Talent Versus Skill

What role in game development do I want to fulfil? A fair question when you want to work in the game industry. Do you need to be talented to work in the game industry? or do you have to master the right skill?

What role in game development do I want to fulfil? A fair question when you want to work in the game industry. For some this question is easily answered since they were already programming games in kindergarten. Some still have trouble finding the right path. There are two things you need to keep in mind. Do you need to be talented to work in the game industry? or do you have to master the right skill?




Everyone Has A Talent

Although some of you would think you don't have an explicit talent, I believe everyone has something that's exceptionally great compared to others. Maybe it’s not developed enough, or you never noticed anything about it yet, but something in your life should go way easier than others.



If you want to succeed at a job, or want to exceed in a skill, I think it’s best to find out connections with your talents and heavily develop them through practice.




Skill Comes With Practice

In game development you are able to choose from a versatile set of skills you want to acquire. 


- Games need design; 
game designers come-up with mechanics and rules.

- Designs need to work; 
programmers tell 'code' specifically what to do. 

- Prototypes need to look good;

artists can create beautiful and lovable worlds.

- Beautiful games need beautiful sounds; 
audio engineers make the art feel alive.

- Games need to be finished; 
game producers guard progress and deliver on deadlines.


I think the positions mentioned above are just the basic principles of a development team. Some people combine them, or are a derivative of combinations; for example a 'technical artist' knows its way around code and has a great feel for artistic direction, this results in someone who works with shaders & particle effects.


In my opinion all these skills are up for grabs. All of them can be mastered if you put in enough timedetermination and discipline.


A more important question is; do they suit well with your talents? To achieve success and feel happy about your job, I strongly believe you need to choose something you love and combine your talent to a certain skill within that spectrum. For some their talent has a lot to do with their chosen skill and profession. For some it’s harder to see this connection.


For example: If you have a crazy talent for mathematics you would probably do well in coding, because math and coding are all about logic. What if you have a great talent to 'work with people'? A game producer could be a great fit, because you are a great listener. Although in this case you’d also need to be a great planner, a connection perhaps more difficultly made. 


Let me take myself as 
an example. 

I wasn't born with an unusually great talent for mathematics or a strong will to find out how systems worked. I have a small talent in drawing, although not enough to become a diverse and useful artist. I love games, so I have some awesome ideas for games (who doesn't?). However, I am not outstandingly 'great' in designing them, so a famous game designer role wouldn't be my cup of tea either. Still I was determined to enter the game-industry somehow. When I was 22 (late bloomer), I decided to study game development and try to find my way into the game industry.

I was very very ambitious and highly motivated, so in the first two years of study I couldn't yet distinguish what worked out best for me because everything went great. However when I finished my third year of study neatly in time, I started to analyze myself. 


I quickly noticed something odd. All my team projects (counting up to 8 that time already) went exceptionally well. Was this because I was such a great programmer? No, that was something I had most difficulty with. Maybe this was because I became such a great designer? No, I usually discussed everything with a lot of other team members. Or did it had anything to do with my leadership within all these teams? At first I didn't believe all my projects went great because of me (that sounds so selfish). Maybe I was just lucky with my teams 8 times in a row. So I decided to do a project again, this time in a foreign country (Ireland) with people I didn't know so well. Again, the project went prosperous. After my 9th successful project I concluded it had a lot to do with my talent for leading and motivating teams.

Interesting fact: When I was the age of 13 I was part of the Soldier of Fortune 2 online community at the former clan ranking website I was destined to reach the number one spot in the most popular ranking ladder 'capture the flag 5 on 5'. Years followed where I picked up great players forming an outstanding team and eventually four years later we became the new number 1 in the international ladder (around 600 clans competing).

So we can conclude the actual fundamentals of leading teams were already made 10 years before I discovered I had a talent for this. 
My dad, however, had always told me I would end-up as a team lead when I was younger.

Currently I am happily leading projects within my own independent game studio KeokeN Interactive.




So Connect Talent To A Skill And You’re Good To Go?
, not entirely Having talent for something means you don't have to put as much effort in something specific compared to others. Acquiring a new skill while using your talent is only obtained by many hours of hard work, practice and failing. Some people are very fast at discovering their talents, for some it takes a while (me), for some it could take a lifetime, and some will never discover it, mainly because they don't believe in it.

All you have to do is find out what you love to do most, act on it by acquiring skills, discover your talent and how it helps you with your skill. Eventually you will notice the result in being successful in what you love to do most.

What do you think about talents and skills? Is there a difference? Does talent actually exist?



Find Me On:

Twitter: @KoenDeetman
Facebook: Koen.Deetman

Company: KeokeNInteractive

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