A lot of teams and projects are looking for artists, level designers, audio people, underlings and programmers. A great many of them are looking for collaborators who will work for free, for equity or for share of profit. Is it worth your time to join one? Will it give you useful experience, will it make your resume look better? How does one go about choosing a team or a project?
Here are a few questions you should ask anyone who wants you to get onboard their project (this list is in no way comprehensive.)
What is the scope of the project? As I mentionned in the post 10 tips to attract team members , scope is perhaps the single most important part of building a game and a team. If a team wants to make a game with wildy extravagant scope and their only experience is open beta testing on a match-3 game, what are the odds their game will ever be finished? It’s much better for your experience and portfolio to work on small projects that get finished than on grandiose flops.
What is the aim of the project? While the scope of the project needs to be realistic, it’s aim needs to be as well. With a realistic aim, the team is less likely to get discouraged and drop the project and fights are less likely to erupt about the game failing to reach some teammates’ lofty goals. Let’s make a puzzle game and get rich! is a recipe for disaster, for often, someone will get blamed for the game not being as successful as desired. Will the game be released commercially or is it just a portfolio piece? Are the means proportionate to the aim? Always be clear on the aim of a project before getting started and choose projects that have a realistic aim.
How big is the “team? The bigger the team, the more chances it will fall appart, smaller teams are easier to coordinate. The thing is, more than the size of the team by itself, you have to make sure that it’s the right size relatively to the scope of the game and the experience of the teammates. Also, sometimes, someone with no or little skill will try to assemble a team to accomplish their vision. Apparently, these individuals think that just having ideas is extraordinary enough to warrant an army of skilled individuals at their beck anc call. Don’t be fooled and choose a team where everyone is pulling their weight.