Blog – Getting a job in the game industry
If you are reading this you are probably one of many wanting to get a job in the game industry?
The purpose of this blog is to give some direction about breaking into the game industry, the competition is fierce and you need to be on top of everything. There are numerous of people who want to work in games and the truth is, not everyone can or will succeed. I recieve several application a month and felt the need to pass on some advice and knowledge, that was once given to me. Just because you have played lots of games on different platforms doesnt mean you have experience, and it will not be enough either.
Here’s an idea of what else potential employers will be looking for:
They would expect that you are regularly reading the different sites, and maybe even involved in some of the online communities that exist online. Examples are:
There are many different game-specific courses being run by universities and colleges. However, attending one of these courses will not guarantee you work. I recommend that you thoroughly research everything before enrolling, as it varies, and I suggest you explore evidence of strong connections to developers. In other words, that the university or college involves directly with the game industry. Check out the UCAS website www.ucas.ac.uk for a full list of courses available and many similare website for your country or area.
There are tons of information on the Internet on how to break into the games industry so search online for such information, so we would recommend you take a look at some of the following links:
You will be competing against tons of people, so your enthusiasm, qualifications and ability need to shine through from the first time you contact a company. It really needs to stick and be unique because all games companies and recruitment agencies alike get CVs from inexperienced candidates on a daily basis, so you need to bring something extra to the table.
Firstly, think about your CV. Does it show all the information it should? Did you mention the courses? Internship?
Does your CV state that, at the very least, playing computer games is an interest or hobby? If it currently doesn’t then do include it, as prospective employers need to know you are passionate about the job they may offer you. If you are part on any online communities, mention this too. Most companies put “Passionate about games” are a requirement, so make sure they know you are exactly that, passionate about games.
Companies will also need to see details of your qualifications. Tell them about the course you’ve completed including a breakdown of the modules covered, as the modules for each course, and in turn each University or college, are different. You need to let potential employers know what you have learnt. Is your course focused, for example has it specifically taught you programming, 3D animation or concept art? Also state your grade.
- At Teesside University – Bachelor Degree in Creative Digital Media
- Modules: 3D effects for games – Interface Design – Game Development – Studio Practice and Business
And you keep filling in details as best as you can!
Always include details of any work experience that may be relevant.
Companies need to see demo work if you are applying for art, design or programming positions. You have to spedn time working on your demo, making it unique and as best it can be. I also recommend that you do some extra stuff besides the course work before applying because everyone else will be sending in their course work too!
You should be constantly striving to improve and update your demo work, and consider tailoring it for specific clients or vacancies of interest. This takes more time and requires more efforts but then again, if you are too lazy to do that then why would anyone hire you in the first place? Think of the kind of games you like to play and the kind of studio you would want to work for and the style of games they develop so that you can try and include this style of work in your portfolio. The style and quality of your work needs to be realistic in the context of games currently being released. So, if you are applying for art and the company only do vector based art, it wouldnt be a smart move to send over pixel art. It shows your lazy and tells the company you dont have experience in vector art! When you send in any kind of computer generated demo work, I highly recommend to include a shot list. A shot list a break down of software packages used, the time it took to create, if its completely yours, if not, what percentage of it was, etc.
The primary consideration for animations is to show a good understanding of timing and weight. It is more important to show that you understand the core principles of motion, so it doesn’t matter how simple or complicated your work is as long as it clearly illustrates this.
It was suggested to me that you refer to The Animator’s Survival Kit by Richard Williams and/or Disney’s The Illusion of Life, as both are excellent books on the fundamentals of animation. Once you have mastered that and present your animation, you are on a good start.
3D Art / Level Design demo:
When it comes to 3d art and level design demo work, you need to show both high and low poly examples that are games relevant and as realistic as possible (this includes all character, environment, vehicle or object examples). Strong texturing is also absolutely key here. Please try not to make your level work too dark. Some studios will also like to see that, whilst you have a good grasp of the 3d side, you are also confident in creating 2d artwork. So, this is position that requires even more skills then Animation but doesnt mean its easier to get or master. You should be familiare with the major level editors such as unreal engine, cryteks and so on.
A demo is an excellent way of showing a potential employer what you are capable of and can make the difference in securing an interview. It doesn’t need to be big, or even a game, as long as you demonstrate you have raw coding talent using C++, Java and using an engine.
If you are producing a programming demo there are three golden rules to follow:
- Make it relevant: there is no point in producing something that would be no use in a game – the objective is to impress, so be bold with your ideas. Also pay attention to detail.
- Make it easy: include an executable, which requires no additional software to run. Also, include the source code so they can look at how you produced the demo and assess your coding style. A “read me” file with instructions may be appropriate, don’t assume the recipient knows how to play your demo.
- Make it stable: the worst-case scenario would be to produce a really good demo that won’t run on another machine. Make sure you thoroughly test it and try it on several machines.
The most common pitfall we see is student who are looking for a job for several months, and not showing anything new within a year of job search. To me it gives negative vibes for several reasons:
1. Tells me your lazy and only do this for money.
2. You do not have enough enthusiasm, work ethic, discipline and passion to keep trying.
3. You think that a degree alone would land you a job and that your done learning.
4. You wasted months just applying for jobs when you could have shown you are willing to work hard to stay ahead of others.
I didnt get a job because there was none in my city at the time, and the one there was couldnt afford anyone so I worked for free 1 year to boost my CV. But when I finished the company still couldnt afford anyone else, due to financial crises and other situations. Instead of giving up I started my own company to ensure steady growth and experience so that if something happens in the future that forces me to change my life for the better or worse, I can document proven record that I never stopped and have plenty of experience, knoweldge and proven record.
In other words, always create content either hobby, indie or alone in the garage. Every month someone got better then you and you need to step it up if you truely want to be apart of a multibillion business and follow your dreams.
Alternatively, just go into your own journey!
I trust this information is helpful and we wish you the very best of luck and success in your search for a job within the games industry. Thank you to recruitment agency (OPM) for supplying actual information on improving your chances!