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Unique opportunity, I need some advice.

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As the title says I could use some advise/opinions on quite an interesting opportunity that seemingly fell into my lap.

Just to give you some background about myself, I'm a recent college grad with a BS in Comp. Sci. and interest in game development and computer graphics. I've been job hunting since July not necessarily for game design, just whatever I could get. However, today I was contacted by a 3rd party IT and application development company with a hefty game development opportunity. Needless to say the company has never worked with any clients that have requested a video game before so this would be an entirely new division for them. According to my contact I was the only applicant that had any game development experience on my resume that applied to their company and because of that I have been given the opportunity to lead this project and potentially build this new division from the ground up.

From the information I was given the project doesn't seem to be high budget and won't really require that much art direction. I was also informed that my only responsibility would be to gather a crack team of developers, tell him what I need to get the game done, and just develop it. To me this seems like the company is going to take care of all the business concerns.

The way I'm looking at this whole thing is a HUGE opportunity to break out into the industry, gain a ton of knowledge and experience, and potentially start something with this company.

My problem is I don't know if I'm getting in over my head here or not. I'm confident in my abilities to lead a development group and getting projects done, but this is by far the biggest responsibility that would potentially be given to me.

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone has any opinions on this situation, either professional or otherwise. It's a huge decision and I don't want to make any rash choices out of excitement.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

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1. I have been given the opportunity to lead this project and potentially build this new division from the ground up.
2. The way I'm looking at this whole thing is a HUGE opportunity to break out into the industry, gain a ton of knowledge and experience, and potentially start something with this company.
3. My problem is I don't know if I'm getting in over my head here or not.
4. It's a huge decision and I don't want to make any rash choices out of excitement.

1. This is a "be careful what you wish for" kind of thing.
2. Absolutely it is!
3. Absolutely you are. Without question.
4. How to make a decision

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To me it sounds even the company is in over its head.
From the way you're explaining it it seems their entire business plan consists of 'hire this guy, then see what happens'.

The thing you should be worried the most about is that they're considering you for this position.
It's evident that you don't feel quite ready for this challenge, yet a company is willing to bet on a recent grad to enter an industry entirely unknown to them.
I'm not saying you'll can't pull this off, you might be able to. But they can't know that.

I've been put in a similar position when an accountant and marketing firm wanted to take a dip in the application development branch.
Their entire business plan consisted of hiring me and a friend. We both had no real work experience at all, but we were inspired by the company's faith in us.
They too stated they'd handle the business side of things. This period was the worst 6 months I've worked anywhere.
Unreasonable expectations were placed on us. All we knew how to write some code, we had no idea how to start with no clients and nobody else in the company that understood our profession.

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Rule of thumb: If you're not sure if you're in over your head or not... you *definitely* are.

Game development has a habit of going Monty Python on people. The project description might look like the simplest and most harmless thing in the world, but once you get into the details, you discover that it has "Nasty Big Pointy Teeth" which requires MUCH heavier firepower to deal with.

(edit to account for Azgur's post)

I agree with Azgur - your company is probably in over its head.

During the start of an outsourced project, your company and their client will write up a contract for the project, including things like budget, schedule, and deliverables (things you send them such as a single level running to prove you're actually progressing at the rate the client expects). The people involved in this process have to be EXTREMELY knowledgable about the game development process. If they haven't been making games, chances are they do not have the required knowledge to do this carefully enough, which will result in an unfavorable contract (for you, not the client). The experience level we're talking here is in the range of 10+ completed projects of the same scope AND development process. Your company's experience with apps and IT outsourcing doesn't really help all that much in this case.

The contract is extremely important. In the case of outsourced development, it will almost single-handedly decide whether the project turns into an overtime death-march horror story, get cancelled halfway through, or land your company in serious legal trouble. I wouldn't be comfortable in a position like the one they're offering you, since you'll have very little insulation between yourself and the fire if things start going wrong.

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Thanks for the replies! After thinking over the position last night (and losing a bit of sleep over it) I inevitably e-mailed my contact and informed him I didn't want to lead the project due to me being in over my head. I didn't want novice mistakes blamed on me or the company. I told him that I would still be interested in working on the project if he can find someone willing to lead. I don't want an opportunity like this to pass me by, I just don't want to be held accountable for the whole shebang.

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You would have learned a LOT if you'd taken the offer. But you've done the right thing. Do not regret it -- it would have been a nightmare. (An educational nightmare, but still a nightmare.)

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