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  1. #1
    Skaarj
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    Default How to Recruit a Programmer

    I posted this in another tread and someone suggested that it be reposted to become a sticky. Given the number of recruitment posts in the last few days I figured I should get to that.

    The absolute first thing that enters into a coder's head when they see a recruiting post is: "Why should I work for this guy?" It is not "Wow that is a cool idea" or "I wish there was a game like that I could play". Rather, "Wow, that sounds like a lot of work".


    Before someone who knows what they are doing is going to sign up you need to provide them with some very important information like:

    1) How much influence they will have on the product based on what they want to work on and also the technology limitations. We can do anything on computers nowadays. The question is always whether or not it is a good idea.

    2) What skills you have aside from 'designer'. Anyone can have game ideas. If your only task for a project is to design it you had better have a design doc (5 pages or less) written and available and we'd better not have to email you for it. (Like someone said above, inherently lazy and anyone who thinks they have an original idea worth protecting is so delusional that we won't give them the time of day)

    Also, all sorts of other information needs to be documented as well. Weapon sheets and descriptions, game and front end flowcharts, etc. Otherwise the programmers will be waiting on you for stuff and the last thing you want to do with their valuable time is squander it.

    3) What, exactly, you have done already. If you have nothing or just some concept sketches don’t bull**** us. We will know. In fact, before you go searching for programmers it would be a good idea to have placeholder packages made with temporary art that is named correctly. I could go on for a few pages about how important that stuff is to us. Suffice to say, as far as your programmers will be concerned placeholder art is more important than the final art.

    I know that may sound odd or confusing but just trust me on it.


    Ok, enough of the vague concepts of what to do here are some specific examples to help you out:

    1) Spell and grammar check your post. These kind of errors are easy to catch, but immediately discount you.

    2) A website with all of the information that is easy to read, cleanly laid out, and freely available. The gameplay and features should be at the start of the doc and the story at the end.

    3) Flowcharts. They show organization and thought and will increase the work rate of your programmers. Diagrams of interface screens are also quite helpful.
    Last edited by legacy-JamesWalkoski; 01-17-2004 at 07:55 PM.

  2. #2
    MSgt. Shooter Person
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    Default

    And last but not least...

    Coders do not grow on trees.

    Meaning just because everyone needs a programmer, doesn't mean there is one for you. Often you will be pulling them away from another team/project, and you need to give them a good reason to do that.

    [edit]EEK I REPLIED TO A STICKY!![/edit]
    Visit us at BeyondUnreal!
    And for a cultured and mature Unreal Engine community, try our forums!

  3. #3
    legacy-Messenger
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    "1) How much influence they will have on the product based on what they want to work on and also the technology limitations. We can do anything on computers nowadays. The question is always whether or not it is a good idea."

    Do most programmers wish to have more influence or less?

    In other words, would most programmers prefer to an open minded project where they can add or change ideas and discuss the work and concepts for the work before beginning or just a flat, layed out set of rules and final work ready to go?

    I'm guessing a cross between the two because I know that if I was a programmer, I would like the project to be not necessarily final before I started the work so that I could implement my own ideas first but at the same time, have a fair layout of the project.

    Very good advice though.

  4. #4
    legacy-Messenger
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    Default

    Also:


    "In fact, before you go searching for programmers it would be a good idea to have placeholder packages made with temperary art that is named correctly."

    Can you explain what you mean by placeholders exactly?

    I want to be able to provide as much as I can to help the programmer when I'm ready to recruite a lead programmer for my project. At the moment I have more than just concept sketches, I have desktops, and completed concept models. I also have a website that has all the information laid out that I wrote all the html code for. I'll probably work on a document dureing this week though to explain how everything in my mod will work and exactly what work is needed.

  5. #5
    Skaarj
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    Sure. A placeholder package is a package full of temporary art/sound/etc assets that are all named properly.

    So, if you were doing a mod that required 3 new weapons and 2 new character skins you would have temporary meshes and textures for these in a package named the EXACT same way as you would once they were finished.

    The more crude these placeholders are the better. The following are good examples:
    -Half a dozen boxes formed roughly into the shape of a gun
    -A texture with "Sniper Rifle Texture" written on it

    The point of these things is to allow the programmers to begin quickly and not have to constantly change code whenever art assets are updated. Also, once the artists are given a build with the placeholders implemented they can just drop in their new package by replacing the old one and see how their stuff lines up, adjusts to gamma changes, if everything was named right, etc.

    The reason that crude placeholders are better than near finished art is because there is no way anyone can forget to fix a gun placeholder that looks like it was made of lego. Near the end of the project nobody can get lazy and decide that a few inversed normals is 'good enough'.

    The mod I am currently working on has documentation of a very strict naming convention for all of our packages and assets that was laid out prior to starting any work. All of our packages are prefixed with JEI and the textures have names like chrPRMdjinnWings (It's for a character (primary texture) named djinn that is applied to her wings) or wpn1STStormCannon. (1st person texture for the Storm Cannon weapon)

    That is a bit beyond what you would need to recruit a programmer and probably to even complete a mod. We needed to go to such lengths because we are doing a total conversion (meaning a ton of different files) and there are roughly 7 people working on assets.

    I hope I was able to answer your question.

  6. #6
    legacy-Messenger
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    I see what your getting too now. I figured that was what you meant. So, I need to simply create some very rough meshes for now so that the programmer knows what they are and where to put them I take it.

  7. #7
    Skaarj
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    Default

    Thanks for the advice... I have an idea for an MMORPG but it will be some time before I present this to a programmer...

  8. #8
    Iron Guard
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    Default Re: How to Recruit a Programmer

    Originally posted by JamesWalkoski
    1) Spell and grammar check your post. These kind of errors are easy to catch, but immediately discount you.
    Originally posted by JamesWalkoski
    .....temperary art that is named correctly.
    So I guess we should discount your post? lol!

    /me is evil
    -=sneak

  9. #9
    legacy-sneeoosh
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    Hey, can you update the beginning post of this thread, it seems that most of the reference links are broken.

    Thanks

  10. #10
    Skaarj
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    Default Re: Re: How to Recruit a Programmer

    Originally posted by sneaky_usb
    So I guess we should discount your post? lol!

    /me is evil
    -=sneak
    Haha, yeah I never spell checked this after copying it from a reply into a new thread. Fixed now.

    I have fixed the broken link to the flowchart, but the other material has been removed because the company it belongs to is in production of the game in question right now. I'll ask if they are still willing to have that publicly available.

  11. #11
    legacy-Messenger
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    I tried to do everythilng I could think of in my recent post to recruite a programmer. Can you please let me know what I did wrong? I provided, a discription of the project, a link to my website (that I handcoded), concept art, specifications on the team and what functions they perform includeing myself, and I said that I will provide, docuements, and complete models if someone takes interest and requests them. I also provided examples of my previouse work. I even pointed out a link to a demo that show what physics I am asking the programmer to create even though the demo is for a game engine. I also will provide charts and a two assistant programmers that will help the lead programmer and that are willing to teach the lead programmer anything he needs to know.; I am also willing to write up a special database if someone requests it. Any ideas on what I'm doing wrong?

  12. #12
    MSgt. Shooter Person
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    For one, your posting shows a distinct lack of visual structure; from a first look it's just a length of paragraphs. Some formatting might help.

    Also, you should fix the image links; clicking them yields a "Forbidden" message. It's also not too smart an idea to make it artificially complicated for potentially interested people to spot and use your email address. And a statement like "These pictures barely touch on what I have been developeing for this mod" makes a reader wonder why you don't post the stuff that really touches what you have been developing for this mod instead; you're advertising your idea after all.

    Lastly, even though the way you wrote that posting itself seems okay, that obviously doesn't guarantee that you'll find anyone who's actually interested in investing time into your mod idea.

    Keep in mind that you are not addressing a crowd of coders that are desperate to find employment in a mod team. Most people reading your posting are not actively looking for a mod team to join. They'll think very well before they show interest in joining anybody's team.

  13. #13
    legacy-MrPayne
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    I was wondering how that flow chart was created and where the program is that you made it with. I don't want to use illustrator cause if anything changes it would be such a pain to change everything else to accommodate. Thank you.

  14. #14
    legacy-[HJ]-RedRaven
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    Sound advice indeed. Good stuff.

    In general, programmers aren't really interested in visible assets... ie what a weapon or texture look like, or even how it works in-game - their task is to link everything together into a cohesive structure. Game.

    Programmers are like the 'glue', while all your assets/textures/models etc are the bricks your mod/game is made of.

    A few extra points to consider, for both programmers and designers: the format is a bit higgledy-piggledy, but you'll understand.

    Programmers are almost never recognised as being 'creative' in the same way that construction workers aren't either.This is wrong. All too often, game designers, and in the case of the construction worker, the building architects are considered the creative force behind a project. Ego comes into play and more often than not slows down the project's progress.
    Without the programmer's work, most game design simply isn't possible.

    Maturity. A good game designer isn't 12 years old with an idea scribbled down on the back of their high school math book.

    Designers need to be able to accept incoming information / assets on a daily basis without getting flustered, or holding up the other team members work. They need to be critical without being negative, understanding while remaining firm and accept responsibility for communication within the team.
    They need to disperse data quickly and to the team members that need it, while preventing information overload to those team members who really don't need to know that sniper rifle texture changed (again).

    Programmers of any worth are invariably bright people, often mature for their age, and generally they're looking for the same qualities in their boss, the lead programmer, or design lead for the project.
    If you don't have a lot of life experience, it'll be difficult, as there is often friction between team members, especially those who are waiting on a programmer to bring their precious idea to life.

    As for programmers having creative control over their work:

    Designers need to trust your potential programmer(s) - their creative input should be valued highly - since they often kinow what is technically possible and also what is economically (money or team members' time).
    Game designers need to be firm, however - solid, workable game ideas that are part of the main design shouldn't be changed - even if the programmer doesn't like that particular feature.
    Humans are built to have ideas - especially empowered, enthusiastic team members! Designers must expect feature-creep during the course of the project - and must welcome new ideas (even if they are rejected or postponed).

    Programmers also need to display maturity...you might be a gun with UnrealScript and C++, but if you can't get along with the other team members,

    Communication is vital to a programmer - designers and other team members must be able to explain exactly what effect they want. That way, there's less variability in the programmer's output.

    And here I disagree with James -
    - Spelling and grammar need only be perfect for the fianl product (or any publicly available release). So long as your communication skills are good, the medium or accuracy within a medium aren't important. Getting the idea across is all that is needed.

    Overall - the message is to WORK TOGETHER. Even if its your precious baby - you can't get there without the rest of the team.

    I see too many game design/leads caught up in thinking "Wow, I have this great team working for me! I totally rock!"...when it should be "My project has all these great people working for it...and I'm just one of them". Put your ego in the bottom drawer, and get on with the work.
    Even Derek Smart finally woke up to that. Well he hired some people anyway... :P

  15. #15
    Skaarj
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    And here I disagree with James -
    - Spelling and grammar need only be perfect for the fianl product (or any publicly available release). So long as your communication skills are good, the medium or accuracy within a medium aren't important. Getting the idea across is all that is needed.
    Professionalism, such as being able to spell properly, in a recruiting post is essential for myself and many people I know to even take a post seriously. Obviously, once you start working it becomes less important.

  16. #16
    Skaarj
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    i gota say wow. thats so true: "Rather, "Wow, that sounds like a lot of work". "

    the first thing i think of when coding is the amount of effort to produce something. and with placeholder art i can only say its like the thing youd use to hold something together while the glue sets. lastly as for coders not being creative, think about your cars engine. out of all the car owners out there how many of you actualy know how your engine works to the bolt? the thought that went into producing a cars engine is under the surface and something that isnt the first thing most people see. knowing this a coder needs a reason to put in the effort to something most people wont look at and only complain about if it fails.

    good post james btw cool game

  17. #17
    MSgt. Shooter Person
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    How about my Communist Aggression Recruitment one? I tried to follow your sugguestions but so far no posts. Am I just rushing things or maybe the mod idea isn't very interesting? Any and all help would be appricated, also where would I find a good skinner? I think I've got the coders covered now but Skinners... thats another story.

    Thanks in advance!

  18. #18
    MSgt. Shooter Person
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    it may not be very interesting to the people here, although they might also be busy (with other projects, such as myself). Dont think it's just not interesting tho.

    also, to get skinners you might wanna check out a photoshop forum or something. Programmers generally dont focus on graphics

  19. #19
    Skaarj
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    Very Useful and constructive post, here.

    Well this as close to truth as it can be. Recruiting coders for a mod
    is not much different as recruiting coders for some company: both need content to start working fast. It must be clear, simple, and effective. I don't think coders like to lose their time for misunderstandings. Also, I personnally think that you must give a chance to beginner to intermediate coders, as they "learn at war"

    I'm not saying to take a complete newb for lead coder, but include one or two in your team: making a mod is free, and you have all the time you want to finish it. New coders will take experience with your project, and at the end, not only you will
    feel proud for having completes a kick-*** mod, but you will feel proud for 'forming' new contributors as well. That applies to every
    category too.

    I honestly think that the goal of a community is exactly to help
    people who want to learn your steps.

    hmmm... err... well... ok I think that does it. I bid you all to forgive me for any syntax or grammatical errors you may have found, but i'm not so fluent in english.:cry:

  20. #20
    MSgt. Shooter Person
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    Yea, I agree with letting others "learn" with experiance. Our mod is now full with coders 2 are experienced and another 2 are learning what they can.

  21. #21
    Skaarj
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    Yeah I was just thinking about that reading this topic.

    Any newbie you bring into your team will learn alot about everything just by watching and asking a few questions witch are normaly simple.

    Another good advantage of this is they will feel loyal to you because you thought them so much.

    Unlike a pro programmer who knew everything already and was just doing what he was told.

    And they will also work better because of that.

    They will feel more relaxed in the team because they were never stressed to make anything big and that will help them work better(and faster) and enjoy what they are doing.

    Plus you would become freinds and doing things with freinds is much better then people you dont know

    I hope I brought some 14 year old wisdom to this topic.

  22. #22
    MSgt. Shooter Person
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    Wow thats alota stuff to read and im not even gonna bother. Fun Fact: not all people are the same.

  23. #23
    MSgt. Shooter Person
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    Last edited by legacy-STANGFRIIK; 11-05-2004 at 04:58 PM.

  24. #24
    MSgt. Shooter Person
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    Twinkies help too.

  25. #25
    Skaarj
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    the best way to recruit a programmer :
    download wotgreal
    bookmark unrealwiki
    make some copy/paste in woatgreal
    take a look at the result
    try to find why in the wiki
    do it again

  26. #26
    MSgt. Shooter Person
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    Originally posted by Messenger
    Do most programmers wish to have more influence or less?
    [/B]
    i like to have ALOT of input on the influence , but when the workload gets big, i like to be able to concentrate on coding.

  27. #27

    Default

    hi im new here

  28. #28
    MSgt. Shooter Person
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    how about how to recruit a programer that actually works, or for that matter a mod member that actually works.

    I'm often tempted to form a mod and rather than delete the sitters from the team list just keep them see how many i can collect, at the end of a certain time limit id move them to a separate list and count them, i rekon if you continually boosted the mod with content, that youd have to do yourself of course and with lots of advertising and pimping plus constant recruitment after release of any new material, i rekon you could get 100 time wasters over a 2 year period.

    You could have a separate list for a higher score of people that join mods get acepted then don't join, the number could be even higher in that chart, i myself had 11 in a 4 week period of recruitment, i rekon thats a good score, can you do better? of course this hobby does take time, one cannot just rush into without expending time, one must carefully craft ones recruitment, any errors and anything slightly amiss will be graciously pointed out to you by the gaurdians of higher light that patrol the forums, so one must be carefull not to incur their roth by a bad recruitment drive, so go into a good carier of mod sitter catching one must put good time and patience into the recruitment speil, also one must also be sure to have something to give for daring to ask for mod sitters, so always time these recruitments around the time of a release of media that you have made as a honey pot for prospective mod sitters, that way one can ensure maxium netting of the mod sitter and avoid most of the roth of the ever watchful gaurdians of higher light that will be ever watchfull of any slip of etiquette and servitude not shown to your audience of potential mod sitters.

    Happy hunting.

  29. #29
    MSgt. Shooter Person
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    That was a great read JamesWalkoski. I'm looking to creat an RPG TC for UT2004/7, it will help when I start looking for Programmer/coders...

    PS would offering to pay a coder for his work speed thinks along ???

  30. #30

    Default

    Hello,
    Me and me team (FTM) are making a game we need programmers and many smart people more. We need many information too its gona be. FPS 3D RPG
    Something like Unreal but then as a RPG FPS 3D

    Greetings Jeroen Beekman
    PS:jeroenbeekman93@hotmail.com

  31. #31

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeroen Beekman
    Hello,
    I didn't read the thread.
    Wormbo's UT/UT2004/UT3 mods | PlanetJailbreak | Unreal Wiki | Liandri Archives

    <@Mych|Lockdown> ...and the award for the most creative spelling of "Jailbreak" goes to ... "Gandis Jealbrake Server"
    Note that your questions via PMs will be ignored if they actually belong in the forum.

  32. #32
    Palace Guard

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    Whats with the legacy in front of people's names?

  33. #33

  34. #34

    Default

    I feel happier working with a programmer that I can meet and discuss the work face to face with if required. Just a personal preference.

    thanks......
    Last edited by pethichammer; 01-17-2011 at 06:37 AM.


 

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