Some Advice on Portfolios

Hey there,

if you happened to stumble upon this Website because you were looking for some advice about making a portfolio to apply as a game developer then I think this could be helpful advice.

I’ve spent the last couple of months working on my portfolio and since I am a self-taught developer, I obviously never had anyone to mentor me or show me how I should do certain things, that’s why I started googling myself to get some insight on how to set up a portfolio myself.
I found a few articles on this matter and to be frankly most of them told me completely opposite things. One said that you should be aware of the job you are applying for (programmer) – so don’t spend any time on game art at all – you don’t have to make it pretty because potential employers will only care for the code, which makes sense… Then I read the next article that said, of course, you are applying as a programmer – but no one will spend more than 10 seconds looking at your demo if it causes eye-cancer.

Another article said to do only a few pieces and don’t crowd your portfolio and yet another said to do as many pieces as possible to show of variety. Then, the next one said to focus on tech demos because ain’t no employer got time to test out your games and then the one after that said that not having complete games will make you look like a person that can’t finish a project.

The list goes on and on. Obviously you get very frustrated, so you start just looking at other peoples portfolios and try to see what they did – but that makes you fucking depressed because everything gets described so fancy that you feel like everything you have done so far is total bullcrap and that people will laugh at you if you ever dare to apply with it.

Clearly, I don’t have a lot of insight to the gaming industry and even less about their hiring process but what I gathered from all of this is that different companies have different expectations. What I did here is I collected a bunch of pieces that I felt could show off that I can do a wide array of things and instead of having finished titles I’ll just make tech demos and have, if possible, demo’s and mini games to demonstrate how everything works. I can’t tell you if this is the ultimate way, but It makes sense to me.
But what is really important to me is that you don’t get frustrated and delete everything you have done so far, even if it’s not perfect – it might demonstrate how you grew. Try to hold your chin up even if it seems like you are stuck. I mean, I build this up and just a few months ago I sat like 2 meters away from here on my couch and cried my eyes out because I thought I was a failure and everyone else was way better than me.

Have faith in yourself and your work!