Any advice for indie devs looking to network a team to; get that two years of experience and a shipped game that most AAA companies require now?
Go to a game jam and practice working with a team and a tight schedule. Seriously, find one nearby and go do it. It’s that kind of environment that novice developers need to place themselves in because it’s similar to how professional development works. You have a set schedule to deliver something, you have to divide the workload up among people with different skillsets, you need to scope based on available resources, and you need to be sure of the team’s goal. These are the sorts of skills that hiring managers also look for in our candidates.
Don’t look at the “two years experience and one shipped game” as an absolute requirement. The reason that this exists is that most studios want candidates who have had to deal with the issues that often come up during development, because those same issues will probably come up again. They want to know that the candidate had to make decisions regarding gameplay in the past with regards to factors like technical limitations, scheduling, assets, and other requirements. They want to get meaningful answers when they ask about the stuff the candidate’s worked on and why decisions about the implementation were made. Most importantly, they want to know that the candidate can finish something they’ve started.
If you want your resume to get a second glance from recruiters, you need to show them that you can do the work. You can try wrangling a group of devs or doing things completely on your own, but you need to set a schedule, create a design document, and deliver the goods as best you can according to the schedule you set for yourself. You need to demonstrate that you have the qualities hiring managers are looking for - that you can make tough decisions, that you can choose efficient means of implementing features, that you’ve thought things through and can defend the choices you’ve made, and that you can finish what you start. Game jams are a great place to do this on a small scale, and you can build on the connections you make there to handle a larger scope project.
Here are some links to places you can find game jams:
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