I can’t stress enough how important networking and negotiation are to making games. Sure, they don’t produce a tactile asset like code, art, or audio, but don’t be lured into believing that these skills are irrelevant or that they’re not worth every minute you spend honing them!
By this I mean socialising, introducing yourself to the game industry at large, and just generally meeting some awesome game devs, both online and in real life. Twitter is your friend!
Get out and about – its great fun. Ever met anyone that worked on the original titles of Tomb Raider or Broken Sword? They have epic stories to tell and a plethora of wisdom to impart. And don’t forget other indies – most of them are either going through, or have gone through, similar situations. The number of pitfalls you can avoid by simply asking for advice are innumerable.
Also look out for industry events. We’ve been attending meet-ups with IGDA Scotland and GameDevEd (Edinburgh developers), as well as anything related to digital creative industries and games in Scotland (and a few in England). The only reason Blazing Griffin is functioning and growing at all at the moment is because of the people we met at these events and, in turn, the people we met through their extended networks of contacts. We’ve recently had another team member join us (intro pending) and this was because of being able to ask around when the time came…
Why do we believe negotiation is so darned important? Why include it with a post on networking? Because, if you’ve attended all these wonderful social events, have a huge network of contacts, and want to work with or hire any of them, you’ll have to clearly communicate your intentions and then negotiate terms that suit both parties.
Making games is not about making a single individual’s dreams and aspirations come true, it’s about realising the vision of every team member. So you’ll need to find out what those visions are. If there is no compromise or negotiation — no finding out what everyone wants to achieve individually, as well as part of a team — it’s likely you’ll not be a team for very long.
Bit pointless having an epic vision if it’s not something everyone wants to share in…