· 8 min read

6 Tips for Hiring the Best Game Developer Talent

Starting a brand new indie game development studio is not an easy task. In order to be successful in this world, you need to find people who share your passion for games and have a similar approach to making money from video games.

Starting a brand new indie game development studio is not an easy task. The main reason for this is the fact that finding the right people who will work with you can prove to be quite difficult. Not everyone is cut out to work in such an environment and put themselves on the line each day while not having a guaranteed income.

An indie game studio is a huge mixture of business and passion and this means that you need to find people who are similar with each other to begin with. Compared to big corporate studios, the people in indie gaming have a lot of individuality and they all look to create unique games that will reach people across the world and leave a huge impact on them.

In order to be successful in this world, you need to find people who share your passion for games and have a similar approach to making money from video games. Simply put, finding someone with a good CV is not going to cut it and you need to dig a little deeper to attract the right talent.

Make sure the developer loves games

The first and most important thing in my opinion is to hire only people that truly have love for video games. I think that this is what indie game studios are all about – love for gaming. This kind of business movement has started this way, through love and the sheer enthusiasm for making games, and it still remains vital for success.

Making video games is hard work and nobody will have the patience to work on a game for a long time without getting paid while at the same time being uncertain whether or not the game will make any money. Nobody, unless the people who have love for video games.

If you are to go through all of the difficulties and overcome all obstacles that game development carries while at the same time not motivating people with money, you will need a group of people who have great passion for making video games. This kind of team will tackle all challenges easily and be able to make games that nobody has seen before.

Is the candidate part of the indie community?

Coming up with brand new game ideas can be difficult, but if a person is actively involved and engaged with the indie game scene, he or she will likely have more ideas and inspiration for coming up with new games. The more ideas and concepts a person sees and the more different games they play, the greater the chances that they will come up with ideas that will be creative and inspiring.

Additionally, a person who is in a gaming community can also help a lot. This kind of involvement can be one of the best resources an indie development studio can have. This is an open community where everyone can ask questions, talk to peers, and get valuable answers.

The third important reason why your employees should be engaged in the community is due to the fact that they can make important connections and build business relationships. Additionally, you might be able to find potential employees or partners you can collaborate with. One of the safest ways to find a good indie developer is to talk to people at game exhibits, meetups, and presentations.

Finding a good indie programmer

All of the ideas that you have as a team will be realized by a programmer and this is why this role is very important. First of all, you need someone who has experience in developing and tweaking code. Look for a person who specializes in a language or platform that you need because people with more experience can know how to surpass unique challenges or do things more quickly.

You can even ask a programmer to show you a sample of their own code so that you can see if he or she is willing to comment and give insights to coworkers. There are programmers that simply like to get into it on their own, without consulting anyone. This could work as well, but you first need to set a plan and organize properly so that everyone does their part.

Still, a lot of programmers are aware that they are the “muscle” behind the project and, because of this, they stop being good team players. This could cause a lot of problems as small studios that have little teams need everyone to get along and work together as one.

Finding a good indie artist

First of all, you should ask for a portfolio for you to review. After you’re done with this, you should ask to see a more current sketchbook the artist is using. Artists like to present their best work to people and they hide their weaknesses and flaws. Maybe the portfolio only shows the few good drawings the artist has done, but doesn’t represent their skills truthfully.

You need to see how good they are when just doodling around. Make sure that you don’t undermine an artist because he or she has a lot of unfinished works in their sketchbook. Instead, look to see ideas that you might like and imagine how they would look when finished.

Then talk with the artist and see if he or she understands your ideas. A good artist works a lot and has a lot of unfinished work, which is only normal. This is how they polish they work to come up with the best possible solution for the game.

In the end, one of the essential traits for a good artist is to have good communication. Believe it or not, this is very important, as you need to understand each other and share ideas, be creative, and collaborate on your game art. If you are unable to communicate ideas both ways, then your game won’t get the artistic spark it deserves.

Finding a good indie designer

In most cases, new indie studios start off without a designer, but you will need one in the future, so learning how to recognize a good one is rather important. Designers can give you more variety and flexibility. Good designers are willing to learn new things and pick up skills quickly. It’s also a good idea to find someone who finished a game design school or college.

Look to find someone who has at least some experience with prototyping, and it doesn’t have to revolve around coding. Even though you should not require coding skills from your designer, having one that can write solid code can be of great benefit. A designer needs to have a versatile skillset and offer you expertise in audio, marketing, production, programming, and art.

Having someone with a wide skillset means that the designer will always be productive in many aspects. For most indie studios, design responsibilities are shared throughout the whole team. Apart from being an all-around player, a designer also needs to discuss important topics with the whole team.

Hire a real writer

A lot of studios make the mistake in overlooking the importance of having a skilled writer on board. No, your programmer, artist or designer cannot handle all writing tasks. It is true that everyone can make up and write a story, but not everyone can do it well. You need a person with the necessary experience, skills and passion for telling a story.

A writer is responsible for creating the story of the game; its premise. This includes making a plot, setting, characters and their personalities, and all the narrative elements that you might require. Indie games need to tell a unique story and offer an experience they will become known for. This is especially true if you plan on making story-driven games that have a lot of dialogue, narration, or text.

A good writer will make all of these game elements captivating and thus improve the gaming experience overall. The entire indie community are game lovers who think that the story is very important. Gamers pay a lot of attention to the story and this is why having a passionate and skilled writer is essential.

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Remember that you will have a small team and a limited budget when you start your indie game studio. This means that you won’t be able to replace people easily and that everyone in your team is vital to making those indie games that people love.

Take your time when searching for the right people using the formula above and make sure that they understand what they are getting into. Developing indie games is not an easy job and it’s a hell of a ride. Only the ones that have real passion for video games will be able to see each project through.