC Ottawa project, 27-year-old game developer and 2D artist Max Wayne created an animated video to address some of his concerns about getting into a toxic online video game industry, interviewing longtime game developer Jonah Davidson Image moving.
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Video game artist Max Wayne shakes his head in disbelief as he walks through the sea of negative comments targeting game developers on social media following the release of the latest update.
Since the 27-year-old first turned on the Nintendo GameCube, he knew he wanted to be a video game developer, or game developer, and build games from the ground up.
But reactions like this from the so-called player base make him wonder if he will ever have skin thick enough to weather the storm of toxicity that exists in the industry.
“This hate could be directed at me one day,” said Wayne, who largely works on indie game development.
“You’re the reason this game exists, but you can’t control every update. It seems players shoot the messenger when you’re just doing your job.”
Wayne said he fell in love with video games for the first time during a difficult time in his life.
In the winter of 2002, Wendy MacLeod’s mother was in a car wreck that left her badly injured. She lost the ability to move in her legs, and slowly recovered over the course of Wayne’s childhood.
“During that time I felt lonely and found comfort in gaming,” said Wayne, who escaped at the seventh from a cheerful Nintendo game. Animal crossing. In the bright game, money falls from trees, animals talk and players receive messages of encouragement from their parents.
“When my mother couldn’t be there for me, I was animal crossing He told me, “My mom was sending me love.” “I wanted to make my own games to help others as much as they helped me.”
Wayne, who is partially deaf, said choosing a career in gaming was also a practical ambition.
“I can sit in front of a computer with a pair of headphones on and turn the volume up as much as I need, without disturbing anyone,” he said with a laugh.
Dream job or nightmare
He attended Algonquin College’s Illustration and Concept program and graduated in 2020, and has since found work as a 2D developer, drawing landscapes, characters, and computer video game assets.
But, since graduating, Wayne has heard of friends in the field grappling with their mental health after experiencing online abuse ranging from rude name use, threats of physical violence to death threats.
“We’ve seen a lot of game developers quitting all this toxicity and negative interactions from players or others,” said US programmer Andrew Harland.
It’s an experience echoed by Jonah Davidson, who runs a group to help game developers overcome abuse, called The Dirty Rectangles Joint.
“My friends and colleagues dealt with everything from harassment to serious harassment,” Davidson said.
“Many players are critical of negative feedback, because they have invested in the game and may not fully understand what the developers are trying to achieve with new updates.”
Davidson, who works as a quality assurance technician at Finji Games Studios, said game developers from Algonquin animation software formed the group because they saw the need to support each other.
“The best thing we can do to combat toxicity is to provide outlets for people to come together and find some stability in an unstable industry,” Davidson said.
Davidson points out how important it is for game developers to hear players’ feedback about their games.
He said, “I’ve always tried to encourage my game development friends to give positive and negative feedback, and be as constructive as possible. You can’t learn from silence. You can’t learn from hate and harassment.”
His advice to Wayne and Harland: Keep showing up.
“Find a community,” Davidson said. “The best way to build a community is to do a good job and survive.”
Imagine a different world
Wayne says Davidson’s advice helps him think about a collective approach to dealing with toxicity in the industry and with players, and feel hopeful about his future.
“I don’t want to stop being a game developer,” Wayne says. “I have these dreams of people playing my game.”