The Hardest Roles to Fill on a Game Development Team!

The Hardest Roles to Fill on a Game Development Team!

There are roles in a development team that
are critical to your success – and finding talented people to play those roles can be
near impossible in today’s talent market – even if you have a lot of time and money
to spend. In this video we’ll review those most cherished
of developed team members – the roles that are virtually impossible to fill on short
notice. We’ve seen the absence of these team members
literally sink development projects – and often at the biggest studios in the industry. We are the Ask Gamedev Crew, aka Run DM C-plus-plus,
aka Devs Stranding. Welcome back. This Week on Ask Gamedev: the hardest roles
to fill on a dev team If you’re new to Ask Gamedev, we make videos
to help you learn about the games industry so that you can elevate your games and Inspire
others. If you’re on a gamedev journey, consider
subscribing as our community works together through videos and comments to share insights
and best practices that will help your game development. Ever been part of development projects that
struggle because of that one specific skillset role that just cant be filled? It can be a real problem – development may
be moving along, but one area just can’t hit the quality bar needed because you haven’t
secured that one expert. Other team members are trying to learn that
specific discipline on the fly, but if there is one thing that you never want to do .. is
ask someone unfamiliar with a critical area to solve it in a short timeline. In a worst case scenario, the whole team can
stall as a result of this problem, and this happens more often than you would think. Before we discuss the specific roles where
we’ve seen this occur, let’s first dive into how this can happen by reviewing how
teams are structured in game development. With most game development projects, the people
behind the software are a group of talented professionals with complementary skill-sets. These skills include defining designs, creating
audio, animations, or art, or writing freshly authored game code. Games can be complex, and despite what you
may have heard, it’s still quite rare for any one individual to be able to play all
the roles needed to ship a game. These teams can be big – hundreds of people
are often needed for the triple-A hits that are huge sellers. Alternatively, some teams can be very small,
with many indie titles being developed by a small group of passionate game makers. If you want to learn more about game development
teams and how games are made – click the card here to review a recent video we did on that
topic. With modern game engines and asset marketplaces
increasing the off-the-shelf options for developers, small teams are increasingly able to compete
with larger development teams. But that said, there are some gamedev areas
where off the shelf solutions just can’t compare with the custom implementations that
a skilled team member can provide. Let’s start our list with visuals. Specifically, rendering. The strong rendering engineer has historically
been the hardest role to fill on a dev team. Why? It’s because rendering is a very complicated
discipline within general engineering and requires strong mathematical skills in addition
to familiarity with major rendering engines, like DirectX and OpenGL. Most development teams do not carry a large
number of rendering engineers .. so the number of experienced renderers in the industry is
comparatively small. Renderers can have a huge impact on the quality
of a title. Many popular game engines have rendering tech
built into their core offerings, but customization or specialized effects will often require
custom work. Renderers use shaders and lighting effects
to enhance the the realism of a game. Additionally, Renderers can be critical in
the process of porting a title to a new platform or engine, as those efforts commonly require
rendering tech upgrades. Renderers command very high salaries as a
result of their short supply and high impact on game quality. Small development studios can struggle in
their attempts to secure rendering help .. often choosing to take visual concessions or hoping
that generalist engineers can quickly get up to speed on rendering basics. Lets stay with visuals for our next selection. Have you ever worked with a game engine where
importing content assets into the build was a constant struggle? Or have you ever faced the challenge of having
to make changes to a batch of assets as a result of performance problems? Or have you ever needed a create a custom
tool to help with the speed of level creation? If you have seen these problems then you’ve
run into the types of challenges that are typically solved by a technical artist. Tech artists provide a bridge between the
art team and the engineering team – they provide the ability to write scripts, or create tools
and pipelines, that can optimize the integration of art into the build. Technical artists need to have a strong understanding
of the popular art asset creation tools – including the workflow used in each and the file formats
they support. They also have to know the scripting languages
that can be supported in those applications, and the art pipelines into the major game
engines. If you want to learn more about how to get
great art for your game – check out the recent video we did on that topic by clicking the
card above. With the sheer amount of software and technical
areas that tech artists needs to keep up to date on, talented TAs are in very short supply. Tech Artists can massively improve the efficiency
of an art team – and given that value game teams will compete hard for their services. Next let’s talk about networking. Modern game engines have made the creation
of multiplayer and server features much more accessible though helpful out of the box tools. That said, there are additional services that
a game may need to support that need custom implementation – and these can include matchmaking,
marketplaces, social features, anti-cheat detection, leaderboards, cross-play, and many
other features that require server-side work. Knowledge of cloud services, database design,
networking technologies and protocols, and online services are all complex areas where
an experienced networking engineer can be extremely valuable. The ever-changing development ecosystem of
online games is constantly exposing new challenges to game teams – and having a team member that
is up to speed on the latest technologies is very hard to secure. These engineers are well paid and in short
supply, as they can architect solutions quickly – and build them to scale with security. Let’s move onto the mobile space with our
next choice. If you are working in mobile games, you no
doubt are familiar with the extremely competitive landscape for user acquisition. Paying for eyeballs through the different
ad networks has become incredibly expensive, with many developers struggling with making
the numbers work. Costs per app install continues to climb,
and games which have not optimized the monetization of those paid users can easily find themselves
in a money losing proposition. Enter the user acquisition expert, the experienced,
data-driven individual who can optimize ad spend in a way that continually drives down
acquisition costs – while partnering with design to increase the overall ROI of those
customers.These people live in the analytics, looking for trends and anomalies that can
be exploited. As a relatively new skillset amongst game
teams, the population of experienced user acquisition experts is very small – with those
having proven track records of success being virtual unicorns. Seriously. Those that can really move the needle on UA
can be the most highly compensated individual in a game studio. These people are so sought after that they
are all but off limits to small developers unless they are giving a percentage of game
proceeds. So there you have it – four of the most sought
after gamedev roles. Do you agree with our selections? Let us know what you think is the hardest
roll to fill via the poll link above. ..And if we missed any key roles that are
hard to fill – Let us know your thoughts in the comments so that your fellow viewers can
hear your take! If you like our video content and want to
support us, the best thing you can do to help is to upvote the video or leave a comment. We publish videos every week so consider subscribing
and if you hit the bell below you will be notified as soon as a new video is available. Thanks for watching everyone – let’s work
together to elevate our games!


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    Ask Gamedev

    Thanks for watching everyone! We also would like some feedback – we got some help with the narration audio on this latest video and wanted to know what you think! The three of us that write the scripts aren't particularly good at voiceover, so we wanted to try a new voice for the next few videos. Definitely appreciate hearing your thoughts on this current narration is better or not.

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    Murad Sheshani

    Guys I am looking for a job as unity game developer. I will learn whatever your company needs me to do.. with pleasure!

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    Bugra Kadirhan

    Gotta learn NodeJS and C (not C++). Maybe build game server in C too (may need to do that if I try to scale it up)

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    Eric Black

    As I see the biggest problem with programmers is that they always wanna do everything on a high level. Sometimes it's better to reinvent the wheel tho.

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    Dok Asov

    Anyone that fills any of the roles mentioned could please confirm if what they're saying is true? Ideally from personal experience

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    Iris Tech

    Renderer Engineers do not need super math, they just call different renderer's functions depending if they are rendering a font, texture, model, etc…

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    Darsa Animation & VFX

    Hardest role… a good animator… also someone who can sculpt and retopo and then texture as well as import those into the software and make it look good using the shaders the render engine provides 😛

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    Could you possibly add a little text at the start of the video to show the time where the most relevant info is mentioned? Just so that people who don't need the intro info can get straight to the main part.

    But awesome video and thank you for helping educate us all! 🙂

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    Anton Marstrand Rasmussen

    In order for a the game to not be a waste of time and attention to all players, you will NEED a creative leader with a vision for the game. A lot of games today are twice as addicting as they are actually enjoyable. Go play and make cool games guys. Im still waiting for the first good game on mobile to come out.

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    Lunatic Programmer

    Hey! I could easily fill the role of the render engineer. Don't believe me? I have some videos on my channel about it and I have an awesome new project I'm going to post soon.

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    Knuckles #2761

    Without water and self-ads:
    1. Rendering engineer
    2. Technical artist
    3. Networking engineer
    4. User-acquisition expert

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    Becca Makin

    I mean… Why does the UA job (last on the list) feel like such a sketchy/manipulative job? And they get paid the most? It really feels like the industry has maybe taken a wrong turn in recent decades when it comes to marketing.

    … A wrong turn that happened to swerve them into a tree.

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    John W

    Quit dreaming about gettin a job in the game industry . Just quit.. Dont waste time and money investing in game dev careers. The market IS OVERLY SATURATED. Go listen to what your mom said to do in life, it ll get you farther in life.

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    So EA found all the unicorns and hired them, immediately firing all the rendering engineers ? Seems about right to me 😂

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    Youtube Comments

    You also need a Cat Herder: Your team lead.
    A lot of people have a tendency to not work well together, because they have different values, or they use different language, or because they're out of synch with reality in different ways. I've seen a lot of "all star" teams fail because everyone thought their way of doing things was right, but the different ways of doing things tore the project apart.
    Team Lead is a hard role to fill because you need a PhD in Common Sense, enough self-awareness to know when you yourself are out of synch with reality, and the ability to negotiate with people of vastly different values.

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    Pierre Hagelberg

    I am going to write a comment about this video. In this day and age, people write comments on videos to express how they feel about the video, the comment is a way for the person writing the comment to tell the video author what they feel watching the video. In my comment I will describe what I feel about the content I have digested, many comments today contain useful insight about the content and can serve the content creator some much wanted feedback. The feedback I would like to give to the creators of this content will be displayed in the comment I wish to write. The feedback will be in form of a comment I will write. Before you get to my comment here is a generic scenario that somewhat relates to the topic I first presented in order to do some sponsor message for the paid product placement that this comment will contain. Now onto the comment. As with many comments that are intended not only for the content creators but also other people watching this video, this comment will contain information that is relevant to the content of the video. It is very nice that people take the time to write comments like this and here is my comment: As stated before a comment is very much the comment authors feelings and impressions of the digested content and since I have digested this content I will now comment below what I felt about this content in the form of a comment. My comment to this content will thus be as follows:

    See, I can also not get to the point in order to achieve more watch minutes and revenue. Maybe you need to hire me.

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    You guys just made me intrigued about this idea of UA expert. I'm a data scientist and have the base skills to do this, but have no idea where to start learning the specifics of it. Any UA experts here want to share their experience?

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    First Last

    And then there's my profession which is so overly saturated that barely anyone is looking for them. Graphic/UI Artist.

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    Mario Villa

    Hey there, im new to the channel and as many would like to dive into the game creation. Im an architect and have used Autodesk for years as well as other 2d and 3d softwares.
    Ive seen that many AAA game use autodesk scale as one of many softwares so my question is: is my experience within the architectural world designing through autodesk software useful for the game industry? I would really like to know if i can make that transition. Thanks in advance.

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    seam to qualify more or less as a Tech-Artist(even if I'm actualy Game-Artist Student), and Watching more stuff about technical artist role just make me understand how rare we are, didn't realy expected it to be soo rare ^^'
    I'm realy into programming, Shader, Render Pipeline, partciles .if I had some more courage (and math knowledge), I could even become a rendering enginner

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    Elijah Buscho

    User acquisition seems like the hardest position to me, but maybe that's because I'm in software engineering and I don't know anything about marketing

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    Khush Narula

    Hi, i am 17 at the moment, i use adobe illustrator and Photoshop for making some artwork, i have also started using after effects. Seeing your video i am tempted to pursue in technical artist, so how can i start today to achieve that position??

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    Devin Cory

    Oof. I've just been sitting on my experience in rendering as a hobby. I didn't realise writing graphics rendering engines was a skill that is in so high demand!

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    Siana Gearz

    Wait a sec. I could be a junior rendering, network engineer or technical artist right away. But I can't move more than around 100km from my area.

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    Astrah Cat

    In Unity or Unreal, you still need to develop an sdk. The hardest role and most important role to fill is seemingly people who understand your sdk and your optimization techniques used, and work as level editors managing eventing. Programmers you can hire and they can learn their way around your sdk, but something as delicate and refined as level editing becomes the key to getting things done. If all of your levels are completed and working properly, I can't imagine your game not finishing, you'd just have to have extremely poorly managed and unorganized code maybe…

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    Natascha Gamboa

    Nice video it was very helpful for me. I searched about Rendering Engineer and Graphics programmer came out too, so I want to know the difference between those 2 careers and in the other hand didn't understood very well about the Technical Artist because it can do some of the work of the Rendering Engineer or/and vice versa?. Thanks a lot.

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    Haos Kitsune

    One of the best (and maybe weirdest) thing is being most experienced with Network Engineering and having coding/programming as a secondary role but your team is only interested in developing single player games.

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    I need a modeler,animator,sound developer,texture maker,I work with unreal engine 4,
    Other roles also are allowed,
    Age : doesn't matter
    PAYMENT : I cannot pay you becaus i don't have the money to pay you, BUT when the game is finished you will recieve 1/(team members) * money so that everyone will recieve just as much money as anyone else.
    Team name : Silverwolf
    If you want to join,join the discord :, and goto the category : Game development,then follow the steps there,thank you

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    Mateo Tellez Lopez

    I actually want to become a game-dev when I grow and you channel has helped me understand that world of gaming even more. Than you

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    Sires Orb

    Wouldn't it just be easier to lower your products visual expectations with simpler rendering, if the games good people will play it.

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    carlos filippi

    Can you make a vídeo to compare whether it is better to be an indie game dev vs working on a videogame company (financially wise)

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