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How you hire Top Game Developers at Braintrust


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Meet our Game Developer community

Braintrust is a user-owned talent platform created by and for the world’s top talent. This includes a talented network of experienced Game Developers available for hire.

Looking for Work

Iaroslav Titov

Iaroslav Titov

Software Engineer
Alexandria, VA, USA
  • Kotlin
  • Cloud Architecture

Looking for Work

P.J. Snavely

P.J. Snavely

Software Engineer
Austin, TX, USA
  • Game Development

Looking for Work

Ross Wright

Ross Wright

Software Developer
Centerville, TX, USA
  • C#
  • .NET
  • Client Facing

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How to hire Top Game Developers


Hiring a game developer or development team is a significant process, involving the careful assessment of a candidate's technical skills, problem-solving abilities, creativity, experience, and passion for gaming. It's critical to identify whether candidates have experience with key programming languages like C++ and C#, as well as familiarity with essential game engines such as Unity or Unreal. Further, they must demonstrate a solid understanding of game design principles and the ability to navigate the full game development lifecycle. An impressive portfolio, showcasing a range of completed projects, can attest to these competencies.

The size and nature of the hiring organization can significantly impact the hiring process and the roles and responsibilities of the game developer. At a startup, the developer might wear multiple hats, handling various roles from front and back-end coding, design, and even project management. Startups often value versatility, adaptability, and a proactive attitude. Conversely, at larger companies, developers typically have more specialized roles within a larger team. They might benefit from more resources and established workflows, but could also face more bureaucracy.

When it comes to employment terms, hiring a developer full-time versus hourly can depend on the nature of the game project and the company's resources. Full-time employees can offer stability and a consistent focus on your project. They're often more invested in the company's long-term success and can provide continuity in development. On the other hand, hourly or contract-based developers can be ideal for smaller projects, specific tasks, or if the company needs to scale up development capacity temporarily. They provide flexibility and can be a cost-effective solution if managed well.

Another consideration is whether to hire remote game developers vs. on-site. Remote developers can bring in diverse perspectives and offer scalability and flexibility. However, managing remote teams requires robust communication tools and processes. On-site developers can benefit from immediate and real-time feedback and a shared company culture, but this arrangement might limit your talent pool to a specific geographical area.

In conclusion, hiring a game developer is a multifaceted decision involving various considerations. It requires a deep understanding of the candidate's technical and creative capabilities, coupled with a clear vision of the company's needs and the nature of the project at hand. Balancing these elements is key to finding the perfect fit for your team.

Technical Proficiency

In the realm of game development, technical prowess is paramount. Game developers should have a firm grasp of several scripting and programming languages. The industry standard is often C++, though languages like C#, Python, and JavaScript are also frequently utilized. Familiarity with computer graphics and physics is beneficial since games heavily rely on these. A comprehensive understanding of game engines such as Unity or Unreal Engine is another must-have. These engines provide the fundamental software to build games, hence knowledge and experience in manipulating them is crucial. Proficiency with tools such as 3D modeling software (like Blender or Maya) for 3D games or familiarity with AI programming could also be advantageous depending on the game's requirements.

Problem-Solving Skills

When crafting intricate, interactive experiences for new games, obstacles are par for the course. A skilled game developer must be adept at identifying and resolving a myriad of challenges, from debugging complex code, optimizing performance, to design issues that affect gameplay. This requires strong analytical thinking, logical reasoning, and an innovative mindset. Mastery of debugging tools, performance profiling tools, and knowledge of various testing methodologies is also crucial to ensure the smooth operation of a game.

Experience with Game Design Principles

A game is more than its code; it's an experience. Hence, an understanding of game design principles is crucial. This includes knowledge of game mechanics, pacing, player progression, balance, storytelling, and user interface design. Developers should know how to design and implement a rewarding and engaging player experience. They should also be familiar with the tools and techniques for prototyping, playtesting, and balancing game mechanics (particularly for single and multiplayer video games). An understanding of psychology, especially related to reward systems and player engagement, can be a great asset in this regard.

Relevant Experience and Portfolio

Successfully hiring the best game developers begins by looking at proof of their abilities, which often lie in their portfolios. This should include projects they've completed, showcasing their programming skills, problem-solving abilities, and understanding of game design principles. A strong portfolio might include full games, demos, mods, or even smaller projects highlighting specific skills like AI programming, game engines such as Unity 3D, or graphics rendering. If they've worked in a team before, understanding their role and contribution can be insightful. Real-world experience, including internships, freelance projects, or having worked in a professional game development studio, can provide practical understanding of the game development process and collaborative dynamics, setting the developer apart.

Passion for Games

A genuine passion for games is a vital trait for game developers. This is not just about playing games, but understanding them—knowing what works, what doesn't, and why. A deep appreciation for games can help a developer create more engaging, enjoyable experiences. Passionate developers often play a wide range of games and stay updated with industry trends. They analyze games critically, understanding the elements of successful game design and being able to implement them in their own work. Passion often drives self-motivated learning and exploration, resulting in a developer who can bring fresh ideas to the table.

Understanding of the Game Development Lifecycle

Developing a game is a complex process with various stages, including pre-production, production, testing, and post-launch support. Pre-production involves conceptualization, planning, and design. Production includes the actual building of the game, from programming to art creation. After the game is developed, testing or Quality Assurance (QA) ensures that the game works as intended and is free of bugs. Post-launch support might involve game updates, bug fixes, or addition of new content. Familiarity with project management methodologies like Agile or Scrum, version control systems like Git, and project tracking tools like Jira or Trello can be invaluable in managing this process effectively.

Communication and Teamwork Skills

Game development often involves a diverse team of programmers, artists, designers, and testers working together. Therefore, good communication and teamwork skills are key. Developers must be able to effectively convey ideas, listen to others, give and receive feedback, and collaborate to solve problems. They should also be comfortable working within a multidisciplinary team, understanding and respecting the roles of non-programming team members. Skills in project collaboration tools (like Slack or Microsoft Teams) and knowledge of development workflows can be beneficial in facilitating effective communication and collaboration.

Adaptability and Desire to Learn

The gaming industry is continuously evolving with new technologies, platforms, and player expectations. Game developers, therefore, must be adaptable and eager to learn. They should stay updated with the latest programming languages, software developments, and tools, as well as industry trends and emerging technologies like AR/VR or cloud gaming. This might involve regular self-learning, attending industry conferences, or participating in professional training courses. This trait ensures that the developer can handle changing project requirements, learn new technologies quickly, and remain valuable in a rapidly changing industry.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I hire a Game Developer?

Absolutely, you can hire a game developer. Depending on your project's size and complexity, you might hire an individual developer or a game development team. You'll need to consider the kind of skills and experience required. For instance, do you need a generalist who can handle many aspects of game development, or do you need someone with specialized skills, such as AI programming or 3D modeling? Or, do you need someone who’s skilled in augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) technology? Will your video game be cross-platform? Once you've defined your requirements, you can post the job on various platforms, conduct interviews, and choose the best candidate. Be aware that good game development takes time, expertise, and resources, so plan your budget and timeline accordingly.

Can I hire someone to make a video game?

Yes, you can hire individuals or companies to make a video game. The process involves many steps including concept development, design, coding, art creation, testing, and marketing. You can choose to hire a full-service game development studio that handles all these aspects, or you can manage the project yourself and hire different professionals for each task (like game designers, artists, programmers, sound designers, etc.). The right choice depends on your budget, your project management skills, and the complexity and scope of your game.

How do I hire an indie game developer?

Outsourcing an indie game developer can be an excellent choice for smaller projects or if you're looking for a unique, creative approach. You can find indie developers on online job boards, freelance platforms, and forums focused on game development such as IndieDB, TIGSource, or Indie game development meetups, game jams, and conferences are also great places to network and find talent. When hiring, look for a developer who has completed games similar to your project, check their portfolio thoroughly, and consider their passion and understanding of indie games. Keep in mind that while indie developers might offer more flexible rates, they also often juggle multiple projects, so clear communication about timelines and expectations is crucial.

How do I request a game from developer?

Requesting a game from a developer involves clear communication of your vision and requirements. First, you need to establish a comprehensive project brief detailing what type of game you want and what you want in it. This should include the game's concept, genre, target audience, platform (PC, console, mobile, AR/VR, etc.), graphical style, gameplay mechanics, and any unique features. If you're unsure about certain technical aspects, a good developer can help guide these decisions.

Once the brief is ready, you can approach developers or development studios with your proposal. Be sure to review their game development services and portfolio to ensure their style and skills align with your project. If they're interested, they will likely provide a project quote or proposal, outlining the cost, timeline, and development process.

Always ensure that the details of the agreement are put in writing in a formal contract, including the scope of work, milestones, payment terms, and intellectual property rights. Remember, creating a game is a collaborative process and open, ongoing communication with the developer is essential.

How much does it cost to hire a Game Developer?

The cost to hire a game developer can vary widely based on their skills, years of experience, location, and the scope of the project. If a video game developer has a long history of working on AAA games, or similar work, they can command a higher salary. The type of game (e.g., role-playing game (RPG)) you want to develop and which platform (console or mobile app for Android, and iOS, etc.). However, these figures can change based on the evolution of the market, so it's recommended to conduct research specific to your geographical and industry context. Other costs to consider include benefits, software licenses, equipment, and training.

Where can I hire a Game Developer?

There are several avenues for hiring a game developer. Online job platforms like Indeed, LinkedIn, or specialized job boards like Gamasutra are good starting points. Freelance platforms such as Braintrust, a service that allows you to post a job for free and get matched with vetted candidates within 48 hours, can be suitable for project-based or contract work. Networking events, such as game development conferences or local tech meetups, can also provide opportunities to connect with potential candidates. Additionally, consider reaching out to universities or game development programs, which often have job boards and eager graduates or entrepreneurs.

How do I recruit a Game Developer?

There is a multi-step process to hire game developers. Begin by clearly defining the role and job description, including necessary skills, responsibilities, and experience. Post the job on relevant platforms and promote it within industry networks. Once applications come in, screen candidates based on their portfolios and resumes. During the interview process, ask technical and behavioral questions to assess their skills and cultural fit. Consider including a practical test or coding challenge to evaluate their problem-solving skills and technical abilities.

How much does a Game Developer charge per hour?

Hourly rates for freelance game developers can vary based on factors like geographical location, experience level, and the complexity of the work involved. As of May 2023, reports that the hourly rate for video game programmers in the U.S. ranges between $30 and $38. But these figures may differ on other survey platforms and experienced specialists could potentially charge even more, so it’s important to check and compare these figures. However, global freelancing platforms have made it possible to hire developers from around the world, often at lower rates. Remember to factor in communication, time zone differences, and management needs when hiring internationally.

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