Sunday, March 6, 2011

Being a freelance game designer - A look at the backstage (part 2)

Hello all,

In the second part of this post devoted to my latest publication in the February IGDA neweletter, I will summarize my recommendations if you are in a position to hire or work with a freelance game designer.

Actually, working with a contractor is not much different from working with an employee. A freelance is not less loyal and trustworthy. Actually, if a freelance wants to keep getting missions, he better keep a good reputation.

If you're going to hire a freelance to work remotely, on a concept for instance, I would recommend the following:
  • Give clear, detailed and exhaustive design constraints. Tell him or her what you are looking for and what you don't want to see. Actually designers work better with strong constraints.
  • Give time. Creative work cannot be planned and shoehorned into a rigid planning.  An outside designer can bring fresh ideas to your development team but if you don't give enough time, he will simply mimic what already exists.
  • Don't insist on him or her to being on-site.  I had clients that contracted me to design game concepts but they wanted me to be on-site, all day. That was a waste of time because you cannot be creative 8 hours a day, sitting behind a computer. Actually, I am the most creative when I jog!
  • In the contract, state how the contractor will appear in the game credits and under what circumstances he can communicate on his work with you.
  • Following the previous points, put him or her in your game credits. Creative people hate not to be recognized for their contribution. If they believe they will not be credited for their work, they will keep their best ideas for themselves... or another client !
  • If your contractor is to work with your team remotely, to follow up how his or her design is implemented, organize a face to face meeting with your team. It will create stronger bonds between them.
  • Last, but not least, pay him or her well ! A freelance depends on his mission for his living. If you don't pay him decently, he'll probably shift his time to more lucrative jobs.
In the last part of this post, I will summarize my recommendations for those of you who want to go freelance.


  1. Interesting point on credits. I didn't think about that in my previous contracts, and would like to correct it for the next ones.

    But I'm working on a browser game, and unless I'm wrong, credits does not appear on these type of games. What do you think I should do?

    Thanks Pascal for this post.

  2. Exactly i too agree with you for sharing such inportant tips. I too hire people for my project through and had a great experience.

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