Ok this is rather a topic which is done to death yet we see a strong pull in writing this up as concise as possible. Now being this emerging and growing studio we get sizable amount of applications on a regular basis- across Art, Programming and Design (we will get to Design later!) and we find many of the applications pretty much ending up in trash. If you start to wonder why, do continue to read this post.
How is this different from applying for any Job ! – Well in reality it isn’t very different fundamentally as typically when you apply for a certain job you write up an email and attach your Resume relevant to the role. So how is this different from applying for any creative job ? The answer is, it is not any different either and it still applies to game development too. This is a creative profession at the end of the day and you need to show at least a hint of that when applying. Now let’s see some examples so we get some perspective- these example are from some live applications we have received and of course we aren’t going to disclose who they are!
Please find html5 developer’
Now what you see above is actually a body of an email with the same subject ‘Html5 developer’. Well how shorter can it get! After reading – we were like ‘Why is this guy asking us to find a HTML5 Developer ? Shouldn’t he be writing to a recruiter instead?
2. ‘Sir I\’m looking for 3d Modeler Job. Any Vacant is Available in your office, And How can I approach You.’
This is again all the email contained – we usually run a complex algorithm to find details like name, whereabouts, fix typos, grammatical errors and even extract resumes from an email that doesn’t even have one attached!
3. ‘i am fresher . I need a job & im seeking in that filed. i am a character modeler in Zbrush’
Needs no explanation!
And the emails go on in the same fashion. While some of these guys seen above, for all we knew could have been super talented- we still ended up rejecting them for the very reason that they failed to strike an impression in first place with a well written email introducing themselves that has a covering letter and resume attached. In some way thanks to the general job market that such factors are being conveniently overlooked. Unfortunately they might only take them to a certain extent.
Core Issues– Now we wanted this post to address the specific issues. The foremost issue we see is the lack of ability to communicate effectively- this is just not English in this case but their overall communications skills. When you realize this, its easier or better to have a friend or relative of yours to help draft a good email or learn to write one. Your work is only as good as your presentation. Lets see an example of a well written email when applying- this is again from our archives!
I am XYZ, an indie game designer and producer with XX years of experience I am currently in search of job opportunities related to my area of expertise and as a result I came across Hammerplay Studios.
If you are looking for experienced designer and producer who can add new perspective and efficient work methodologies to your projects consider going through my cover letter and resume that I’ve attached below.
Awaiting a positive response from your end’
Now, the above is a neat and well drafted email – simple and to the point. It presents who the person is and what role he or she is looking to apply for mentioning the relevant experience and what sort of value the person thinks they can add which is the most important of all. When we typically hire at Hammerplay, we just dont look for people with skills- trust us there are some many of them out there! Skills alone wont really cut! Its the overall attributes that count – often what we calls as a ‘package’. Its those well rounded values that we see in one when hiring. Can he or she add value to the Studio by bringing something new to the table ? Are they eager to learn more and put them to good use ? Are they a good team player ? Are they passionate about what they do? Do they show high interests in games? Ultimately these are what that really matters and your resumes really only come in at the last- trust us! For us to know some of these qualities even before setting up discussions, your emails would need to suggest or show a hint of them so we at least take out time to go over them and decide whether we can take it further.
We often see no portfolio links attached in the resumes or in the email (a crime being in a creative occupation) and when we see some – they are either bad or badly presented- this is especially true with most Students and newcomers.
Without getting into a lecture on this, we will tell you what we would like to see- this is the case with any international game developer/studio.
- Artist/Animator– A working blog link or a PDF attachment containing the very best work – it need not have a gazillion models or animations. And NO RAR or ZIP files – none of the studios have the time or patience to open up archives and then open up 10 more folders to find a ‘Wooden crate Model’ sample. If you are unsure of what to include, just get your friend’s or mentor’s opinion who is good at identifying what is good/terrible. Here is an example of what it can look like- it can just be one well made asset literally ! It shows that you are focused onto a specific area.
Also follow and worship sites like Polycount. They are a gem of a site for learning game art from the best in the Industry. It allows you to know what the standard out there!
- Game Programmer– For Engineers a.k.a Programmers, we prefer seeing a demo of a game along with the code – this is usually expected in a portfolio of a game programmer. Even if your resume lists the best games out there that you might have been part of – there is no way for us to judge or a get a gauge until we see you in action which is why we usually send out a tech test where we ask for a simpler game or a game mechanic to be built for us to then review. Again like stated above, you don’t need to include a ton of games that you worked on. Only include the ones you are utmost proud of. It can just be one byte sized game or even a simple game mechanic which is intuitive and fun to play with. Including a playable demo- say a PC executable or a APK file for Mobile would be ideal. And we don’t usually prefer game samples built heavily with starter packs with very little work going in. Game Mods are ok too as part of a portfolio but it has to have examples of coding and heavy changes to the original game resulting a different experience. And one more thing – we are not a huge fan of addressing as ‘Unity Developers’– while Unity has to be given the credit in revolutionizing game development to this extent – its not the destiny either. We want to see pure programmers with unadulterated passion for ‘game programming‘
- Game Designer- Oh boy this is a tricky area to handle – ok, in simpler terms we don’t really hire actively for game design as most of them who we come across have the most opposite understanding and way of working of a game designer, so we don’t even want to get down that lane. If at all you are still looking into breaking into the Industry as a game designer/ level designer, note that your portfolio should exhibit everything ‘Design‘. We often find Game/Level designer portfolios just containing some screenshots of some random assets put together (usually stock assets from the game engine) without any hint of design. As a designer, we would like to see your ideas and how you go about bringing those to life. They could even exist as ‘Napkin Sketches’ or on ‘Papers’ – its absolutely fine! If you are designing a side scrolling platformer for example, we would love to see some rough sketches or mock ups of how the level is laid out, who the character is, what his abilities are, how does the camera setup work and so on. If you are able to use something like a Gamemaker to build the idea as a playable experience,that’s fantastic too! but its not fully needed as we are only after your ‘Design’ skills and not full development. You can always learn those other trades after you break into the industry. For all you aspiring folks about there do follow Gamecareerguide – its a great site to gain some real perspective on game design, level design and they often conduct challenges that really nails it!
Well, that’s it for this post and we hope this should have helped.
PS- Did we tell you we kinda hate trance music (or any music for that matter) added to showreels that actually contains some pretty bad work ?