My apologies, but I am cutting and pasting a Q&A from an interview with game developer Cliff Harris of Positech Games on the excellent blog GameProducer.net, which summarizes neatly some of the key experiences of people working in the game industry:
GameProducer.net: After working years and years both in a big company and as a self-employed, how would you describe your experiences? What have been the pros and cons in both ways of doing games?
Cliff Harris: Pros of big company: You learn what artists, producers, marketers and animators all do on a big game project. You learn how to work on huge projects and to understand other peoples code. You get a regular salary and get to play great LAN games every lunchtime. You learn some great code techniques. Donuts.
Cons of big company: Pay isn’t as high as it should be. Pressured to work long hours. Working with very poor quality code in some cases. Internal office politics. Being told not to interact with the customers. lawyers. Donuts.
Pros of Indie: Set your own hours, work on your own game. work wherever you like, even in the park. Play games when you like, holiday when you like. Close connection with the customers, direct stake in the success of each game. No Donuts
Cons of Indie: No guaranteed money. Can be lonely work. Nobody to turn to for a second opinion. No regular LAN buddies for games. No Donuts