Qualities You Need To Work On A Game Development Team

I must have interviewed hundreds of people as candidates to work on game development teams: producers, designers, programmers, artists, and all the other disciplines that go into developing and supporting a videogame. So what are the qualities you would need to have to be someone I’d actually want to hire? Here are some of the things I look for.

  • Skills needed to do the work required for the position. This may seem obvious, but sometimes I receive job applications for an advertise position that do not possess any of the listed skills needed to do the job. Even if it’s an entry level position, I need candidates to have the skills necessary to start work, unless the job posting says that we’re willing to train new hires in those skills.

    So how do applicants demonstrate they have those skills? The ideal way is for them to have a portfolio of work or school examples that illustrate their capabilities. For a programmer, I’d like to see code samples; for a designer, game design documents; for an artist, art samples, and so on. If a candidate doesn’t have sufficient portfolio samples but otherwise looks like a good candidate, I may have him or her create a work sample, take a proficiency test, or talk about relevant experience in school or past jobs.

  • Actual experience doing the work they are interviewing for. Creating samples on your own is one thing, but doing it as an assigned task under a deadline and under specified constraints is ultimately what I’m looking for. However, failing having that actual work or school experience, a candidate needs to show that they’ve done any type of assigned work under a deadline.
  • Experience working in a team environment. Game development is a team sport, so I want to hear from candidates about any experience they’ve had working with other people to reach a common goal.
  • Attention to detail and the desire to do quality work. It is essential to have quality work from each team member for the game as a whole to be a quality work. However, if I receive a resume from a candidate that is poorly formatted and is full of spelling and grammatical errors, it doesn’t tell me that this person cares enough to always present quality work.
  • Good communication skills. Game development is all about communication: publisher to developer, team to boss, boss to team, team member to team member, game to customer. If you don’t have good communication skills, both written and oral, you are going to have a hard time working with others.
  • Enthusiasm for games and game development. Game developing is hard, hard work, and you’re going to need that enthusiasm to push you past all the obstacles you’ll face. If you’re just looking for a paycheck, there are easier industries to work in.
  • Specific interest in the types of projects I am considering hiring them to do. A candidate may be required to work on a single project for many months — even years — and often the days are long. It helps to have a personal interest in the project they are working on.
  • A personality that fits in with my management style, the personalities of the rest of the team, and the company culture. This is perhaps the most requirement of all. No matter what skills and experience you have, if you have personality clashes with your manager or team, the entire project will suffer.
  • The ability to get to and from work. This is another one that seems obvious, but once I interviewed a candidates who showed up two hours late because he didn’t have a car and spent a total of three hours riding buses to come to our office.
  • As far as normal education goes, I do expect candidates to have some kind of college degree, if only to show they can make commitments to achieving long-term goals and have experience in doing assigned tasks.



    About David Mullich

    I am a video game producer who has worked at Activision, Disney, Cyberdreams, EduWare, The 3DO Company and the Spin Master toy company. I am currently a game design and production consultant, a game design instructor at ArtCenter College of Design, and co-creator of the Boy Scouts of America Game Design Merit Badge. At the 2014 Gamification World Congress in Barcelona, I was rated the 14th ranking "Gamification Guru" in social media.

    Posted on May 18, 2015, in Career Advice. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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