Quite a few game developers I have met seem to mention a similarity between the release of your game into the wild and the birth of a new baby.
Wrong. And not just for the most obvious reasons!
Let’s be honest, no matter how fugly a new baby may well be, nearly everyone will comment on how ‘bonny’ or ‘cute’ or ‘beautiful’ they are. It really doesn’t matter what the baby looks like, it is a true social faux-pas of the highest possible order to not be complimentary to someone’s baby.
Not so with your game. Whilst your close friends and family may well give you the positive complements to keep your confidence high, your peers and consumers have no interest in your feelings. Therefore the release of that product you have slaved away over and poured your heart into is tinged with multiple emotions but mostly fear and trepidation.
So it was with that fear and trepidation that we quietly published Pumpkin Bingo onto the Google Play Store – and that fear and trepidation is still there as after a day or two we have more installs than we expected, but at the time of writing we hadn’t mentioned it anywhere – not on our Facebook page, not on our Twitter account nor on our website. Soon we *will* mention it to our friends and family in the hope that all those folks who are getting a Nexus 7 (or other Android device) from Santa will give it a go.
Recently there were discussions on the Scottishgames Facebook group about when small indies should reveal their products in order to generate as much awareness as possible. Some argued vociferously for revealing as early as possible in order to build up a mass of interest over time which would hopefully peak at release; others took the opposite view that you should reveal close to release for a maximum hit. When do you reveal?
It is a question we have had to consider recently. Our first title is due to head out of the door very soon but we have been wondering whether it is worthwhile revealing bits and pieces well in advance? As it happens, we didn’t but primarily because we have only just implemented the non-programmer/producer artwork and we really didn’t want people to see that 🙂
I have no idea what the correct answer is in terms of when is the most optimal time to start a reveal, but I do tend to think that by revealing too early you run the risk that you generate all the excitement for a product that people cannot buy – I worry that they then forget about your product when it is actually launched.
Anyway, from our point of view we are hoping to start showing a few screenshots in the coming days. It’s always an exciting (and worrying) time when you first show off your baby to the world (bad analogy really as social norms dictate that you can’t tell a new parent that their baby is ugly even when it truly is; whereas your peers and consumers are more than happy to tell you your game is poor!).
fancy being part of a start-up? Are you a great artist or programmer? Maybe you have some great design ideas? Make sure you take a look at our current vacancies on our jobs page…
So, given I have been in this industry for many years now and have seen probably over 1000 CV’s, I thought it worthwhile providing a few tips on how to create your CV to at least get an interview. Note that these are just my own personal opinions and I am sure many other companies are completely different – but then again, you aren’t reading this on their site….
Let’s start off by stating a few things not to do – seriously, these are things that have actually happened!!!
- please ensure you spell Curriculum Vitae correctly. There really isn’t any excuse to spell the actual document name wrong!
- even if you pass point 1, ensure you spell check everything!
- no pictures. We really don’t need to see a picture of you at all. We all have Facebook and LinkedIn.
- check your email address. Whilst email@example.com may be funny when you are a student and amongst your mates, it could well put off an employer before they even open your CV.
- dont, under any circumstances, send your CV to a load of companies via BCC. Tailor your email message and cover letter (and indeed your CV itself) to whom you are applying to. We can tell when you have block emailed lots of employers and it gives us the impression that you just want to get something rather than you are specifically applying to us.
- dont, under any circumstances (notice the highlight?), send your CV to a load of companies via BCC and do it incorrectly so we all see each others mail addresses. It wont cause us any pain as we probably know each others contact details anyway, but whilst it will give us all a good laugh at your complete ineptitude we will probably wonder what other disasters you would bring with you given you are unable to use email correctly.
So, if they are the no-no’s, what should you be doing? That will depend on the role you are applying for and the experience you have. I have seen a lot of excellent CV’s recently from game artists who are using their graphic design skills to create a top notch single page CV. If you have lots of experience you want to get over, then this probably isn’t the best way but for a graduate looking to break into the industry, a well designed single pager is hard to beat.
You should check your CV over and over and if possible, tailor it for the skills required for the role applied for. Get other people to read it and ensure it is as concise as possible. One page tends to be the vogue these days, but I would go for two pages maximum if possible. Don’t spend too much precious space telling us about your hobbies as whilst they are relevant to your application, you should prioritise the elements which make you appealing to an employer – tell us about your previous experience working with teams, previous projects, key skillsets and package skills (it is good to show a scale of your competence but if you are a super-grad, don’t scale yourself at 5/5 for everything as it just looks contrived!).
At the end of the day, a hiring manager for a large firm may get lots of CV’s per day and only spend 30 seconds glancing at each one – most smaller firms will read your CV thoroughly, but you need to ensure you get the core information which sells you to a potential employer in the top half of the first page – make those 30 seconds count.
Probably the toughest decision is what to post to your site first? Do you do with Hello World or do you try and come up with something witty and entertaining? If you go with the latter, do you put your best material in there given your site has just launched and you will have three readers; yourself, your mum and your cat? I have no idea to be honest, but something needs to start the ball rolling?
It’s the same with deciding what games to develop first when you first start up a games developer? Do you start off with your magnum-opus or do you start out by doing an evergreen title which everyone understands? Now that answer is likely to be answered depending on why you have decided to take the crazy decision to start a games developer. If your incentives are that you wan’t to create a game that you want to play, I would guess that your magnum-opus is going to be the first out of the box; if your incentives are to make a living and create a commercially viable company then you may be more interested in creating a game based on pure market research.
Both answers are correct, as our both incentives for starting up your own business. The main thing to remember as a company founder is that YOU hold all the cards, you will live and die by your commercial decisions. Good luck to you though, it’s going to be a fun ride!!!
(Oh, and if you are wondering what the Santa hatted globe has to do with this post, its the first result when I typed ‘hello world’ into the stock.xchng open source image library!)