The gaming industry experienced sustainable growth over the years and continues to develop due to the COVID-19 impact on indoor activities. According to NewZoo, the worth of the video gaming industry was $103.5 Billion in 2022. Such change affects the demand for professionals in the field. It becomes harder for game companies to hire a skilled engineer or designer as competition is pretty high.
This article will provide you with a guide to game development and what you should define before looking for the team. You will also learn about different approaches to finding dedicated game developers for creating your next masterpiece.
Game development process to know before hiring the full-time team
If to make it short, the first one is pre-production, where the game idea is developed. Then there is a production stage, where the idea starts to gain form; this stage is the longest. Last but not least is post-production, where all bugs are polished, and the game is launched.
You should understand the development stages to define the scope of the project, decide on the genre and see what kind of professionals you need and how many.
It is a crucial stage that many neglect believing that all the details will come up later. Here you build the foundation of your future work. The more detailed the design document is written, the fewer problems you will face during the next stages. So what should you take out of this process?
Game budget. It allows you to estimate how much you are ready to spend on development and how many features you can afford to be in the game. It’s important to make ends meet and profit in the end.
Gaming platform. Here you decide on the platform for which you make the game. It can be a console, iOS, Android, PC, or maybe cross-platform. According to Statista, smartphone holds the leading position in the importance of gaming platforms for future growth. After follows console, PC, and VR.
Game genre. The genre influences the scope of the future work and number of the people in the team, and it depends on the budget you have. You can choose RPG, puzzle, simulation, adventure, action, and RTS. Are you going to make the indie game or “AAA”?
Intended gameplay. Here you define the interactions between the player and the game world.
Game mechanics, plot, and characters. You create achievements, quests, level logic, and the avatar of the player or characters according to the storyline. Some simple games will not need many details but remember that if you want your game to grow, you should have more diverse in-game content.
Monetization. How are you going to earn through the game? Are you going to sell your game, have in-app purchases, or monetize through ads?
After that, you create a game design document with the specific features described, UX/UI elements, and storyline. When it’s done, build a prototype and test it. It will be without design, but it allows you to see the possible bugs and if the story works the way you saw it. Don’t start production without testing.
It is the longest, however, the most active game development phase. You should meticulously follow the game design document you agreed upon before to avoid risks.
The production stage consists of:
Graphics, design, and animation. Game designers handle the game mechanics. Level designer arranges levels to provide the right challenges and incentives to players. 2D and 3D artists create characters, environments, textures, visual effects, etc. 3D artists choose to work with such software as Maya or 3DSMax. 2D and UI artists usually work in Photoshop. Animators make the creations of artists move.
Programming. Programmers write code that powers every feature of the game. Programmers may be highly specialized, meaning they specialize in a specific area, or broadly specialized, such as indie developers who handle all programming on their own games.
Sound design. Sound engineers create all sound effects, voices, and music in the game. All in all, they are responsible for audio sounds.
It’s essential to test the game before you launch it. Some game studios hire a few testers and divide them into groups to test different features. Testers check the accessibility of all areas in the game if everything displays right or if levels are too hard or too easy. Some will do a 100% playthrough to unlock achievements and see the correctness of the work.
After launching the game, you can still improve and upgrade it to create a better customer experience. You may miss some bugs in the testing stage. Usually, players comment on such things, and you can solve them. Also, release new updates, create more chapters, special events, etc.
To develop a mobile game you need a good idea and an outstanding team of professional game developers
Once you have a clear vision of the game project you want to build, the next step is to find a game development team to bring it to life. Finding the best game developers who are passionate about video games and game design can be time-consuming, but we have some tips to make it easier. Let’s start by talking about the skills you need and the technologies you should choose before hiring a game dev team.
Game technologies to choose before hiring a game dev team
As we mentioned before, you need to understand which specific technologies your game will be developed in. It will define the tech expertise of game developers that you need. At this point, you may need to discuss your specific requirements with an experienced game developer or game development firm.
Game development teams consist of various professionals with competencies in programming, 3D modeling, audio, animation, UI/UX, and visual arts. The size of a game development team depends on the complexity of the game to be created. The game dev team from Ninja Theory made the well-known game Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice involved 20 to 25 team members. According to the Unreal Engine’s forum survey, generally speaking, a successful game team may consist of 1 to 30 game developers. The small team typically consists of a game designer and a programmer. You may wonder what kind of a successful game could be created by only one or two persons, and here is an easy answer for you: remember Flappy Bird? Dong Nguyen was a Vietnamese game developer from Hanoi who designed the addictive mobile app by himself. The new game was such a huge almost-an-overnight success that the game developer removed his masterpiece from the App Store and Google Play.
Within the last few years, Extended Reality (XR) emerged as the umbrella term for:
- Augmented Reality (AR);
- Mixed Reality (MR); and
- Virtual Reality (VR)
XR is the fastest emerging part of the industry. The Virtual Developers Reality Conference report suggests more prospects for AR and MR than for VR. Survey participants often comment that AR is a much easier concept for users to grasp because it is less of discontinuous innovation.
The Virtual Developers Reality Conference report suggests that there is more prospect for AR and MR than for VR.
There are a handful of other concerns with VR that it will need to overcome, including:
- Restricted freedom of movement,
- Motion sickness, and
- Other possible health effects.
Other issues include:
- The relatively high prices of VR headsets;
- The complexity of setting them up; and
- Hardware (computers, consoles) has to be upgraded accordingly.
In contrast, AR technology doesn’t require any additional effort to start experiencing it.
While there are other applications of XR, such as education, retail, marketing, travel, etc., it is mainly used within the game industry. Hence the constant demand for VR/AR/MR skilled game developers continues to grow.
For AR, Vuforia is the most recognized platform, along with Kudan and EasyAR. MR developers have to be highly advanced software programmers with a solid knowledge of 3D, sound production, UI/UX. Unity and Unreal offer a range of useful tools for VR development.
Where to hire game developers
There are multiple ways of finding and hiring talented game developers:
- Game development communities — TIGSource, IndieDB, and Develteam can be a starting point where to look for game developers;
- Online freelance networks like Upwork and TopTal;
- Online hiring platforms like YouTeam offer more advanced sourcing options for offshore developers. YouTeam can help you source and hire game developers in 48 hours or less, and have them up and running in a week.
Online game development communities
Online game development communities like TIGSource and IndieDB give you the ability to post your job and provide access to the profiles of their community members. The profiles are not verified and overall appear to provide incomplete data, but nevertheless, contain information on the skills and projects of their members.
Develteam is a free online platform for creating projects and recruiting team members. Job offers are posted along with the description of the project, and you can communicate with developers through the comments section. Although from my review, only 3 of the 15 projects posted managed to find professionals for their projects. Overall, these communities and platforms are more of an option to hire a dev for independent games with small budgets or even no budget whatsoever.
Upwork and TopTal provide visitors access to the profiles of hundreds of freelancers with game development expertise and years of experience. Upwork is the market-leading provider of freelance talent, whereas TopTal positions itself as an exclusive freelancer network with only top developers. The profiles of the developers give a complete picture of their expertise and relevance to your project. Both platforms are perfect for working with single freelancers and not so suitable when you need to hire a game development team.
Marketplace for offshore game development talent
YouTeam takes quite a different approach as a hiring platform. It doesn’t work with freelancers, only with developers employed by pre-vetted software companies. It enables tech companies to ramp up their development by instantly adding full-time contract engineers to the team.
The vetting process is comprehensive and ensures that the listed developers are best in their areas of expertise. Game dev teams can be assembled within surprisingly short time frames, complete with all the expertise above related to game development. Our marketplace has access to 50,000 developers from Eastern Europe and Latina America. That allows you to hire top-tier engineers and dev teams quickly.
Here are some example searches:
How much does it cost to hire a game developer
Here are the hourly rates for game developers according to data collected on the YouTeam platform:
|Minimal Rate||Maximal Rate||Average Rate|
|Junior Unity Developer||$32||$32||$32|
|Middle Unity Developer||$35||$58||$38|
|Senior Unity Developer||$30||$87||$47|
|Junior VR Developer||$32||$32||$32|
|Middle VR Developer||$38||$58||$46|
|Senior VR Developer||$45||$58||$51|
|Junior C++ Developer||$30||$50||$34|
|Middle C++ Developer||$30||$77||$43|
|Senior C++ Developer||$45||$240||$55|
Staff augmentation may be a good alternative for the in-house hiring model. Also, you don’t have additional hiring costs, or you don’t spend time on vetting partners if you decide to outsource.