Author Topic: Asking for an advice on finding a gamedev job  (Read 3166 times)

Asking for an advice on finding a gamedev job
« on: 04 Apr 2018, 22:57 »
I was not sure how to best put this, so the post may be bit awkward. But I wanted to ask for an advice.

Back in 2016 I quit my office job because of AGS... partially hoping that would let me improve situation with the project, and partially because of stress. Probably I was not thinking straight, because it was AGS that caused all the stress. Some time later it became fully clear that the project is going nowhere, and I decided to return to the old job, but did not manage to stay on it for long. Don't know why exactly, but I literally was not able to get any kind of satisfaction anymore. I was constantly stressed out, and even being in the office with other people around made me frustrated. So after six months I quit again.
Since then it is about a full year as I am officially unemployed. During this time I participated in a small commercial project for couple of months, and was able to get some money, but quit eventually too, partially because AGS and related stuff still dominated my thoughts. It was the time when 3.4.1 was supposed to be released, and I could not stop thinking about that.
That took too much time to break away from this project that drained me from all the energy, and now I begin to realize something that was bothering me subconsciously these years. The thing is, I no longer could answer why I was even working on it all the time. This is not what I wanted to be doing. I remember dreaming of making games, not recoding someone else's engine for six years.

I fear this could have been a terrible mistake for me. I could have spent those six years learning contemporary engines and game development, instead I spent all that time for something that is barely useful anywhere else.

Right now I must be searching for a real job again and keep wondering would it be possible to find one in game development. The problem is, on one hand, that it does not anymore seem a good idea to just get a "normal" office job while trying to practice game projects in a free time. I'm afraid that would just cause more frustration, and I'll loose several years more without any achievement. On another hand, I have barely anything to "showcase", after spending years on AGS engine I was too stressed to actually work on any game, and just afraid that I won't be able to handle another work simultaneously. So this makes a stupid dilemma.
There are few projects I worked on in the past, which were kind of finished in the past, which could be mentioned just to give an idea, but idk if that means anything.
Spoiler: ShowHide

* Many years ago I worked on an indie multiplayer deathmatch game (back when word "indie" was probably not used yet), based on Doom-like engine port. For that I wrote much of the gameplay logic and bot AI (also designed few maps).
https://www.koraxheritage.com/korax-arena/ (there are some gameplay videos)
* Something I did recently was a 3D volleyball game made on Babylon.js engine. I was not making everything from scratch, but probably most of it (used other similar game for a reference). AI was the main part again. Actually the game was just with AI, without actual player controls. It was meant to simulate ongoing match for a bookmaking website, so had relatively unusual requirements. It is a bit difficult to demonstrate, because on a real website you have to find and open it at correct match time to see the simulation (and the website itself is pretty confusing). I would probably be able to make a video on local host though.
* I made this silly racing game in AGS you probably heard about. One of the few AGS games that are actually complete to certain degree... (there were couple of adventure games, but they are too simple to mention).
* Know a bit of Unity3D and Babylon.js (a 3D javascript web engine), and I know AGS rather well, if that matters, although I do not think I'd like to make games with latter.
This is all I can think of right now.



Today I would not even know what or where to begin with to start searching for any game-related jobs. Are there any sites or communities where one could find a job for someone with limited gamedev-specific experience?
Another issue is money... in the past I was involved in couple of game projects where I was supposed to be paid in the end, but unfortunately these projects never reached the point at which anything could be earned. I'd really rather not become a part of a game with vague perspectives again, at least not now.
So, frankly, how realistic that may be to get a position in a project with guaranteed payment in a sensible time period, like being paid monthly (even if a little bit), or at least once during the course of the year?
« Last Edit: 04 Apr 2018, 23:50 by Crimson Wizard »

Radiant

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Re: Asking for an advice on finding a gamedev job
« Reply #1 on: 05 Apr 2018, 07:31 »
So what you're looking for is an actual job with an actual salary, not freelance work for a percentage of profit-if-there-is-any. You should be clear in your searching about this difference. And yes, those jobs exist. Programming is an uncommon skill, so there is a market for that. Having written AGS for several years is an achievement that you should definitely put on your resume. The main catch with game-related jobs is that you're not going to be the game's director.

(for that matter, start by writing or updating your resume, if you haven't already. Be concise and use keywords of technologies you're familiar with; and have someone proofread)

I suggest going to job websites and looking for related terms. Go for established companies that have at least one published game under their belt. These may or may not exist in your area, so you need to consider how far you're willing to commute and/or move (frankly I have no idea where you live anyway). I know that at least London and Utrecht are hubs for game development, and I believe Stockholm also; and I'm sure there are numerous other hotspots that I'm unaware of. HTH!

Re: Asking for an advice on finding a gamedev job
« Reply #2 on: 05 Apr 2018, 09:32 »
So what you're looking for is an actual job with an actual salary, not freelance work for a percentage of profit-if-there-is-any. You should be clear in your searching about this difference.

Sorry, I guess I was not clear. I must admit being uncertain about this myself. Does freelance really means getting "percentage of profit-if-there-is-any" as in "maybe not any payment at all"?

Snarky

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Re: Asking for an advice on finding a gamedev job
« Reply #3 on: 05 Apr 2018, 10:24 »
Not necessarily. Freelance just means you don't have a permanent/exclusive salaried position with a particular company, but take what assignments you want/can get with anybody. You're free to make any agreement you like with the people who need your services.

Personally I would not work for share-of-potential-profits or payment after the game is released. Decide on a price per hour of work or for delivery of some well-defined piece of code/functionality, and insist on timely payment. And don't undervalue yourself: if you freelance, you'll spend a fair amount of time doing stuff like keeping time sheets, billing, contracts, communicating about requirements, etc. Make sure that what you're paid takes that overhead into account.

I think a question mark a lot of employers are going to have about you is why you've been out of work for so long, and it's important that you give them a better answer than "I got too obsessed with AGS to focus on my job". Last year I spent quite a while looking for work (which takes a lot of work in itself), and I found that it really helped that I was able to say that I wasn't currently unemployed, but rather "freelancing as a consultant" on a couple of AGS projects. Never mind that it was just a few hours a week and paid "indie rates": it made me seem employable.

So talk about what you have done and what you have achieved, which is not insignificant! Showcase those projects you've done, talk about the freelance gigs you've had (you don't have to discuss not getting paid), and describe all the work you've done on AGS, making sure to mention how it's the engine behind numerous commercial titles. Lots of smart game development studios should be interested.

Also, have you considered a paid job on an AGS game (or made in some other engine by members of the community)? There are some projects that do pay, although they might have a hard time funding a full-time developer. It could be a temporary solution to build out your resume and portfolio.

selmiak

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Re: Asking for an advice on finding a gamedev job
« Reply #4 on: 05 Apr 2018, 13:00 »
you could always start a patreon page where people just pay you a monthly sum and get some simple rewards in return. Artists paint exclusive pictures only for patreons, no idea what coders would do as a reward and what patreons would expect, but I'd expect some commercial AGS users to pay something for you. There are more commercial AGS devs than those that post in these forums here, let's hope they find out about this. Either way, you should totally open a patreon for your ags dev work and get a real job anyways and still develop more on AGS.

Radiant

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Re: Asking for an advice on finding a gamedev job
« Reply #5 on: 05 Apr 2018, 16:41 »
Yes. It's fine to be a freelancer, but then be a freelancer with clear fees and not some unspecified amount at an unspecified later date.

Decide on a price per hour of work or for delivery of some well-defined piece of code/functionality, and insist on timely payment.
This bears repeating. There are unfortunately some shady people in indie development (run some google searches for any developer or publisher kicked off Steam to get an idea), and any employer in any branch that tries to postpone or make vague your actual payment should set off some MAJOR red flags.

you could always start a patreon page where people just pay you a monthly sum and get some simple rewards in return.
I'm curious if you know of programmers who've succesfully made this work.

selmiak

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    • I can help with play testing
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    • selmiak worked on a game that won an AGS Award!
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Re: Asking for an advice on finding a gamedev job
« Reply #6 on: 05 Apr 2018, 17:46 »
you could always start a patreon page where people just pay you a monthly sum and get some simple rewards in return.
I'm curious if you know of programmers who've succesfully made this work.
[/quote]
sadly not, otherwise I'd have noted what they offer for their patreons. Maybe someone else reading this knows of someone who made this work.
No idea if a 'Request a feature for AGS'-reward wouldn't backfire on the freeusers and devtime. Though these asked for features are probably really needed, so it should be a good thing. But if some more games like last & furious come out and maybe 2-3 months after the exclusive patreon release get released for everybody I'm fine.
Once I find out how to make money from indie PnCs I'll add something to the pot, no matter the rewards.

Re: Asking for an advice on finding a gamedev job
« Reply #7 on: 05 Apr 2018, 18:11 »
I'm curious if you know of programmers who've succesfully made this work.
I think this is probably a good parallel for working on an engine:
https://www.patreon.com/monkey2/
...but working exclusively on a game would probably get a lower level of interest as people are only interested in using the final product, rather than supporting something they already use.

No idea if a 'Request a feature for AGS'-reward wouldn't backfire on the freeusers and devtime. Though these asked for features are probably really needed, so it should be a good thing. But if some more games like last & furious come out and maybe 2-3 months after the exclusive patreon release get released for everybody I'm fine.
You could potentially decentralise the work (to reduce pressure on individual people) with something like this:
https://opencollective.com/
I imagine that no-one would enjoy working on the current engine, but diverting attention to MonoAGS (as a replacement) and ScummVM port (replacement does not have to be backwards compatible) might generate some interest. I appreciate though, that this isn't really answering the question which is being asked here, but thought I should mention this as an option if the original engine is removed from the equation. Personally I'd donate some money in either direction, if there was potential for it to work.

Re: Asking for an advice on finding a gamedev job
« Reply #8 on: 05 Apr 2018, 23:55 »
I think it wouldn’t hurt to get your name out there and get your CV out to a bunch of different studios, big and small. If no actual job comes out of it this time you’ll at least get a good gauge of what people want, what sorts of gigs are going, what engines and languages you need to brush up on, plus you might earn a few contacts in the process. You can set up a little online CV/portfolio and direct potential employers and clients there. I think if you put it all on a nice webpage with screenshots, you’ll be surprised what you have to show off.

All the best, man.

Re: Asking for an advice on finding a gamedev job
« Reply #9 on: 06 Apr 2018, 01:56 »
Personally I would not work for share-of-potential-profits or payment after the game is released. Decide on a price per hour of work or for delivery of some well-defined piece of code/functionality, and insist on timely payment.
Yes. It's fine to be a freelancer, but then be a freelancer with clear fees and not some unspecified amount at an unspecified later date.

Yes, well, as I said, my wish is to be able to find a job where at least some payment is received in a sensible period. When I said "in the course a year", ofcourse that assumes that the job is given by well known people with a reputation.
I was thinking maybe looking for some short or medium term project, because this is the kind of work where results come sooner, in case the project owners expect to pay hired workers when the first income is secured. If that makes sense.

In the previous year I was actually able to get similar job, the 3d volleyball I mentioned in my first post: it lasted literally two months and I was paid immediately when the customer got assured that the result is working as they wanted. But I got that work through my former co-worker from some old job I head a while ago, who advocated my participation (probably that was what is called "outsourcing", in a way, because he transferred part of his own work to me). Unfortunately I could not continue working for them at the time being for some reasons, but currenly considering contacting them again to see if I could be of use again, as one of the options.


So talk about what you have done and what you have achieved, which is not insignificant! Showcase those projects you've done, talk about the freelance gigs you've had (you don't have to discuss not getting paid), and describe all the work you've done on AGS, making sure to mention how it's the engine behind numerous commercial titles. Lots of smart game development studios should be interested.
I think it wouldn’t hurt to get your name out there and get your CV out to a bunch of different studios, big and small. If no actual job comes out of it this time you’ll at least get a good gauge of what people want, what sorts of gigs are going, what engines and languages you need to brush up on, plus you might earn a few contacts in the process. You can set up a little online CV/portfolio and direct potential employers and clients there. I think if you put it all on a nice webpage with screenshots, you’ll be surprised what you have to show off.

The biggest issue I have now, even though that sounds dumb, is that I have literally no idea where to look for these jobs. Which kind of shows my disconnection from this world of game developement. I mean, ofcourse there are those well-known giant companies producing AAA games, but that sounds too much for starters.
That is why I was asking, maybe there is some kind of a place, like a internet hub, to check out for smaller groups, indie companies, etc, to begin with something?


Also, have you considered a paid job on an AGS game (or made in some other engine by members of the community)? There are some projects that do pay, although they might have a hard time funding a full-time developer. It could be a temporary solution to build out your resume and portfolio.

Well, my resume was hanging in the Recruitment section for a while... I guess I should be actively looking instead, but was not sure where or how.
I actually had participated in couple of larger AGS projects in the past, but either they never got to completion, or I never had... TBH I quit one of them not long ago after working for about a year, although game author promised payment when the game is released. Not meaning to be critisizing here (in case game author reads this), the reasons were that I could not grow much attraction to the project, and began to doubt that the amount of time I invest in will pay off eventually.

There was another story, when someone asked me if I could script QFG-like gameplay in AGS for money. Although initially I agreed, then when they asked what is my price, and I honestly told that I have no idea how much money to ask, because the salaries are different in various countries, and I just did not know how much one may ask for an indie development. After that he stopped replying. Probably I did a dumb thing saying that :tongue:. Or maybe he found someone else.

Funny/sad thing, other time I replied to Janet Gilbert's recruitment post about porting their game to iOS (changing script and UI design), but she told me that is "below my pay grade", and asked to make some changes in AGS instead, which I never did, so ... ended silly again.
« Last Edit: 06 Apr 2018, 17:38 by Crimson Wizard »

tzachs

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Re: Asking for an advice on finding a gamedev job
« Reply #10 on: 06 Apr 2018, 04:59 »
The biggest issue I have now, even though that sounds dumb, is that I have literally no idea where to look for these jobs. Which kind of shows my disconnection from this world of game developement. I mean, ofcourse there are those well-known giant companies producing AAA games, but that sounds too much for starters.
That is why I was asking, maybe there is some kind of a place, like a internet hub, to check out for smaller groups, indie companies, etc, to begin with something?

Tigsource: https://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?board=40.0
IndieDB: http://www.indiedb.com/jobs
Gamasutra: http://jobs.gamasutra.com/

Also, silly question, but have you tried googling for "game developer jobs"? -> it gives tons of options, like this, for example: https://www.indeed.com/q-Game-Developer-jobs.html
You can also google for specific engines, like "unity3d jobs", there's a lot of jobs out there.

Re: Asking for an advice on finding a gamedev job
« Reply #11 on: 06 Apr 2018, 17:33 »
Thank you.

cat

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Re: Asking for an advice on finding a gamedev job
« Reply #12 on: 07 Apr 2018, 09:40 »
Contacting the 3D Volleyball studio might be a good idea. If they are happy with your work they might either give you work for other games as well or recommend you to other developers. It would also help to build up a portfolio and getting to know people in the scene.

Besides that, one of the biggest market at the moment seems to be mobile games. It might be much easier to get a job there compared to some AAA game or badly funded indie game.

Regarding your CV, you should really include your work on AGS, even if you sometimes have doubts about it:
  • You did not only code, but you managed the repository with pull requests, scheduled releases, moderated the development boards and generally coordinated an open source project. Those soft skills are very important, maybe even more important than knowing a specific programming language!
  • The racing game was made for MAGS which means you can work in a team towards a strict deadline

Radiant

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    • I can help with publishing
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    •  
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Re: Asking for an advice on finding a gamedev job
« Reply #13 on: 07 Apr 2018, 09:55 »
Cat has a good point. Do put change management on your list of skills, and git on the list of tools you're experienced with.

Re: Asking for an advice on finding a gamedev job
« Reply #14 on: 08 Apr 2018, 07:08 »
I have not gone to it in years, but there were always recruiters at GDC. http://www.gdconf.com/  ...an army of recruiters, really, doing live interviews. 

Other than that, go straight to the game company websites. You'll have better luck. (How about this?  https://telltale.com/jobs/job/obsW6fwp)

Sometimes, you have to dig around to find the studio's corporate site (Like this one: https://jobs.zenimax.com/search). 

Some of the positions are entry-level (i.e. needing programming experience, but not 5+ years of game industry experience):
https://jobs.zenimax.com/requisitions/view/1784 (desired skill: "Ability to fearlessly jump into large, existing code bases" <- That's you!)
https://jobs.zenimax.com/requisitions/view/1719

« Last Edit: 08 Apr 2018, 07:10 by TheBitPriest »

Grim

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Re: Asking for an advice on finding a gamedev job
« Reply #15 on: 09 Apr 2018, 08:28 »
I'd probably hire you, given your experience and proven dedication, for the next Unity3D game I make if we could agree on a reasonable salary and the thought of remote working on a project in two different parts of the world didn't frighten me so much. I have to finish Lorelai first... but then I'll be working on something in a different genre of games and will need someone much smarter than me. Still, is this something you would consider in the future?

Re: Asking for an advice on finding a gamedev job
« Reply #16 on: 09 Apr 2018, 10:41 »
I'd probably hire you, given your experience and proven dedication, for the next Unity3D game I make if we could agree on a reasonable salary and the thought of remote working on a project in two different parts of the world didn't frighten me so much. I have to finish Lorelai first... but then I'll be working on something in a different genre of games and will need someone much smarter than me. Still, is this something you would consider in the future?

Lol, thanks, sure, if I'll be free at that time :). I am learning Unity3D in the meanwhile.

selmiak

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Re: Asking for an advice on finding a gamedev job
« Reply #17 on: 09 Apr 2018, 12:37 »
and then please port and pour all gained knowledge into AGS :P

would you code AGS modules for money CW?

Re: Asking for an advice on finding a gamedev job
« Reply #18 on: 09 Apr 2018, 19:21 »
and then please port and pour all gained knowledge into AGS :P

Um... no.

Besides, there is already something coming up (spoilers).
Spoiler: ShowHide


&feature=youtu.be



would you code AGS modules for money CW?

What could be in an AGS module that would costs money?
Anyway, that does not sound like a stable fulltime job...
« Last Edit: 09 Apr 2018, 19:31 by Crimson Wizard »

Joseph DiPerla

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Re: Asking for an advice on finding a gamedev job
« Reply #19 on: 09 Apr 2018, 23:23 »
Have you tried offering your skills on Fiverr.com? People work freelance and each time is guaranteed pay. You dictate the terms and time needed for a project. Based on how well you do, you also get a rating. Programmers are highly sought after there and I've been quoted over $1000 for a 2 day job before. My company has used Fuverr before and paid those amounts for jobs. It's also a good place to find voice actors, graphic artists and animators for adventure game developers. ;-)
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