January 08, 2013

Finding Talent

When you're first starting out it's easy to believe there's plenty of people out there that have the skills to help you make your game come to fruition. It's also easy to believe they're eager to jump on any job that presents itself. The truth however is finding good talent is remarkably hard. It's easy to find someone who claims to be an artist, though often the best they can do is little better than stick figures. The programmers you find usually don't have any practical experience or very little of it and are only familiar with whatever languages they put on their resume which you're unlikely to end up using in whatever environment you're working. The project managers, the animators, the modelers, down the line, it might not be hard to find someone but good luck finding someone that knows what they're doing.

Though even so it can be hard to find anyone if you don't know where to look. There's a wide range of places out there depending on what you're actually looking for but a great place to start is always gamasutra.com. They have plenty of resources and information available and most people that are serious about getting into the industry have a resume posted there. If you're looking for high end artists of all kinds be they concept artists, modelers, or anything in between the cgsociety has a wealth of premium talent. Though most of you wouldn't know what to do with such talent even if you could afford it, so I come around to the mid range which is deviantart. While it's true there are many high end artists there as well the majority don't specialize 3d or art for games and they're dwarfed in comparison to the shear number of medium skilled artists. More importantly medium skilled artists I find tend to work harder and are more open minded. High end, from what I have only some experience with so it's probably inappropriate of me to make such claims, tends to point out why something just doesn't make sense and will fill you with self doubt. Due to their experience they also work much faster than you expect which can catch you off guard but they only do what they're getting paid for, unlike some mid range talent I know which will make more iterations of what I ask for and thankfully save separate copies during their progress so I can see where they came from and where they were going with ideas. I find myself looking at a previous version sometimes and it can help me refine my idea into something better, lovely habit that seems strangely absent with the admittedly better talent I've worked with.

When it comes to finding scripters and programmers I find it easy and best to look on sites dedicated to the specific language or program I'm working with. For example the Unreal Engine and their UDK have wonderful forums which I can easily post in that I'm looking for a programmer that knows unrealscript already and whether or not I can pay them for their time and find what I'm looking for with relative ease. The same is true for cryengine, or unity for example.

One of the last vital roles that needs to be filled really is the project manager. Often when you first start you're going to be filling a lot of roles this one included. Though after some success and maybe a small budget this can really help make your job a lot easier. A project manager keeps track of what needs to be done, who can do it and when, and then organizes it into a smooth organized line that keeps itself busy. They also help by doing some of the work themselves if necessary and keep everybody informed on the status of various projects and when they can expect new orders etc. This can really free you up to focus on every other step in the process of production and I assure you that you'll still be just as busy as before. That's one of the interesting things about this line of work is there's always more to do in everything you do. As for finding a project manager I can't say I've found any great resources yet let alone one dedicated to gaming, and thus I would recommend you back to gamasutra.

Before you jump into asking "well how do I find X" let me just say the above should already get you a great start and you should check them first before asking. Often your concept artist will also handle making textures, your modelers handle environments as well as characters and often they also handle animations. Your scripters will likely handle all of your programming needs and you're going to have your hands full getting as many of them as you can. If you still can't find what you're looking for and can't re-purpose someone else for it then comment here and I'll make a new post detailing how to look for what you need.

Also feel free to ask about anything else you might be curious about, or something you need. Rest assured that talent, funding, and publishing are not the only resources you need and I do have more planned but it's always nice to hear what you find important.

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