If you’re just starting out a career in game development, there’s plenty you should know. Luckily, there’s tons of resources out there (including this blog!) so it’s all a matter of making the time to sift through it all. You already know the basics: assembling a portfolio, always advancing your skill set, etc.. Now it’s time for something else: assembling the perfect indie team.
And for some, that proves to be a little too complicated. What steps need to be taken? How do you let people know you’re assembling a team? How can you tell someone will be good for the team, if it’s a remote opportunity?
Here are the ultimate 5 steps you need to create that perfect indie team:
1) Evaluate Your Needs
Before diving into your first indie project with a new team, there is something you should know: chances are, you will underestimate the scope of your games, the amount of people you’ll need, and of course, the budgeting.
A good way to get an idea of everything in a more accurate way is to create a detailed Growth Driven Design (GDD), so you know exactly what your needs will be.
Once you have an idea, run through the list: Do you have an artist? Do you need another? Maybe talk with that person first, and show them the GDD, so they know what they’re facing alone. They’ll be honest with you if it doesn’t seem feasible.
Will you need more funding, someone to run your Kickstarter campaign, someone to handle all social media accounts? Is one writer enough, or do you need 2-3?
2) Write a Job Listing
Now that you’ve created a GDD, and have a general sense of what you’ll need to make your game a reality, it’s time to write a job listing you can post all over the web.
All hiring requirements need to be clear and concise, while answering the common questions, like how much they will be paid, what requirements they need to meet, and when the project would be starting.
The common bone structure for a job listing is as follows:
- Company name
- Name of the project
- Short description of the project
- Team structure and how long you’ve been working together
- Name of position and description
- Contact information
Things to be extra particular about are the header (title of the the job listing, better known as the thing candidates will read first before anything else) and where you post the job. After all, if you’re looking to assemble an indie game development team, Monster job boards won’t really generate many results for you.
Try out Gamedev.net, where you can post your job listing for $7. It seems stupid, paying for this, but the job board is active and sure to generate results of people who actually work in the industry.
Finally, don’t forget to use social media to link to your job listing. Just don’t spam people!
3) Decide Who to Interview
Anyone who doesn’t know how to write coherently and clearly doesn’t know the first thing about game development can, obviously, go. That’s a given. But how else can you dwindle down a candidate pool to just leave the best options for your team?
- Avoid hiring anyone who didn’t read the job description. You’ll be able to tell.
- Avoid hiring anyone without a cover letter. Use the letter to assess their writing ability. Even if they’re not writers, and you don’t need them to be, it’s crucial that they at least take pride in a job application.
- Anyone who’s obviously lacking the job experience needed.
- Someone whose portfolio doesn’t showcase anything you need for the project.
4) Actually Interview People
Now that you’ve filed down that candidate pool, interview the few that made the cut. Ask them about their availability and time zone (huge, since you’ll be balancing many other time zones, plus a day job probably). Ask them about what makes them want to work on games, and what games they enjoy playing. What drew them to your project?
Really get to know each one of these people, as the way you interact is also very important. You’ll be working together for months, maybe even years, so it’s crucial you get along.
Finally, ask about their salary requirements and time estimations for the assets they’ll be working on. To get a better read, show them a little of what you have done for the project so far, so they get a better idea of the project as a whole.
5) Protect Yourself
Unfortunately, putting yourself out there online, even with a job listing, sometimes generates some terrible results. And we’re not talking about the badly written resume, we’re talking people who fabricate their abilities, don’t meet deadlines, or scam people out of money. This is a common problem among indie teams.
To avoid hiring one of these people onto your team, avoid applicants who are willing to work for free (unless you genuinely have no money to give people, of course). These people aren’t terrible, they’re just looking for experience, and that’s not something you need at this point. You need an actual game development team, a paid one, to kick off something bigger.
Someone who’s LinkedIn profile info doesn’t match their resume should be out of the picture fast. That’s a sign of shady behavior, and too much of a risk. Also, feel free to look them up on Ripoff Report!
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