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Trying to get hired without that critical first gaming title.

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You’ve seen the requirements on that promising video game developer job post. It starts off great, the ‘know how’ requisites; check, the education; check, the software tools; check, “must have at least one video title…” ohhh crap. Another opportunity bites the dust just because of the critical ‘at least one title requirement’. “How can I get the first title when no employer opens up the opportunity to do so?” It’s the same frustrated comment again and again.

You may ask, well how did all of the other people who are now employed in the video game industry get those jobs out there in the first place, if they were faced with the same conundrum? Well not really. It’s a mix of the ‘first title requirement’ not being there in the past and those people who have the extra zip to build a title either on their own or with other like minded individuals. Not everyone is created equal since the rules have changed on being employable. It doesn’t mean all the graduates are slackers or don’t have the means to be great employees, it’s just the selection process is more refined than it used to be and as a result the opportunity to show ‘your stuff’ gets stiffled. Having that ‘one title’ shows the top down game development process and the effort required to execute a real title. That says a lot about a prospective employee; if given the chance to be exposed to that development cycle, of course.

It is a bit a tee off, when no more than 10 years ago the video games industry was screaming for talent. The schools heeded the call and cranked out the students at not less than $25K later in investment, only to be let down when the flood of applicants allowed the employer to be more selective and pay the ‘big bucks’ to the lucky few. That ‘selective’ point can be argued further but is not part of this post.

That is not to say there are no jobs, just that the jobs require more diverse experience and that elusive title(s) under your belt. This leaves recent promising graduates out in the cold for the most part and any new jobs being circulated to the existing experienced lot. This brings me to the point of this post.

What if the opportunity to get that first title is available in getting you that leg up you seek. After all you just blew $25K plus and 3-4 years of your life. Don’t get me wrong, there are no freebies in life, you still have to work for the first title but at least your have the opportunity to work with others in the same boat and get into the industry you have dedicated time and energy towards.

So this is my pitch to game developers who really want a career in the video games industry. Join our video games developer facilitation forum and make contact with other gamer prospects (software developers, modelers, artists, project managers, animators, games engine people, graphic art, video people, network people and more) from anywhere in the world, create a dialog amongst yourselves and make that first title happen. You create it, you and your team own it.

We will provide the means to connect\communicate and a reporting and progress structure to keep your project on track and hopefully guide a successful outcome.

Ok, this is how it will basically work;

1 Login to the members page. Enter your name and some basic particulars asked in the entry form on our web site. The information gathered will allow proper matching of the team members. There will be no personal information asked or required, just technical overviews and your skillset description.

2 The information posted will be re-posted in an organized manner on a member page that can be reviewed by possible team members. Emails are available for each team member to connect and discuss the project along with any ideas generated.

3 No project should move forward if there is no Project Manager. It will be tough to make things happen smoothly without a dedicated PM. If you are both a coder and a PM for example you are asking a lot of yourself. That’s not to say it shouldn’t happen, but just keep the heavier work load in mind.

4 The project manager will create the teams, sort throught the ideas, generate the abstract for the title (get unanimous agreement for the title), come up with a workable project plan with milestones, create a schedule, assign clear cut duties to the team members, approve any tools used – raise awareness of compatibility and porting issues, create and manage communication portals for file downloads, track the teams progress and generally manage the project to reach a successful conclusion. Most importantly a successful PM will manage the person and the skill they offer to the project. The PM has the final say on all aspects of the project. Any members joining the team must agree to these terms or things will fall apart and as a result the project will most likely fail. What a waste. As an example, if you are a hothead and your mantra is my way or the highway when things get tough or there is rock and a hard place disagreement, then please don’t join. The inevitable will happen. The PM will have the right to axe you from the team. Not a good thing depending on the degree of project progress.

What makes for a good PM, see my next post.

When a project is completed and the game is actually played as a working title, you can post the game and have others play it and comment. Fix any obvious issues from the feedback and finalize the game. That’s it. You can now say I have my first true working title. Really. Now go fill your boots with that promising job posting as you may very well meet or exceed the job requirments.

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