Hi all, How do you find work for game audio? Any tips appreciated!
Contract work or In-house work?
For contract work:
The game industry is smaller than the film industry, in terms of people. And the indie side of the game industry is WAY smaller than the indie side of the film industry. So the "it's not what you know, it's who you know" mantra applies even more. The only way to get enough contract work to run a business on is to get to know people. Go to GDC, Indiecade, IGDA meetings, Game Jams, anywhere where industry hangs out. It takes a long time. I started focusing hardcore on the game scene almost two years ago, and I'm only now at the point where I'm known/trusted enough to get routinely hired on interesting projects.
There's a great article that's just been put up on Designing Sound by Rodney Gates. Here's the link:
Apart from all the tips mentioned above, let's not forget a very obvious one: be a gamer! You need to know your industry. So one aspect of that is knowing what's out there in terms of the games. Play as many as you can, old/new/interesting/boring/etcetcetc - although trying to finish them all is probably not the best idea in terms of time management...
Networking with sound designers is a necessary step. It gives you an opportunity to learn much more about the industry, it gives you some free experience, and you make good friends.
Don't only speak with the sound people. Go out and meet the game designers themselves. My current work was the result of attending the "Boston Unity Group" meetings. I wasn't expecting to find other sound designers there. The hope was to meet developers who hadn't yet tackled the sound side of their projects. That way, I was going straight to the source, and it worked. Find meetings of developers and programmers in your area and start attending. Let the word spread through the group that you are a sound designer, and I am sure that soon enough someone will approach you about helping them with their sound.
Another thing that helps on the Indie side is knowing how to program. The game designers that I have met say they appreciate it when a sound designer can do more than hand them a .wav file.
I wrote a blog post on that exact topic. It's an in depth look at breaking in based on my experiences and many others that gave me tips along the way. Here is a link. Please comment on the blog if you found it helpful. It's nice to hear that the posts are making a difference :)