Hello, my name is Alejandro Gorgal (everybody calls me Alex or Linfo though); Im the character modeler and animator of "Depth", making divers so you can tear them apart.
Posted by linfosoma on Nov 9th, 2010
So, have you been playing your favorite game and stopped to think "hey, this is easy! I could do my own game!" and decided to start your own project?
You should probably recondiser.
Im no way an expert developer or anything like that, Im just getting started as a freelancer with the hopes to get good enough to join a decent indie team and stick with them, so bear with me for minute.
I often check what other people are working on and I also check recruitment threads, sometimes to see what kind of tools they are using and sometimes out of simple interest to see what's on the market.
This is where things go south.
First of all, video game devolopment is NOT easy, so get that idea out of your mind right now. Making a game is more than "having a good idea" (which is usually something regarding zombies in a "completely unique setting!"), in fact, I will go as far as saying that ideas are useless.
You heard me, ideas by themselves are worthless, what matters here is facts. You can have the best idea in the world (realistically, it's still probably just a zombie game) but unless you can turn it into something real it's just that, and idea.
Ok fine, so you decided to turn your idea into facts, you posted a recruitment form. That's a good start right? Wrong.
Most recruitment threads I've seen are completely out of touch with the reality of video game development. You are probably exited about your project yes, but suck it up and understand that you are going to be managing people's time, people who might have different interests and goals than you. So when you type in things like:
"Our project is a vision which will provide maximum immersion and set new standards for the co-op survival horror genre in delivering nail-biting tension and ulcer-inducing suspense"
I go bananas. And yes, that's a real quote, and it's terrible.
Let's put it this way, video games are composed by hundreds if not thousands of elements combined. You often spend several days working on an asset that nobody will notice, like achair or something like that, only to realize the model looks bad in-game and needs to be redone. You've just lost several days of work for something nobody is going to care about and you have to suck it up and get on it. Because if people notice the chair it's probably because it looks odd.
So, when you are trying to get people to join you, you should first let everyone know exactly what they are getting themselves into. That post I quoted didnt even have contact info, that's simply pathetic.
Knowing what the project is about, and what you as a team leader can do can tell me a lot about whether Im going to be wasting my time with you or not.
How big is the project?
How many people do you need?
What experience do they need? Which tools will they have to learn?
What are your goals?
Also, please try to make your project realistic. Yes, we all have an idea about making the best game evar but sometimes we need to understand that this is simply not possible. It's better to start small. Simple projects can be much more complex that they seem.
I've seen people that wanted to make MMOs in UDK, and let me tell you right now than that's completely retarded. Realtime Worlds couldn't succeed with an MMO that had a budget of over $100 millon and over 300 developers, chances are you wont be able to either. Especially on an engine that's not ready for that (there's a huge difference between UDK and a full Unreal 3 Lincense).
The same applies for people who try to acomplish too much. Trying to make a game with single player, multi player AND co-op components is an insult to everyone's intelligence. Do you even know how to code AI? No? Then stick to what know.
Last but not least, I've always felt that only coders should be team leaders. They are in average more organized, have more realistic goals and know what can be accomplished and what cannot.
Im an artist, which means I always have these crazy ideas of super complicated systems that are probably going to end up being useless or annoying, which is why I choose to follow orders from someone who knows what he's doing.
And that's the point of my post really, if you are starting up on game development and you are serious about it, you should just try to stick to your guns. Find out what you are good at, join an existing project and improve your skills.
There's a lot to learn really, not only about development but also about dealing with other people, so stop posting about the incredible "cinematic experience " you want to give me and start posting about the real working experience you can provide.