We’re revisiting Portfolio Tips on how to best showcase game design and development skills, by Kevin Young (Creative Technology Director at WētāFX):
- Show off your many hats
It’s often said that people in game development have to wear many hats, ie, they have to take on multiple roles on a project and contribute across a range of different disciplines. For example, you may have been a Gameplay Programmer on one project and then coding VFX and shaders as a Technical Artist on another, so when describing yourself, don’t be afraid to show off those hats and assign yourself different labels according to what your role was on the job.
All this information is massively beneficial in potential employers' understanding the breadth of your skill set and visualizing how you can potentially fit into their current and upcoming projects.
- Make a showreel and share playable links and case studies whenever you can
One of the difficulties in showing off work in a portfolio is that the platform your portfolio is on may not be wholly appropriate for showing off your contribution. If you worked on some gameplay mechanics or some interactive generative art, then an image on a website isn’t going to give a full sense of your work.
A good showreel is a good place to start since videos are easily shareable and they convey a lot in a short time. Don’t presume people will watch to the end - make sure to lead with your best work. The ‘all killer no filler’ approach applies here, show clips that best show off your contributions and add some unobtrusive lower third titles that draw attention to what you did.
Videos and GIFs add life and do a lot more to communicate interactivity and flow but if links to your creations are available, make sure to include them. They show confidence in your work and give potential employers the opportunity to try out things such as gamefeel and performance that may not come across in a video.
Mini-case studies are also immensely useful since they give you an opportunity to show your approach and explain the creative and technical constraints set by the design or the target platform. Showing how you met the goals of the design within the parameters imposed by the target platform demonstrates highly sought-after skills in critical thinking and creative problem-solving.
- Does the love for what you do come across?
You can tell when someone is talking about something they're proud of or of something they love to do. Are there projects that you are passionate about in your portfolio? Additionally, having a section for personal projects and prototypes is a good way of showing off the kind of work you’re passionate about without the constraints of a client project.