View Full Version : The Portfolio Predicament
Hey everyone, I'm looking for some opinions.
As it is right now, I'm currently helping out with a Half-Life 2 mod. I've signed an NDA with the team and because of this I cannot post any of the work I do on my portfolio, or post my work here for some C&C lovin'. Because I am with this it's taken away from the time I could be spending on the models and skins I'd like to be working on for my portfolio. Not to mention I'm currently working on weapon models & skins and I'd much rather be focusing my portfolio towards environmental work. (The mod team did say I'd be doing environ. stuff once the opportunity comes up.)
My predicament I'm in is I think I need to choose between either continuing work on the mod, which will look good on my resume. Or do I stop that and work on models I think my portfolio could benefit from - and models/skins I could show immediately?
"Why not just do both?", you might be asking. Well thats what I have been doing lately and would like to devote my time to one specific thing My projects are getting done at a rate slower than I'd like.
I'm leaning towards quitting the mod team to do my own thing but I'm note entirely sure what would be more beneficial. I'd like the opinions/comments of others to see what everyone thinks.
11-24-2004, 03:59 PM
mods are basically our generation's equivalent of garage bands. yes, they're good experience, but only 1 in a 100 ever actually ends up being something worthwhile. And similarly, being in a garage band in high school might look decent 'on the resume' as it were, but chances are sitting at home really working hard on your instrument of choice might prove more beneficial once you finally get in with a 'real' band (real job with company).
so in other words, stick with the mod so long as you're getting good work done and it benefits your future--cause more than likely the mod itself will not have a future of its own. this is not a dig against the mod or the people involved in it, just statistical reality. so do whatever works out for you best, be that being in the mod or working on your own stuff.
also, an NDA for a mod is pretty dopey. but whatever makes them feel big and important /images/graemlins/smile.gif
11-24-2004, 04:06 PM
As one guy who looks at resumes, it doesn't impress me that someone's worked on a mod. I'm impressed if he's produced some cool work while working on it, though. I recommend you judge whether you stay with it on that basis. Unless a mod gets finished and happens to be popular with the person reviewing your resume, just having your name on it is close to irrelevant.
I got a lot more done on my portfolio after I stopped bothering with mods and focused on my own stuff 100% of the time. The fewer loose ends (i.e. other people) you have to rely on, the better.
gauss/Malekyth: Very good points guys. It's these points-of-view I was looking for. I was thinking the mod would look good on a resume not for its name but because it might say, "Hey, Adam can work with a team. Good." But I like what Mal said about focusing on his stuff 100% of the time and having few loose ends. As for the NDA, there's reasons. *shrug*
11-24-2004, 04:45 PM
Do your own stuff.. you can pick and choose and put 100% effort in to that work, whatever you are doing on a mod will always have influences from other people and they might want/apprecaite styles that you dont enjoy as much.
If you enjoy what you are creating you'll put alot more effort and enthusiasm into it and that will come through in your overall quality.
11-24-2004, 05:22 PM
Yeah, I say screw mods...unless they are your own.
Like Syndicate Reborn, Huzzah! ...ahem.
Or unless you can get your work into Joust 3D, which is a full fledged game, its just being done for free. :P
11-24-2004, 06:08 PM
I always treated Mods as a great way of getting and staying motivated to do some work. The deadlines, the team, all that, sometimes helps you pump out some great work.
That being said, If your not doing stuff that is going to be great in your portfolio, then you should probably focus on your own work. Seeing portfolios and resumes come through the office, mod work is rarely noticed, unless it is a) a high profile mod. or b) a mod that uses the same engine as our company.
Then again, I was working on Deathball for UT2003, when I got my job;) but my work there never came up at any point of my interview or checking out my portfolio.
Portfolio first, Mod second, if you can kill 2 birds with one stone, go for it. My 2 cents
11-24-2004, 06:14 PM
I don't see the point of working on a mod if you can't use the stuff for your portfolio, or if it's not really what you want to do. Like Guass said, it's most likely never going to see the light of day, so when (if) it does eventually die the slow, quiet death of most mods, what will you have to show for it?
I think most of us here have worked on mods at one time or another, and they're definitely good for getting a feel for working with a team, but you should be getting some portfolio work out of it too.
11-24-2004, 06:33 PM
Unless you are getting paid for the Mod, work on your portfolio. For an artists it's more important to SEE what you do, then know where you have been.
11-24-2004, 07:37 PM
I can't believe you signed an NDA for a mod! (snort) =D
That's a good sign those guys take themselves way too seriously.
Ditto what mal says. Dump the mods and do your own thang.
11-24-2004, 08:33 PM
Do your own stuff. Keep focussing on environment art assets, push the polycount up to hi poly and normal map it onto lower polycounts as is becoming an industry staple now in the fps genre.
Make a set of assets all within the same theme.
I keep reiterating this to people who ask for advice and noone has listened yet. Which is a shame, because seeing a portfolio with a set of assets in the same theme is what will impress an employer more thana bunch of unrelated assets which demonstrate an inability to settle on a theme such is required when you work on a project for 2-3 years in the same theme for a living.
The mystery of mod participation sometimes being helpful to gaining employment is simply explained.
Working on a mod demonstrates an ability to work with others and stick to a theme while producing assets other than characters.
Mod's tend to teach people to follow my advice here of working in one theme for the creation of a variety of assets.
The better you are able to do this, the better yardstick you will have for your progress and ability to do a fulltime job.
In the game industry, someone concepts a character, then their gun, their alternate clothing, backpacks and attachments for specific gameplay requirements that may arise, a vehicle they may travel in and so on.
When trying out for a job where you essentially have to articulate a whole world, it is best to focus on demonstrating that ability in your resume rather than simply working on unrelated 'wow' pieces.
Lots of companies respect seeing an artist submit a resume that also includes a small sampling of vegetation. Vegetation is always required in a game, someone has to do it, few people look forward to doing vegetation as much as they look forward to doing characters.
If you have vegetation in your resume, an artist might think 'hey, if this guy is willing to do vegetation, i will have more time to do characters'.
The vegetation story is an example of how you might better approach the portfolio problem by thinking things through yourself and setting goals rather than trusting in a team of people you have never met, having though things through better than you have.
A good way to think of the situation is that, you are a young guy with a certain amount of talent and a fair amount of potential like a bunch of other guys out there.
What sets you apart from them? IF you make your defining theme in your resume, an understanding of the need and importance of all the background assets importance in creating a realistic world, you will make a good impression.
It does not mean you want to do stuff like small background assets for the rest of your career, as you put your time in you will naturally move up in the scheme of things and some other junior artist will get hired and do that stuff.
I got my first job through my willingness and interest in all the aspects of game creation, it certainly wasn't due to my incredible skill in anything.
Plus, Evironment artists are a dying breed. Look on all the boards similar to this, how many of them are environment artists?
Good luck whatever you choose.
11-24-2004, 09:12 PM
A halflife2 mod with an NDA? I know people have posted this before me but that is completely ridiculous, they are taking themselves way to seriously and obviously focusing more on the idea of them being professionals than actually creating a fun mod.
I miss the days of Quake1 where a coder would just mess around with the quake1 content and quake code and create a fun simple mod. Not focusing on assembling a giant team and creating as much content as the game they are based on, they should focus on innovation.
Yah, I've made up my mind. Thanks everyone. Especially Rorshach.
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obviously focusing more on the idea of them being professionals than actually creating a fun mod
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