A test is very often included in the selection processes for game designers. For junior profiles, without many portfolios, I find this an interesting thing. For the more senior, it is a difficult filter to check. I don’t know if I’m against or for it, honestly.
There are things good and bad in tests
In my opinion, a plus point is that they can reveal the writing skills of a game designer. It’s a key point, especially in these times when work is at least partly remote. It’s important to know how designers express themselves and how much they can be engaging with their writing.
A test also shows the reasoning ability of the designer. The problem is that it is difficult to read the reasons behind certain thoughts with the written medium. Without offering the designers the opportunity to defend their work, we will probably tend to prefer someone who thinks like us.
One thing that has always annoyed me is that there is a lot of work before the test which very often is not considered. You send me a competitor’s game and tell me that I can propose a feature and that I have a week to do it. If I’ve never played this game, studying it well will take me about a week off if I have to work simultaneously. All unpaid work, will not be used by the company. Wasted time for everyone.
But then how to do it?
Avoiding the test completely seems to be a dream. Some companies are gradually replacing it with other practices, though. If it were up to me, I would do the following:
- Congratulations, you working with us on this project! It’s been 3 years, write a letter to your manager explaining everything you have achieved. You need to imagine yourself in this position 3 years from now. Explain in detail the steps that led you to your dream result.
- Play game X, try to break it down, and think about what could be improved and for which KPI. Tell us when you’re ready and come to the office to discuss it with your future manager.
Maybe I’m a dreamer and this is not a process for all types of companies. But I am convinced that:
- You can get higher-quality information this way
- The traditional way is really difficult to evaluate because it depends a lot on who reads the test.
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