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  • 8 Tips For New Game Developers And Freelancers

    - Alexey Morozov
  • [Our company has been in the gaming industry since 2002. During that time, we've handled a huge amount of outsource orders of various types and difficulty. We've amassed a lot of experience, and we're ready to share it. Alexey Morozov, the head of infrastructure at HeroCraft, shares some knowledge with newcomer freelancers and outsource specialists.]

    I have been in charge of outsourcing in our company for the last two years. My responsibility is to find contractors, negotiate tasks, and help our projects become better. During this time people have reached out to me for outsource. I'm the person in the company with the most knowledge of exterior contractors.

    Furthermore, I have some freelance experience myself, so I'm always trying to review the situation from both sides, which helps to widen my perspective. I've met some incredibly talented people who had no clue on how to enter the flow, where to begin their path. So I've decided to share my knowledge and amassed experience with those who would like to enter game development, but don't know how to.

    If you are an artist or a musician and would like to test your skills in game development, but don't know where to begin, the following tips are for you.

    1. Build up a nice portfolio.

    A portfolio is the first thing I always ask for from a freelancer contacting me, unless it's already attached to the email. This is the most obvious, and possibly the most important thing. Unfortunately, for some reason, not everybody has one. What should it look like?

    - If you're an artist, add those of your works to the portfolio which best reflect the level you would be willing to work on.

    - If you specialize in motion design or animation, you'll need a demo reel; a short compilation of your best works, but please don't put too much emphasis on the soundtrack. Your goal is to show off the visual part.

    - A properly organized profile would be helpful for musicians, for example on SoundCloud.

    Tips on portfolio creation:

    - Volume of samples in portfolio.

    Make sure you don't pick too many: who would want to look through dozens of pages on DeviantArt? Important note: if there are more than 10 samples, do not pile them all together. At the same time, a lot depends on presentation. You can go ahead and use cloud storage, presenting an archive of folders with sorted samples. I once got a portfolio with the unbelievable resolution and aspect ratio of about 16:1. Needless to say, that is also a bad idea :) Musicians can present tracks in various genres.

    - Make sure the visual presentation does not divert attention from you actual work.

    For example, if you are a 3D modeler, first show your demo reel to a friend and find out what captured their attention. If the spectator's attention is anchored to something other than your specialty, then you should rework your portfolio ASAP. Don't forget to upload model textures into the demo reel - this will also help with proper presentation. Based on my observations, if a modeler posts renders of low poly models on a maximally unobtrusive background, this model will later look a lot better in the game. The moral is simple: don't try to create the perfect render. Based on my experience, renders on a pretty background tend to turn out not so great afterwards. It's also nice to attach a model's mapping and texture to your portfolio.

    - What to do if you can't pick the samples for your portfolio?

    Try giving yourself an assignment. Find some inspiration in a game or even design your own game (even if it's just a concept in your head). Try and create a character or a music track for this project. Fan art can also help with building up your name, especially if it pertains to a "hyped" project.

    It's important to understand that your portfolio isn't just about who you've already worked for; it's mainly about your skills. In my experience, this can cause a kind of stupor for many rising talents that just don't see a way into the industry.


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