Hey, everyone! It’s time to take another peek around the game job hunting landscape to see if we can find some new opportunities to share with you. We try to do this weekly, and we check a variety of sources to try and find information that we can pass on to you. Here’s some things we’ve seen recently:

  • We added Puny Human to our list of Raleigh studios
  • Speaking of Raleigh, Boss Key continues to add new positions on its site
  • Filament Games, an educational game developer, has several open positions in Madison
  • Gameloft posted several new jobs yesterday on our site
  • Rising Tide Games, a relatively new startup focusing on social and casino games, is hiring in NY and Austin
  • Sucker Punch has been busy spreading the word about several new jobs
  • Armature Studios, in Austin, posted a couple new jobs on our site
  • Big Viking Games is looking for an Intermediate Software Developer

That’s it for this week. Good luck on your search!

It’s time for another Game Job Grapevine, where we share various tips, leads, tweets or stories that will hopefully give you an idea about a potential new job. The list is by no means comprehensive, but it includes various interesting things that have recently caught our attention.

  • First off, sad to hear about Spark Unlimited ceasing game development operations. Good luck to all those who lost their jobs!
  • TIL – Epic also has a studio in the Seattle area (Bellevue), and they’ve got an open dev position listed on Linkedin
  • Big Viking Games is looking for a Photoshop Artist at their London, Ontario office
  • Glu Mobile is hiring…a lot. Dozens of recent jobs posted on Linkedin.
  • Machine Zone is hiring….maybe even more. Dozens of recent jobs posted on Linkedin.
  • Infinity Ward has several open positions, including some short-term contract Environment Art slots
  • Finally, DICE is looking for audio designers in Sweden:

Here’s a few recent things that we’ve either updated on our site or caught whiff of from around the web. Take a look, and see if any of these might give you a lead on a new job!

As we mentioned last week, we’re playing with this new post format where we share potential leads from wherever we might hear about them. Hopefully it gives you some ideas! As always, good luck on your job hunt.

  • EA has a list of weekly “hot jobs”, and it was shared by @ShandaRecruiter:

Our goal at GameJobHunter is to help people find jobs. We strive to be a resource that’s useful for everyone that’s looking for a job in games. We have a lot of companies that post ads directly with us (which we really appreciate!), but there are a LOT more open jobs out there at any given moment. We hope our job listings and city pages are helpful for you, but we wanted to do a little more. We see or hear about companies posting jobs all the time, and we wanted to pass some of that info on to you. Every so often we’ll do a quick post that collects links, tweets, or job page updates that might give you some ideas about a studio doing a new hiring push. As always, good luck on your job hunt!

We had a game dev Meetup in New Orleans recently, and I was chatting with a developer who just recently moved to the city. He had worked for Nickelodeon, and he mentioned that he had worked on Neopets. I had met the Neopets founders at GDC many years ago, and we ended up bumping into each other at several parties and hung out a fair amount. So me and this developer swapped a few stories about our mutual acquaintances, and chuckled briefly about how small the industry is.

That got me thinking about how important that really is, and gave me the idea for this blog post. If you’ve had anything to do with games, I’m sure you’ve had someone give you the “it’s a small industry” line. It’s repeated so often that it almost sounds trite, but it really can have a huge impact on your career in games. One of the most important pieces of advice I would give to anyone getting into games is just to be professional. Be nice. Don’t be an asshole. You never know when a former coworker might end up having a say in whether or not a studio should hire you.

I wanted to illustrate that a bit using my own career as an example. I hope this doesn’t sound like bragging, that is not my intent at all. I’ve worked at 2 games studios, EA (Tiburon) and THQ (Volition). I’ve attended a few conferences over the years. I currently work at TurboSquid, which is used by many game studios, but we don’t do any game dev ourselves. I also help run this site and another new game-related site, PlayingThis. I help run the local game dev Meetup here in New Orleans. I am NOT, in any way, a famous game industry figure.

Using the “Six Degrees” idea, I’m going to look at a few well-known industry people, and see how closely I’m linked to them. This is not meant to show how influential I am – none of these people would have any idea who I am if they bumped into me on the street. But, if they were ever looking at my resume, they could pretty easily find someone to ask if I was worth hiring. The last thing you want at that stage is some former co-worker who you treated like garbage to say, “him/her? No way, they’re totally toxic!”

  • Tim Schafer – Founder, Double Fine: 2nd degree. At least 2 former Tiburon co-workers are at Double Fine.
  • Don Mattrick – CEO, Zynga:  2nd degree. Former execs at Tiburon worked with Don at EA and Zynga.
  • Cliff Bleszinski – Founder, Boss Key:  2nd degree. Former Volition co-worker now at Boss Key.
  • Harvey Smith – Creative Director, Arkane:  2nd degree. 1 former Volition and 1 former Tiburon co-worker each worked with Harvey at Midway.
  • Warren Spector – Former President of Junction Point:  2nd degree. 1 former Tiburon co-worker worked at Junction Point.
  • Gabe Newell – President, Valve:  2nd or 3rd. 2 former co-workers at Valve. I assume they have met Gabe directly, if not, they work with someone who has.
  • Brenda and John Romero – both famous for lots of stuff:  2nd and 3rd degree, respectively. I know the former Orlando game community organizer through IGDA meetups, and he is connected to Brenda.

Again, I hope this doesn’t read as boastful – pretty much anyone who has worked in games for more than a few years could get similar results. It’s meant to be a word of caution. I specifically picked recognizable names to make a point, but think of all of the other Producers, QA Leads, Dev Managers, Recruiters, etc. where you would see similar results.

I’ll use another related example from my career to help highlight the point. Imagine someone junior to you makes a mistake that impacts you. Take a moment to consider that the Tester or Art Intern that you’re frustrated with will not always be in that same role – some people advance quickly in their careers, and in ways you might not expect. I’ve worked with many people in modest roles who climbed into very influential positions. I’ll list out a few examples, indicating the role a person was in when I first worked with them and their current role:

  • QA Tester to Director of Design (2 people, actually)
  • QA Tester to Principal Designer
  • HR Intern to Senior Recruiter
  • Receptionist to Art Outsourcing Manager
  • Environment Artist to Director of Studio Art
  • Associate Producer to Studio Director
  • UI Artist to Studio Artist Manager
  • UI Artist to Studio Art Director

Connections like these can absolutely make or break your chances of getting hired! I didn’t even really have to cherry pick these – I had a couple in mind when I started, and then I spent 10 minutes flipping through Linkedin for more.

Saying “be professional and don’t be an asshole” sounds so obvious, but I have worked with people who have not followed that rule. There are people I would not want to work with again, no matter how good they were. Is that how you want to be known in this small industry? Is it worth the risk?

We’ve got another recruiter quick tip, this one from Nadine Rossignol from Armature Studios in Austin. If you’re thinking about a casual studio drop-by to ask about openings, check out Nadine’s tip:

Don’t just show up at a studio to pass in your resume in person, or for any other reason! The people who work at the studio are busy individuals who most likely don’t take kindly to interruptions in their daily work flow. And game companies generally do not give studio tours to potential applicants. If you are interested to applying for a job, go to the studio’s web site. On their site will be instructions on how to apply for the job electronically, whether that be via an email address or filling out an application form directly on the site.

I’ve had this happen a couple of times, and it’s just not a good idea. Catching people at at studio off guard usually ends up leading to an uncomfortable situation. Talking to viable candidate takes time and preparation – you’re giving people neither if you just walk into the lobby. It might feel like making direct contact can help you get noticed in the interview process, but it will almost definitely have the opposite effect.

It’s been a while, but it’s time for another recruiter quick tip. This one comes to us courtesy of Ashley Doyal, who is the HR Manager for Arkane + BattleCry Studios (ZeniMax) in Austin. Ashely offered up several tips that we’ll share in the future, but we’ll start with this one:

Don’t be afraid to show your passion in a cover letter or resume!  If you’re an audio designer who fell in love with the score from one of our titles or an artist who has spent months working on a mod for one of our games, tell us about it!  We’re all really passionate about our work here and knowing how much you want to be part of the team can help.

For me, this ties in nicely with the idea of a custom cover letter/resume for each studio you apply to! If you can convey your interest and passion in that studio, you have a much better chance of having your application get noticed. Recruiters get a LOT of applications for each open position – highlighting what excites you about a specific opening can go a long way.

Make sure and check out our open game job listings to see who is hiring!

NHN Entertainment Labs is a new studio that recently opened in Santa Monica, and we’re helping them get the word out about their open jobs! You might not be familiar with their name, but that doesn’t mean that they’re starting from scratch. Their parent company is one of the largest and most profitable entertainment companies in South Korea, NHN Entertainment.

A Meeting of Erudite Minds

NHN is currently working on a “social mobile casino” platform that they’re calling Golden Sand Casino. We wanted to give potential applicants a better idea about that app and what life might be like at NHN, so we put several questions to Drew Smith (NHN’s Head of Talent Acquisition) and the NHN management team.

Since NHN Entertainment Labs is just getting started, let’s focus on the basics a little bit. How long have you guys been open for business? How big is the team right now?

“Planning began in earnest in September 2013 and hiring commenced in December/January. We’re at 30 full-time employees right now.”

It looks like a few of the founders have experience at other start-ups. Are they finding anything different about the experience of getting NHN up and running?

“There’s a substantial difference starting a company that’s a division of a multinational company vs. an angel or even VC funded start-up. The resources at your disposal, Board and employee expectations, and exit strategy are fundamentally different. Fortunately, the goals are the same – create a great game that effectively competes with the market leaders.”

Have any of the team members worked together at previous companies?

“Yes, several of our team members have worked together before!

  • Tony (CTO) and Arun (Backend Developer) worked together at Playgistics
  • Greg (Sr. Artist), Phelicia (Sr. Production Artist) and Wil (Core Artist) worked together at Electronic Arts
  • Al (Cofounder), Dion (VP Game Design & Mathematics), Alex (Designer) and Joe (Sr. Producer) worked together at WMS Gaming
  • Dan (Lead Frontend Engineer) and Corey (Sr. Frontend Engineer) worked together at Bottle Rocket
  • Steve (Lead QA Engineer) and Harry (QA Engineer) worked together at Bioware”

What are some of the goals that the team has in creating a “Social Mobile Casino” product?

“First, we want to create a truly “social” social casino. We want to create the most authentic gaming experience in terms of the player’s emotional roller-coaster, which really means giving them huge wins. We also want to effectively compete with DoubleDown, BigFish and Caesars. We’re building an extensive analytics and multivariate test framework, so there’s no hiding behind 1-2 year launch schedules where you simply build what you think is cool without regard to the players’ desires.

On the tech side, we’re using Unity on the front-end and Node.js and Socket.IO on the back-end, so if you lean nerd, we’re about as much fun as you can get. Even QA has automated just about everything about the build and test process.

Bottom line – we’re a place where if you want to really test your skills, we’ll give you the opportunity.”

What are some of the most unique aspects of the studio that you’d want potential candidates to be aware of?

“The company provides candidates with the opportunities of a startup — e.g., to have their voices heard, their ideas implemented and to make a difference.”

Are you guys planning to work on multiple titles concurrently, or just one?

“We’ll be simultaneously working on multiple games of chance (slots, slot tournaments, video poker, bingo, blackjack), and games of skill (poker), but all within the Golden Sand Casino app.”

Any word on when the beta might be released, or is that still under wraps?

“Very, very soon!”

Thanks to Drew and the NHN team for answering our questions!

Cheers

Ar-teests

If you’re looking for a game industry job, and you’re going to be anywhere near Vancouver on April 8th, there is an event you need to attend. Vancouver-based mobile developer A Thinking Ape is helping host the 2nd annual Hiring Happy Hour. 11 studios will be on hand to talk directly to job hunters about their openings, and hopefully do some hiring!

Sonia Ryan works for A Thinking Ape as a Troublemaker (seriously, that’s on her business card), and is helping to organize the event. Sonia said that the idea of the event was hatched last year by A Thinking Ape and Vancouver Social Games after a rash of announcements about industry layoffs. The event was such a success that the organizers decided to turn it into an annual event.

I also asked Sonia to give some advice to people attending the event, and this is what she had to say:

I would encourage all participants to fill out our Hiring Happy Hour Applicant Form.

Get to know a little about the participating companies. What games do they make? What excites you about their games? Practice your pitch about who you are and how you can help each company you are excited about.

Bring your resumes // portfolios!

For more details, check out the flier for the event:

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