So you’ve decided to take a plunge and explore the world of Game Development. And then you wonder, what kind of a team will help you get there?
At makkajai, we’ve been there, and we’ve had our fair share of lessons along the way. I’m sharing this, in the hope that others find it useful and can get up and running, building amazing games, even faster than us.
Unless you are just building a hobby Game, or have decades of Game building experience (and even then), you need a good team to supplement your skills. At minimum, you need these roles identified and amazing people to fill them.
- Game Designer – U/x Designer on Steroids + knows Technology as well as Business + Good Leader And Manager
It’s important someone owns this role on the founding team. This is not just UI design or U/x Design but Game design – holding the bottom-line for the game and bringing various experts to work together (story, technology, art, etc.) Really, if you outsource or delegate this role, you are not a game maker, you are just a publisher.
There are very few game designers worth their salt, but with effort, you could do a good job yourself – this is the best book I have read on this topic, must-have before you start even considering building your first game. Take a month just to read the whole thing and then read it again just to sink it in. Absolutely worth it.
- One (Amazing) Developer – Polygot if possible. Building a good game is hard work, and you want a developer that can just deliver on anything that is technically feasible, without a skill gap coming in the way. Even simple games can get complex as you improve it in stages, or even have multiple moving bits (server-side processing for example), so I cannot overstate the importance of this.
How amazing? As much as possible, and then a bit more. Someone you would choose to build some software if your life depended on it. At such level of awesomeness, it really doesn’t matter whether the person has Objective-C/Android Experience, because they will learn it in days.
It helps if you have another developer (maybe Game designer doubles up as developer, or someone else on the team). But one person needs to be an out-and-out technical guy/gal. And helps if he/she is a co-founder.
- Artist – Someone to actually bring your ideas to life with pencil and colors. (figuratively of course, people use digital tools these days!) It took us weeks to find a good artist, but when we did, it was incredible.
Possibly on contract initially, I don’t think you’ll need a full-time artist till you start working on multiple games at once. But if one of the founders themselves is an artist, it can be a great advantage.
- Sound Engineer – Sound is the magical, invisible ingredient that separates a great game from merely a good or mediocre one. Even if you don’t have a sound engineer, you will have to spend a lot of time working out the right sounds and music for your game.
Again possible on contract initially, unless one of the founders is a Sound Engineer or even a Musician themselves.
- Business Guys - Yes, you need to start worrying about marketing, monetization, branding, fund raising, etc right from day one, so you can actually achieve your dream of building that awesome game.
If the Game Designer and the Artist both aren’t very familiar with Photoshop/Illustrator, then you might need someone with that expertise. But generally this is not the case.
Depending on your ambitions, you might need other people. Professional writers for your story, Translators for localization. But the above is what you start with.
Make sure you have an experienced or at least a very skilled team. There is no room for interns (unless they are exceptional), at least in the beginning, if you are building a game. But then I think you should never hire interns for a startup; what do I know!