FantasyVII

Where do I go from here?

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Hi everyone,

 

I graduated from college four years ago and ever since then I have been working as a freelance game developer and on my indie game. I have learned so much and gained so much experience but due to financial reasons I decided to find a game dev job. Problem is there is a very very small game dev scene where I currently live (UAE). So I had to apply to other places like US, Europe, Australia, etc...

 

I applied for jobs at almost every large publisher like EA, Ubisoft, Blizzard, etc... I keep getting rejection letters without any interviews. My only interview in the last seven months was at Rockstar for a mobile game engine developer and I didn't even make it past the first interview.

 

I'm still doing freelance for now but I would really like it to get a job at any of the large AAA studios or even indie studios. I need some help on what am I doing wrong. Do I not have enough experience? Is it next to impossible to hire a junior  game developer from another country?

 

Things I did in the last four years:-

  • Created my own 2D game engine on top of MonoGame in C#. It has everything from animation, A* pathfinding, Networking, 2D tile map editor, GUI system.
  • I worked on a single and multiplayer 2D game for IOS and Android using Unity.
  • I'm in the process of making a 3D game engine in DirectX 11 and OpneGL 4.5 in C++. I understand all the math behind matrices and 3D transformation, shadows, lighting. I wrote my own window system, math library, lighting system and I'm in the process of learning PBR.
  • I made a small hack and slash 2D game using my 2D engine that is written on top of MonoGame.
  • I made a single and multiplayer 2D tower defance game.

Everything I have ever made is up on my website if you want to take a look at it. Every single line of code I ever wrote is my own and I fully understand all of it.

 

Do you think I don't have enough experience to get a job at AAA game studio? Do you think I need to focus on something else? What should I do?

 

One thing to note is I only got a diploma in computer science. I only had to do 1 extra year to get my bachelor's degree. Do you think that is what effecting my job hunting? I thought a lot of game studios don't care if you have a degree as long as you know what your doing.

 

Sorry for the long post. I really appreciate your help guys.

Edited by FantasyVII

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Do I not have enough experience? Is it next to impossible to hire a junior  game developer from another country?

 

It's a difficult value proposition for a potential employer, unfortunately. Bringing in an employee from another country often means some combination of going through government hoops to get a visa, providing a bunch of documentation that nobody local could do the job, and paying money (both in process, fees, and in relocating you). In the case of junior positions, there are usually plenty of interested and qualified candidates to fill such a position locally, and you yourself aren't bringing a ton of seasoning and experience to the table, so it's not nearly as common to hire juniors on visas as it would be to hire seniors. Indeed, junior people are often a net productivity loss initially, with the expectation that after they are trained and molded they will pay off as an investment. But the risk on that investment is much higher when you factor in the higher buy-in costs associated with international hires.

 

I don't think your experience is an issue. I think you probably have plenty to get hired as a junior developer. 

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Do I not have enough experience? Is it next to impossible to hire a junior  game developer from another country?

 

It's a difficult value proposition for a potential employer, unfortunately. Bringing in an employee from another country often means some combination of going through government hoops to get a visa, providing a bunch of documentation that nobody local could do the job, and paying money (both in process, fees, and in relocating you). In the case of junior positions, there are usually plenty of interested and qualified candidates to fill such a position locally, and you yourself aren't bringing a ton of seasoning and experience to the table, so it's not nearly as common to hire juniors on visas as it would be to hire seniors. Indeed, junior people are often a net productivity loss initially, with the expectation that after they are trained and molded they will pay off as an investment. But the risk on that investment is much higher when you factor in the higher buy-in costs associated with international hires.

 

I don't think your experience is an issue. I think you probably have plenty to get hired as a junior developer. 

 

 

That's what I thought.  :(

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I have been working as a freelance game developer

 

Which kind of companies have you worked for? Did you already check with them the possibility to hire you full time?

 

 

Most of my work was with other small indie developers. Non of them can hire me full time.

Besides I'm really tired of working as a freelancer. I want to be able to leave me apartment every morning to work. I need a work environment with other people. Kinda feel lonely :P

 

I guess I will just look for any job here and either finish my indie game and start me own studio or improve my skills enough to be hire by a AAA studio.

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I think your mistake is to apply to a AAA studio.

Your experience, being a close to one-man-army is close to smaller studios where your duties are larger and less definite.

The AAA word is a lot more about specialists, and you come across as a jack of all trades.

If I were you, I would identify a successful startup, think 20 people +/-5, and let them know everything you've done, and don't specify what you'd like to do there, just mention you'd like to help them out as you like what they're doing and think you can contribute to their success (and genuinely mean it, of course).

No job title, they may be inclined to look at your skillset and determine for themselves whether they want that.

 

If you are self-made, you may have insight into publishing, marketing, community management, etc. Something a lot of startups will struggle at, and having you on their roster will not only help develop said games, but be aware of the requirements to a new platform (that you are more familiar with) with regards to publishing a game.

Put that value forward, that you may help that current mobile studio turn to Steam if it appears to be their intent, and leverage your experience publishing on greenlight (hypothetical of course, as I don't know what you are good at).

 

Unfortunately, outsiders find it hard to secure a job within the "industry"... and to me, that's primarily an HR issue as you don't fit their boxes. When HRs reach out to me for advice here because of my background and knowledge of the local pool of talent, I advise them not on their schooling but on their capabilities. I have recommended freelancers with no previous industry work before, but I've done the opposite quite as often and with good reasons: some people simply work better in their basement as an external freelancer asset because this is where they are most productive, and that's fine too, but I agree it can be constraining for financial stability... Ultimately, it's a decision you make for yourself (feeling bad because you don't control the environment, or feeling bad because you're scared not to get enough to pay your bills). It's honestly a question I'm still on the fence with, so I can fully relate.

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I think your mistake is to apply to a AAA studio. Your experience, being a close to one-man-army is close to smaller studios where your duties are larger and less definite.

 

This is definitely true. However, smaller companies are much less likely to be willing and able to sponsor a visa for an overseas worker. So the OP has a difficult situation there.

 

However, the OP should also bear in mind that immigration becomes a lot easier if you have a bachelors degree. Some countries probably won't even consider offering a skilled worker visa to someone without a degree; others may use a points system where higher education earns you more points.

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I get the impression that it is an uphill battle trying to get hired at studio on a junior level if you aren't living where the studio is located. Companies don't want to pay to fly people out for interviews and pay for moving stipends to hire someone who is new and unproven across a few states, let alone spend much much more time and money doing the same for someone out of country. You have a literal mountain to climb.

 

I think in your shoes having some professional experience in software and a finished degree would help a lot, and avoid going for studios you know are going to get hundreds of equally qualified candidates applying (you'd have to literally blow everyone else out of the water by being out of country). With your freelance/independant game experience plus professional software dev experience, I would think that counts for more than junior level at a studio.

 

Your alternate option is to move. This is probably going to take the least amount of time and be the best way to go, but depends heavily on your finances and living situation. It doesn't cost as much as you think if you start a new life and play your cards right. You might even look a lot more attractive to your now-local employers compared to other junior level applications for pulling the trigger on such a move and having a unique perspective someone who never lived in the UAE wouldn't have.

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Josh doesn't know what he is talking about. 

 

Look buddy, people in Mexico with no visa work in America all the time. You dont have to have a Visa. What it comes down to and only this, 

 

do you have anything to offer the company that will help the company grow and make more money? If the answer is no then you dont have what they are looking for. 

 

Mexicans offer little payment to do hard work. So they get the job. If you offer hard work for less payment... make that a statement, im pretty damn sure you will get the job if they are willing to put forth the extra effort to manage you since you would have to work from home.

 

so offer this. I work hard for less. And present them with the skills they are looking for, if you can't at the time, say give me a project, ill work for free and show you. If they still say no they just dont want to bother with the extra work since you are out of country. thats the best you can do. right there. Go get them and please let me know if you get the job. :)

 

amatures above.

Edited by stucker.lance85

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Josh doesn't know what he is talking about. Look buddy, people in Mexico with no visa work in America all the time. You dont have to have a Visa. What it comes down to and only this, do you have anything to offer the company that will help the company grow and make more money?

 

I'm not going to get involved in the American migration debate because as a Brit it's not my place. But if you think that working for a games company as a programmer is remotely like crossing at Tijuana and getting informal work as a cook, cleaner, or agricultural worker, you are wildly mistaken. Technology companies keep rigorous documentation and pay is all above board, so the chance of an overseas worker convincing a pro game development studio to hire them on-site without the right documentation is vanishingly tiny. So that leaves remote work, and the vast majority of US companies don't offer that for anything other than proven top performers, no matter how low your price is.

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