· 6 min read

Developers Assemble – How to Find and Hire a Game Dev Team

You’ve got an idea for an amazing game. Great. But now you need to put together a crack dev team to bring it to life. But how?

Think of your potential team like the Avengers, but with less spandex (although that’s completely up to you). You need a mix of specific skills and people who get on well as you’re likely to be working together very closely, for some time. And you’re also going to be paying them, so you need to make sure they understand your vision and how you want to deliver it. Don’t worry, help is at hand – here’s our advice on how to find the very best game development superheroes.

Before you start recruiting

The first thing you’ll need to think about is the type of game you’re building. Ask yourself the following four questions:

1. What technology does my game need?

This will give you an idea of what you need to look for when it comes to technical expertise in your potential developers. Obviously, every game is different, but you’re likely to need people with expertise in: 

  • game engines like Unreal Engine, Unity, GameMaker and Godot (to name just a few)
  • programming languages e.g. C++, C#, Lua and Python
  • other skills like audio, animation, 3D modeling, and UI/UX.

Don’t forget about your own expertise either – there’s no point in hiring someone for something if you can do it better yourself (unless you don’t want to, of course).

2. When do I want to release my game?

You should put together a detailed plan for your game’s timings, working backwards from your release date. Remember to be realistic with this, and run it past your new devs either while you’re recruiting or once you’ve hired them. You might find the best dev in the world, but if you don’t give them enough time to realize your vision, you could just end up throwing your money down the drain. 

3. What’s my budget?

Alongside all the costs of developing your app (and don’t forget things like market research, testing, maintenance costs, and so on), remember that you’re also going to have to pay the people in your team. Don’t forget the old adage that if you pay peanuts you get monkeys – so the salary budget might not be the thing to skimp on. Different developers have different prices (obviously you’ll pay more for people with lots of experience). And remember that the longer it takes to build your game, the more you’re going to have to pay.

4. What size team do I need? 

Unfortunately, this is a bit of a how-long-is-a-piece-of-string type question. A big part of the answer will come down to the type of game you’re working on (and the all-important budget). Bigger projects like RPGs are going to need more people-power – probably upwards of 10 devs and more UI/UX designers. But for smaller projects like tapping or timing hyper-casuals you might be able to get away with only recruiting a designer and programmer.

Our advice is to start fairly small – you can always bring in extra resources if you find you have more work than your team can handle. Or you could look into hiring freelancers to help with one-off jobs.

Don’t forget to think smart too. There are lots of tools and asset libraries on the market already – you don’t need to create everything from scratch. For example, say you need a backend for your game. Instead of hiring a developer to create a custom solution, you could use a service like LootLocker. So do your research and ask yourself if you definitely need someone, or if there’s already something out there you can use. 

How to find your a-team

There are lots of ways to go about recruiting for devs. You can check out online recruitment platforms that specialize in developers (like YouTeam). Game development communities are also worth a look – try IndieDB or TIGSource. You can also post your jobs on these types of sites. Or you could go old-school and search for people on LinkedIn or using other more general recruiters.

If you’re looking for freelancers, there are various platforms you can use, like Upwork, Toptal, or Worksome. You can also pay people through these sites, which can take some of the admin off your plate.

Once you’ve found a potential dev

Before you hire anyone, you’re going to need to do some checks.

  • Ask to see their portfolio – What games have they built before? Were they successful? It might be worth downloading them yourself to check how they run and if there are any glitches. 
  • Check references or get testimonials – Ask your devs if they can pass on feedback from someone they’ve worked with before. You might also be able to talk directly to their old clients if you know the names of apps they’ve previously worked on. It’s better to be open about this to make sure you don’t start off on the wrong foot though.
  • Ask questions – You need to find someone who can translate your vision into a living, breathing app. So ask questions to make sure they’re on a similar wavelength to you. Speaking of which…
  • Make sure you get on – You don’t need to be best mates with your devs. But you do need to have a good working relationship and be able to communicate well. Remember that you’re going to be working pretty closely with them for the next few months – possibly even years if you’re planning on having them work on maintaining your game after it’s released (e.g. adding new features or fixing bugs). So it’s important that you get on. Try to meet face to face if that’s practical (or video call to video call if it isn’t), and have a couple of interactions before you say yes or no. You might find that the most qualified candidate on paper isn’t actually someone you want to work with.
  • Think about the practicalities of hiring people in different countries – The wonders of video calling and remote working mean you don’t necessarily need to hire people who are based near to where you are. These days you don’t even need to be in the same country to work closely with someone. But do bear timezones in mind. Is it going to be practical to work with someone in a country that starts their working day just as you’re finishing yours? Language could be a hindrance as well – you don’t want your vision to get lost in translation.

Hiring people can be daunting. But as long as you pay attention to their skills, experience, and portfolio, you can’t go too far wrong.