GameDev Protips: How To Build Your Indie Game Development Team

When looking into the process of finding additional team members, there are two important “phases” that make up the process: Finding the team members in the first place then making sure they’re capable of doing their job that they were found to do. For simplicity’s sake, we can call these the “recruitment” and “management” phases. The recruitment phase is simultaneously the easiest and hardest part of finding new team members. Its difficulty entirely depends on the connections you have. Obviously, if you’re already a part of a large and well-known indie game development company you’ll easily be able to find candidates with simple requests through things like social media or your own official website.

Things are much tougher, however, when you’re relatively small, like most indie studios. Because your company’s name is mostly unknown, finding potential candidates is a much larger process, as these candidates will not know what they’re getting into right off the bat and will require “convincing” to show off the benefits of joining. In addition to making sure that you’re providing a solid job description and making it sound as exciting as possible, it’s important to send your request far and wide. This could include making a reddit post, posting in a forum that specializes in the area of interest, sending messages to subscribers through email, posting a message on social media, writing a blog post, or even just listing the “wanted sign” on your official website. Although it will never be perfectly reliable, this technique ensures that the request is both effective and widespread, maximizing chances of finding a new member.

Once you have found a member, the relatively easy part comes into play: making sure they’re capable and motivated. This is the “management” phase of recruitment. First of all, likely before the person is even officially a part of the team, there will need to be some kind of skill assessment. While motivation is also a strong factor in overall performance, a person who simply isn’t good at doing what you need them to do will not be a wise investment, even considering the possibility of training. After the person has been proven to be capable, it’s all about making them enjoy the job. Just like skill, a person with no motivation will not perform up to par, and thus will not be valued. Motivation is much easier to fix, however, as you can just provide more incentives to work, including having rewards and making the overall workflow more “fun” such as having active discussions to break up hours of sitting at the computer without pause. A person’s overall performance relies on both of these factors so even if you’ve finally found a person after tons of searching, don’t hire them if either performance factor is lacking otherwise your game development output and, as a result, the budget will be lacking next.

Important Takeaways: When worrying about finding new team members, there are two distinct phases — recruitment and management. For the first phase, you have to focus on sending a strong, widespread request that glorifies the position in order to attract attention. This could include making posts on reddit or other forum-like sources or using social media. Once you have gotten that attention, you can move on to the “management” phase. This consists of ensuring this new member is actually capable and willing to do their job and will keep doing it in the future. Initially, you’ll likely have a skill assessment to see if they have potential right off the bat. Once that’s out of the way and the new member is certified to be proficient, motivation will be the primary factor in overall performance. This can be improved by making the work more “fun” overall, such as having incentives for working or breaking up long work sessions with an active discussion about the project at hand.