When you think about creating something new, you spend most of your time thinking about what the end result will be. However, there's another part that needs just as much consideration; who is going to create it?
"Who?" is the question and one that I've spent a lot of brain cycles contemplating. What kind of person should I hire? What skills should they have? How do I define the job I want someone to fill? How do I find the best of the best?
Lets take a gander at my philosophy of: "What is a designer?" To me, a game designer is an artist of interactive entertainment. They are the people that continually look at the game and mold it into the art it becomes. The designers that I intend to hire must be more than just paper designers. A paper designer is a designer who only works in spreadsheets and word processors. Designers who spend all day in 'brain land' and hardly ever actually play or touch the game their working on. (Normally, you can spot these designers because they like to say "I'm an idea guy.") Like any artist in any other medium, I expect my designers to be able to know the tools of their trade. Michelangelo didn't write up a document on how to paint the Sistine Chapel and then wait for a contractor to do it. Steve Howe doesn't write a bunch of sheet music and hand if off to a guitar player to strum. Spielberg doesn't write up how he wants actors to act, how the camera should be angled and how the film should be edited then jet off on vacation, he's there working with the actors, the camera and in the editing room.
Artists use the tools of their trade.
Designers I work with must be able to do something more than write docs. They must know and understand the tools in front of them. Level designer must be able to fluently use the level editor and know how to write the scripts to make their levels work. Gameplay designers must be able to get into the code and make it work the way they want. Designers have to mold the game in their own hands to make it a masterpiece.
I need designers that can prototype their ideas and show them to me. It is far more effective to sit and play with an idea than to hear or read about it.
I need designers that are amazing at what they do and great at what they don't do.
I need designers, do I need you?