There’s always a lot of questions when it comes to understanding how to land a job in the game design industry so we’ve summarized it down to the top 5 tips from industry veteran Simon Warwick who’s known for his recent work on Batman Arkham City at Rocksteady Studios.
Simon Warwick's Game Cinematic Animation Demo Reel.
1. Specialise in a Department with Larger Opportunity
Research your industry and aim your skills in a direction that studios need and will need in the future. Certain departments require more staff than others, for example studios usually only need a few concept artists that often require years of experience. On the other hand environment art requires 10, 20 or sometimes more artists and their skills are also transferable to other departments if needed. Consider taking online courses as well to fast track your way into becoming that valuable employee in demand.
- Follow game industry media and news: Latest news at Gamasutra.com
- Subscribe to developer newsletters: Subscribe to Develop-online.net
- Play and analyse games from various genres and platform styles: Browse games at twitch.tv
- Learn how to be an employee in your chosen department: Enroll with CG Spectrum
2. Make Things and Finish Them
There’s nothing holding you back in this day in age from creating whatever content you want if you’re given enough time. Keep in mind a finished, polished product is what’s considered valuable and rare so be realistic about the scope of the idea you’re trying to achieve. Use your time wisely by exploring and creating using all the tools available out there.
- Volunteer to help out on mod teams: Visit Unreal's "Got Skills/Looking for Talent" forum
- Apply for indie projects with royalty payments: Visit Unity's "Collaboration" forum
- Create your very own game design or pitch an idea to friends: Apply for Unreal's development grants
3. Hunger for Personal Growth and Learning
Get used to always being just outside your comfort zone, where you aren’t quite sure how you’ll be able to accomplish your goal. Practice getting your work critiqued so you can listen and learn from people’s reactions and interpretations. Make an effort to critique other people’s work too, not only will it help them but it also sharpens your skills to identify and describe useful feedback. Also try to keep your ear to the ground for the next new software or industry shifts and don’t be afraid to abandon old ways of thinking.
- Research latest industry trends: Latest news at cgchannel.com
- Keep up to date with software forums: Visit Autodesk's forums
4. Only Show Your Best Work
Retiring work from your showreel should be a common practice. It’s better to keep things as concentrated as possible with “Wow” factor and let the rest be explained during the interview. Don’t be afraid to add your own personality and interpretation into your showreel, all rules are made to be broken and if there’s something you want to say that’s unique then say it.
Browse for game design job's to see what’s in demand: Look for a job at Creativeheads.net
5. Don't be a Jerk
Being able to work well with others is one of the most underrated skills within the games industry yet it takes a lifetime to master. One bad apple in a team can destroy a department’s moral and can bring a project to its knees. Take every opportunity you can to meet and greet with people at conventions or social situations, even if the conversation goes terrible it brings perspective, knowledge and experience. Make sure to listen and ask questions when socializing and remember to stay humble and polite. Being the person people enjoy spending time with can get you the recommendation you need without asking for it.
Research local social events where developers meet up: Find a local Gamedev Meetup