Monday, March 14, 2011

Being a freelance game designer - A look at the backstage (part 3)

Hello all,

In this last part of this post devoted to my latest publication in the February IGDA neweletter, I  I will summarize my recommendations for those of you who want to go freelance.

  • First and foremost, always remember that you are not doing your game but your client's game. You have the right to propose and fight for your ideas but you also have the duty to execute your client's demands, even if you believe you have better idea!
  • Think ethics. It is very important to build a reputation as a loyal and trustworthy partner, in particular don't kiss and tell (keep for yourself what you've seen or heard while working with a client), don't give names of client's employees to head hunters, at least as long as the person is still employed by your client and never say bad things about your client, even after a mission is completed.
  • Respect what you have promised to deliver: Budget, deadline, content, etc.. If for some reason you believe you won't be able to achieve something, inform your client as soon as you see the problem.
  • Be ready to work more than expected. Always remember that a client contracted you to bring a solution to a problem, not write a document or be in his office from 9 to 5. Work until it's done. It is only if the workload really get out of control that you should tell your client and renegotiate your contract.
  • Don't be arrogant with your client's development team. Making a game is difficult; making a good game is very difficult. Respect the work done by them, even if it's not perfect by your standards. I had my own failures, so I stay humble.
  • Respect the confidential agreement you have with your client to the letter. It happened several times that I had to stop myself from giving out information that my client's employees had already leaked!
Hope you found this serie of posts interesting and if you want to share your own experience, feel free to do so !


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  3. I really like your posts about freelance game designer area, I personally think that Game Designer is one of key positions everyone wants to fill. What isn't good about getting to actually create games that you love so much? What isn't cool about being able to tell all of your friends that you are a real live game designer? What isn't good about getting to come up with awesome ideas and having the programmers and artists implement them? Well, I think there isn't anything not cool about any of that. Unfortunately, reality is a bit different and life is unfair, get used to it.

    You do get to make the games you love so much, and you do get to brag to all your buddies, but you actually have to implement all those cool ideas, and you may not have the freedom to implement all the cool ideas you come up with until you've been a designer for quite some time.You actually don’t have a chance to make a game that you really love so much, you do need to get as many as ideas that you can to implement all those ideas, and you may not do whatever you want for those ideas, you have to follow the rules, you have to practice more until you’ve been a designer for quite some time.

    But we're getting ahead of ourselves just a little bit, aren't we? The first step in becoming a game designer is deciding you want to become a game designer.A game designer does not get paid as much as people with equal skill in his business world. In fact, a game designer works long hours, constant pursuit to improve himself and his designs, hoping for recognition from their superiors while.
    You have to play the game - even people you dislike. I decided a long time ago that I wanted to be a multiplayer online game design, so I started playing a ton of them. I have not limited myself to MMOGs well, I do not limit myself to the people of North America, and I played them all.
    Keep playing those games. But, instead of simply playing them for fun, start analyzing them. What did the game do right? What did it do wrong? What did it do differently from most games, and why? Start looking for all of the little quirks you never would have noticed without looking for them in the first place. If the game is good, discover what makes it good. Many times, it's not just polish and it's not just cool features, but it is instead a concrete idea working cohesively to produce something magnificent, even if it's not the type of game you would normally enjoy.

  4. I totally agree with gin, as a game designer , you have to play every games, even you don't like it, just because you want to improve skills and get some ideas from games that you play. For me, the important thing to be a game designer is creativity. You have to make a game that can sell to the market and also appeal the public. That can take you up to many years to make a good game. I think the real challenges of working gaming is creativity. Creativity is not only about the graphics, story or lead character. It is about the way that you interact. Getting people interact with the game is very difficult, but when you can do it. Your game is perfect. That's my opinion about game designer. Cheers

  5. Hi Pascal,
    I have a question for you. Where and how does a professional GD start to freelance? Freelance websites(not that strong on game design jobs), job sites (not that many job ads). Connections (hard to know someone who needs a freelancer GD)
    Many Thanks!