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You Don't Need A Games Consultant
by Christian McCrea on 01/26/11 09:46:00 am   Expert Blogs   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

You really don't. They're not going to help you position your slightly wacky but gosh-darn-it-I-believe-in-it idea for the right market. They're not going to help you find the "narrative" in your product - mostly because you don't have a product most of the time. They're not going to help you connect to your "audience" or find how to "engage" anything, because it suits them to muddy what these words mean. 

You're interested in "the games space" because you have a peripheral understanding that grows all the time that games are becoming a dominant form of art, or media, or culture - or however else you parse the non-violent bits of human civilisation. Maybe you're from another media industry. Maybe you're from computer science. Maybe you're from the academy. Maybe you see yourself as someone on the edge of all these things and games are part of some yet-undefined media enterprise. It doesn't matter where you're from. You don't need a games consultant. 

I'll give you a few reasons:

1. You Shouldn't Be Involved in Games. Get Out. 

Do you care about games? Yes? Then you can stay. However, if you're thinking of developing a project out of some misguided confusion that games represent the future of media, then have a big cup of coffee and get off the blogs for a day and have a look at how people actually use media. What you probably want to make is a website with some interactive elements that could be considered playful. If you can't do that yourself, you are going to need people who are more expensive than you to make it. If you still think you really want to make a game, then I'm afraid I have bad news.

2. Games Are Hard To Make.

Harder than you think, and harder than any consultant will tell you. Much, much harder. Chances are, if you're thinking about making something, you shouldn't. This is true of any media, but especially games. Games of any quality will require a lot of your money to even plan out, let alone create. If you insist on doing it, then don't trick yourself into thinking its "just hard the first time" or that "its a new space" (it really, really, really, really isn't). You're just not very good at it. EIther pony up the cash for experienced games people to develop it, or stop. 

3. "Social" Games Are Code For "Very Awful" Games.

Consultants love to talk about "social" games. This is because they have no idea about normal games, and the more social and casual stuff is more their speed. There's also an entire blogger-consultant class devoted to analysing the quick success stories of these companies. Because games consultants rarely have any experience making games, they will happily point you in the direction of "social" games which have a much lower technical bar (actually, they don't). 

4. The Concept of a Games Consultant Has An Inherent and Palpable Tragic Element

Really.

5. Consultancy Culture Perverts Language

People who are long-term or experienced consultants were likely trained in absurd techniques such as Neuro-Linguistic Programming in order to help them carve out their language for the purpose of controlling what you think of them, and more importantly, what they do. This is a survival instinct of the consultant. But when technology is involved, the language perversion reaches new heights. Many consultants come from marketing backgrounds, and so they are doubly ill-equipped. 

Classically, the process goes like this: invent a new system of meaning around terms that seem significant. Repeat these key terms and make sure you're the one that's repeating them - as other people use them, be there to put your stamp of authenticity on it. They will tell you its because their ideas are their income. This is also a survival strategy. 

Example:

The future of film isn't film at all, but games. What film audiences look for these days is a kind of "gamesinema" where they can feel like they are in control of the narrative and that there's always a sense of satisfying action.

You'll notice that while sounding very reasonable, this sentence has no discernable content and once examined, is actually nonsense. Unsupportable statements, suppositions and under-researched bon mots are the best ways to bamboozle people into nodding sagely and paying for the privilege. 

6. There's A Huge Scam Consultancy Culture

Across many industries. A massive, massive scam culture in which an incredible amount of people believe they have the wisdom and intellect and drive to veer off and become freelancers and get paid a premium to give you a Powerpoint about what you do. This perverts the worth of things. Many of these people shouldn't veer off at all. They should merely veer away. Their coin is superstition. Your belief in their worth sustains them like oxygen. 

If you've worked an office job in the past 20 years, you've known what consultants do to business environments. Nine times out of ten, turn them into infantalising nightmares. Don't fall into the fallacy that this one, this next one, seems really great and on the ball. There is no ball for them to be on. You are inviting disaster into your home / project / concept. 

Proposition: there are a lot of games consultants. You can dispute this if you like, but comparative to the number of people making games of any kind, I would argue its massive. 

If the proposition is true, there's a few possible reasons. Maybe games are a complex art and there's lots of people required at the managerial level sometimes? Sure, that's acceptable - perhaps. Maybe there's a need for people who understand the business from an outside perspective? Hm, if you insist. Its also very possible there's fresh meat in the form of confused people looking for easy answers, and the scavengers and grifters of the world have descended upon them. 

Did your consultant work in 'web' before 'games'? Ask them what they did before that. 

Conclusion

Some consultants working in games might be ex-industry people. Great. Keep in mind some of them might have been awful at their jobs, which is why they are coming to you cap in hand. 

But you don't need a consultant. You need to ask yourself why you think you need one. Most the answers to that question will resolve with you realising you don't. 

You don't need a games consultant. 


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Comments


Mark Venturelli
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*snif* you are my hero

Jean-Michel Vilain
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I get your point but you should mention "don't pay for a game consultant unless he's been involved in a long list of good games and is well recognized". I think most of the consultants are not worth the money but some of them are.

Anyway, in France/Western Europe, the part of the industry where I have the chance to work, there are very very few studios paying for consultants. Is it really different in Canada/USA?

Tim Carter
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Hmmm...

Nicholas Lovell
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Hello Christian,



I wonder if you have had a bad experience with consultants. Reading your article, it seems to me that you have a very narrow definition of games and a very narrow definition of consultants.



Firstly, on games. There are AAA games on consoles. There are PSN/XBLA games that self-published and perhaps self-financed. There are mobile games that are paid for and mobile games that are free with in-app payments. There are games on Facebook that are generally asynchronous, low barriers to entry and funded by microtransactions. There are games that are made for brands with the sole purpose of engaging users and there are "gamification" techniques, perhaps more accurately "pointsification" techniques which don't, whatever the proponents say, turn dull chores into games, but use many of the psychological techniques known by sales people, game designers and the media to encourage people to feel rewarded for doing what they want.



Then there are freelancers, contractors, marketing experts, revenue experts, business model experts, capital raising experts and people who understand what investors want from companies. All of these can come under the title "consultant".



No game designer/developer can be an expert in all of these areas. In fact, the whole of human civilization is predicated on the idea that we gain expertise which we can barter or sell to others, otherwise we would all still be subsistence farmers.



I do not tell people how to make games. I work with people who know how to make games to use their skill and expertise to acquire more users, to retain them through good gameplay design and to make money from them.



If you believe that you have all the skills to do all of it, good luck to you. You don't need me or any other consultant. However, if you are making great games on the web, on PSN, on the AppStore or on Facebook but they are not making you enough money to keep going, maybe a consultant would be useful.



But if you don't want to work with consultants, no hard feelings from me.

Sean Farrell
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You don't need a consultant, you need a teacher or mentor. If you want to go into a field that you don't know, getting a person to tell you what to do is the wrong thing. You need to learn the ins and outs. True you can get someone to show you, but in the end you have to learn and understand it yourself.



I am not saying you should not delegate tasks to others. I especially delegate Tax and Accounting to others. But the main thing is no matter what I delegate, be it sound, art, programming or accounting I inform myself and learn the basics. Why? So I can check on the quality of the tasks I delegate.



The big problem with consultants is that they use the lack of knowledge of the client. They might know more that the client, but seldom are they domain experts. Because if they where they would make tons of money in that domain. That is a reason why Sid Mayer is not giving out free advice. (Or payed advice for that matter.) My experience is that consultants are seldom up to par to what they claim.

Nicholas Lovell
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That's a wild generalisation. You may have had a bad experiences with consultants. I aim to give my clients frameworks within which to work. They get new ways of thinking about games, gamers and business models, which they can then apply to their own game design experience.



And I only partially agree with you. Some people prefer the flexibility and challenge of teaching/mentoring/consulting on dozens of products. I am one of them.

Tim Carter
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I agree.

Christian McCrea
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Nicholas,



Thanks for the detailed refresher on both games and consultants. You've laid out a case as to why consultants exist, which is fine. But I'm not saying consultants don't or shouldn't exist. So let me expand on what I'm saying, which isn't that all consultants are frauds.



One of the reasons I have begun to talk about this is that I am more than familiar with these divisions amongst the consultancy class. But it is a class. There are very many more games consultants than there need to be, and a lot more consultancy than there needs to be. I've seen games consultants, as I'm sure you have, that have added only weak and trendy notions of what might help keep a business afloat.



At the small end, bad consultants have driven companies to adopt trendy methods at the cost of their games, and at the cost of their product. They've taken concepts and ground them into paste, pouring scorn on innovation and using assumptions brought from other fields so that a struggling games company ends up making products more conservative than the top end of the business.



At the top end, consultants have taken franchises into unprofitable dead-ends, made character designs offensive and sexist, torn away interesting mechanics and driven profits into the gutter.



Obviously I am not talking about freelancers or specific task delegation like tax etc in Sean's example. I'm talking about people who think design and business are always interoperable.



Most of all, my problem is that there's so very very very many of these people. Much more than the industry actually needs to raise expertise in this area. If this is true, many of them are frauds, and that's worth talking about.



Its worth shouting about.

Jacob Pederson
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I think that any sufficiently abstract profession has a certain percentage of plain ole scam artists. Heck, in my first restaurant managerial position, we had a GM who new a whole lot about how to look like he knew something, and not much at all about anything else. He ended up walking off with a big chunk of our money while nobody was looking. You learn to recognise the type after a while :)

Dragos Inoan
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In game development the areas most prone to this type of people are creative directors, game designers and producers as they all have to fail repeatedly in order for higher-ups to notice (as long as they're not too blatant) :)

David Hottal
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I think just like anything, there are good consultants and bad consultants.



In my experience (not in the games industry), consultants aren't worth the expense. They come in and tell you how easy things are, and they hang around until the project fails or until you run out of money.



I never see consultants complete there work.



I do have one exception, a particular consultant was excellent. He came in and worked as if he was part of the company, not someone sitting on their high horse telling everyone what they're doing wrong.

Christian McCrea
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David, I think your experience is perfectly exemplary. Most of them are frauds and there's a few excellent people out there who add value.

Ronildson Palermo
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My idea of a consultant is pretty clear: they are people with experience who would rather work on improving people's performance than working on projects of their own.



Nothing wrong there.



But my idea of why you need a consultant is also pretty clear: You need a consultant when you don't know what you're doing. If you can learn from your mistakes, if you can read graphs, you don't need consultants.

Robert Anderson
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Anytime we generalize something we are likely to offend at least one person. Not me mind you.

Being a consultant myself (project management for film/TV, animation and games) my focus is on making sure there is a solid transfer of knowledge. I'm not there to do the job for you. I'm there to help you learn how to do your job better.

In my experience a consultant tends to be brought in after the s**t has hit the fan. When the studio feels they are running into major trouble and need help. Of course this is a more specific role that I am talking about as I am not hired to make creative decisions on your game mor tell you what I think makes a good game. That is a risk you have to take yourself in my opinion. Only on how to get it done without going broke.

At least that has been my experience.

I have run into folks that do take advantage of being a consultant. They take the cash and give little real value back. karma tends to get them in the end.

Let's face it too, consultants can sometimes be called freelancers as well and are only brought in for a short time and comparatively little cash. Cheaper for the big studios to hire a temp person than go through the exercise of making them staff.

Personally I like doing the temp thing as opposed to being a full time staffer at X. Makes me feel a bit like Nanny McFee. When you need me you don't want me. When you want me you no longer need me.

It also gives me a chance to decompress from each contract as they tend to be stressful and full of anger. :)

Robert Anderson
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I have actually. Nothing AAA mind you but I have worked on quite a few smaller ones. I wasn't trying to justify my status at all. Simply trying to point out that blanket statements of any kind tend to fall apart on closer examination.

Kyle Orland
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I think David's comment is important to keep in mind here: "I think just like anything, there are good consultants and bad consultants."



Let's try to keep the discussion respectful and avoid either painting all consultants with the same negative brush, or attacking specific consultants with no specific evidence.

Christian McCrea
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Thank you, Kyle - yes I'd prefer things to be respectful too.



My point isn't that all game consultants are awful vampires, merely that the tidal wave of consultancy that absorbs so much of the games conversation is awful and vampiric. I think it needs a bit of confrontation.

Sebastian Bolinger
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i like how slade here has made more statements here then anyone else.

Lincoln Li
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Lol, I actually got to this site from a link of one of Slade's other highly vocal commentaries, and was thinking the exact same thing when I hit your post :P.



I also find it humorous that he stopped posting stuff after you wrote that too :3.

Don Moar
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I agree that hiring consultants to "re-synergize your paradigms" may not be that wise. However, I don't see any problem using a consultant or contractor to help address *specific* problems which your organization may lack the necessary knowledge and / or experience to deal with and for which you do not want to hire a full-time, permanent employee. The trick is to identify the problem you need fixed before you go looking for the consultant, make sure that the consultant you hire actually has the necessary knowledge and / or experience, and verify that the consultant's work fixes your problem.

Don Moar
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Christian,



Your post at 4:05pm makes a lot of claims about there being more consultants than necessary. Do you have any numbers? How many game consultants are there? How many are really required?



You also claim that consultants have negatively impacted many game companies and franchises. Can you cite any specific examples?



While I don't disagree with the idea that there are bad game consultants, just like there are bad consultants in every field / industry, I'm concerned that your article may be raising the alarm even though we don't know the exact nature of the problem.

Christian McCrea
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Don,



You are making very reasonable points, but I should say in case you can't tell, I'm not beginning from reason.



Of course skilled contractors who were brought in to fix a game or to do specific tasks, or to outsource art, marketing, optimisation are very different from the type of people I'm talking about. If you are any of the above, you are not a Games Consultant, you are a consultant within the games industry. I worded it as such to make that distinction - Games Consultants are people often speaking to the fringes of games, to media organisations and so on, as much as the industry proper. Often, their analysis of industry is divorced from the language and understanding within industry. Obviously someone who works in a company and then freelances is a different beast.



I reserve my attacks for those who prey on games entrepreneurs with timid analysis and powerpoint presentations gleaned from the latest round of TED talks. This may very well be a bigger problem where I am, and in my limited experience. Also because I've been approached to be that consultant who can help with a business analysis, which I have no right to give. However, since putting up this blog post not a full day ago, I've received thirteen unsolicited emails with stories of consultancy gone wrong, only two of them from people I know.



I think that you say there are bad consultants in every field is precisely the point: the very simple message of my blog post here is that people should be very careful about who they hire and for what.



You have considerably more experience than I in the industry, so if your experience is overwhelmingly positive, then I take that on board.

Don Moar
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Christian,



Thanks for the clarification. I have no direct experience with the kinds of consultants you describe. Perhaps being in Edmonton isolated us from them. What have been your direct experiences?



I agree that you have to be careful whom you hire and for what (as I said in my previous post). I think your message was getting lost (at least on me and a few other people) by appearing to blanket *everyone* who uses the term "game consultant" vs. "consultant in the game industry" as some kind of con-artist.



As you (and everyone in the business knows) making games is a complex and risky venture and I think there are many reasons when they fail. When a project does fail, it is natural to blame the outsider, but as Robert Anderson pointed out many consultants are brought in when a project is already in trouble. Thus, it is to be expected that some of those projects may be unrecoverable by the time the consultant arrives despite the consultant's best and honest efforts. This is why data is important.



The 13 unsolicited emails you received from people with negative experiences with consultants is noteworthy, but it would be even more so if we knew how they were distributed according to projects, organizations, regions, genres, and time frames as well as what the consultants were hired to do. I know you only received the emails after your article was written, but that's the kind of information that would have been really interesting.



Anyway, thank you for the article.

Christian McCrea
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Don,



Just to answer your questions: the bulk of the consultancy were business-model consultancy - three of the same consultant coming in to deliver design advice at the pre-production phase in order to determine the product's capability-to-market. All these of those projects, for whatever reason, were market failures. Several of the others were from American developers describing consultancy being done between projects to help re-organise the company, some of these reorganisations were unwelcome and unhelpful. The truly awful consultancy stories refer to project as they are failing, and consultants are brought in to mollify and assuage the failing management method, to reinforce opinions already held.



I'm sorry some took personal offense, but I don't feel any of my rhetoric was overblown - I think design and business consultancy has a huge impact on games, and I think this piece will be the first of many on the topic.



Thanks.

Kassim Adewale
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At Scientificninja somebody once wrote an article on the idea that you don’t need a game engine, you can find the article here: http://scientificninja.com/blog/write-games-not-engines



The writer went further to define game engine and distinguished where it can be applied. I completely agreed with him because my game Elewenjewe does not use any game engine.



Game industry is big, and like any other industry it has freelancers that called themselves consultants, for example a game project using Maya may need a consultant that specialized in Maya scripting. These freelancers will fight you to death with your article, (just like I got angry when I saw an article (http://dannorth.net/2011/01/11/programming-is-not-a-craft/) that says programming is not a craft and the writer used a software created by programmers to type the article) because they will assume you are encouraging total boycott of their trade contribution within the entire game industry. That is why I am not surprised with Nicholas Lovell contribution.



I would have been more comfortable and accept “You Don't Necessarily Need A Games Consultant”, because if a group of Indie is trying to develop a game and they get problems may be in AI or Rendering code for example and they know a freelance consultant that has done such project with big studio before who can figure out solutions to their problem, and collect a token from them. If they failed to call the consultant, they will just remain where they were.



I believe there are situations where consultation from an external party is crucial to the success of the project, it now depends on the impacted weight of contribution from the consultant that will indicate if it’s worthwhile to use the consultant or not.



There are also some situations where the game project get stopped completely especially in a project where you assume that the game engine will do all the tricks, only to find out that your cool idea will require a script, and you need to learn some little scripting and that will impact on the duration of the project completion, you will need a script consultant or extend the duration of your project to start again after you have mastered the scripting. This has happened to a project that I know and I helped out in scripting as a consultant and I charged them $1,200 and the project head begged me and we settled for $920 for me to create the script. It was not a game project though, but I guess it’s applicable in any scriptable project.



The worst of all, if you have a brilliant game idea that need funding, Nicholas Lovell throws light on economy of game industry and says investors too called themselves consultant. If you say you don’t need them, then your project is doomed. The fact is lot of game project was doomed based on this.



I totally agree that consultation has its own scam side (4. The Concept of a Games Consultant Has An Inherent and Palpable Tragic Element) in any industry and the game industry must watch out for these weaknesses.

Lincoln Li
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To finally fit in my own two cents. Kassim, while I personally disagree with extremist behavior (though I blame my cultural upbringing for that, Asian culture is traditionally less extreme then Western European's, and that's going into some weird direction I shouldn't be taking this... back to the topic...), we need to clearly identify what Consultant is by definition.



Consultant as defined by Webster's Dictionary:

2: one who gives professional advice or services



Freelance as defined by Webster's Dictionary:

1: a person who acts independently without being affiliated with or authorized by an organization

2: a person who pursues a profession without a long-term commitment to any one employer



If you went on Wikipedia, Consultant is written as such:

A consultant is a professional who provides professional or expert advice in (insert long list of stuff from Wikipedia)...



Right off the bat, I can tell you, a Freelancer is not the same thing as a Consultant. Whoever came up with the usage of "Freelance Consultant" or "Consultant Freelancer" is doing the very thing Christian wrote about: TRYING TO SURVIVE and trick you.



I personally believe Freelancers are very valuable. They're great resources (if they're good and respectable) that can come in during a bind and really help with content creation and refinement. But they earn their keep, they create content, they not only teach, but they also pursue the craft they freelance in to perfection so that they are masters at said craft.



HOWEVER, a Consultant is NOT one of those things. A Freelancer "CREATES", a Consultant "ADVISES". Consultants for the most part have no expertise or mastering of these ESSENTIAL and CRUCIAL Game Development skills like Design, Art or Programming. They merely talk and suggest "ideas". People really need to make sure they get that distinction.



In my honest opinion, a Consultant is not needed in Game Development, because every single cycle of the Game Dev process requires work to be done, schedules to be created, models to be edited, games to be uploaded and produced, etc... There is NO such thing as a role where only "advice" is given. If you want to be valuable to the Gaming Industry, be a Freelancer, a well respected and experienced one, not a Consultant.



I would gladly accept and pay for the help of a Freelance Producer, Artist, Designer, etc... But I would think that if I need advice from a Consultant to create something "better", then why did I not just hire him to create it in the first place??



It only stands to reason, if I hire him, I would learn from him because I would be watching him CREATE something, and in the process learn how it worked, and how it affected the overall pipeline of a purposeful Production Cycle.



I think you have valid points Kessim, but Christian is right in his title because they pertain to Consultants NOT Freelancers, which are the people you are arguing for, whom are a commendable lot, but completely impertinent to this article.

Don Moar
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Lincoln,



Not to be too pedantic, but according to Webster's definition, which you quoted above, a consultant offers professional advice OR service. This means that you *could* hire a consultant to add value to your project or product, not just provide advice. So I think the terms consultant and freelancer can be used somewhat interchangeably or together depending upon context.



This means you may hire a consultant to generate content, program or optimize a system, assure quality, perform marketing, or manage the project (not to be confused with providing the vision of the project); basically, anything which you or team may lack the knowledge or experience to handle yourselves and for which you do not want to hire someone full-time. Let me put it this way: if I need someone to help with my project and I find someone with 5 years of professional experience and who has shipped at least one title doing exactly the kind of work I need done, I'm not going to not hire him or her simply because he or she calls him- or herself a consultant.



The critical point is to have a clear and specific problem that you want the freelancer or consultant to address, ensure that the person has to requisite knowledge and experience to address the problem, and verify that he or she is addressing the problem at an acceptable rate.



I think Christian's article is correct in terms of its cautions and the kinds of things to avoid, but I think his suggestion that anyone who uses the term 'games consultant' is a film-flam artist or con-man is a little overly simplistic.

Lincoln Li
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Hey Don,



No you're absolutely right, in my haste and enthusiasm, I did improperly and narrow-mindedly overlook the "service" part.



You also bring about every crucial point about this discussion, it's true, regardless of what they may be called, it really only comes down to if they are realistically and genuinely suitable for the task required of them.



However, I hope you might agree that the terminology of consultant, contractor, freelancer, etc... is too widely mis-used and thrown around in our Industry. There is absolutely no standard. I've met Real Estate Consultants, military consultants, etc... but I've never heard or met a Consultant Electrical Engineer, or 3D Art Consultant, etc... Isn't there a point where the word consultant is being wrongly used?



Kassim later brings about a good point. Why is the terminology Consultant so much more respected then Freelancer, or Contractor? I think the Gaming Industry needs to take a look at itself in that respect.



I went to Purdue, which is, for all intensive purposes, an Animation School. They have no degree/program or promotion of Game Development. So being in that environment, trying to break into the Gaming Industry, I never once heard, while at SIGGRAPH, or at Film/Animation related talks, about the usage of Consultants, yet it is so vastly widespread and known in the Gaming field.



Doesn't that beg some questions into the culture that our Industry is raising? I think Christian should be simplistic, I feel like we as a growing budding Industry have become too convoluted in too short of a time.

Kassim Adewale
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Li are you fresh from college or what?



You said …Asian culture is traditionally less extreme then Western European's, and that's going into some weird direction I shouldn't be taking this… Sorry Li, you are beating about the bush, I am from Africa (Nigeria).



I have a game company, if you need my game expertise, you will pay a consultation fee first, and I must stop my work to come and review, advice or work for you (service), which make me a consultant. If I am jobless and I run from one game company to another helping them (service) to finish their game and move on, I am a freelancer, both of us had rendered services.



You can call me a freelancer or consultant, I don't mind, so far I render service.



Forget about what you read in the dictionary, game industry is dynamic, even some freelancers don’t want to be called freelancers because some big studio professionals look at you as a cheap labour guy, but if you call yourself a consultant, you gained respect even though you may not know more than a freelancer in game business.



If you know the way the big studio used to joke with Indie released games, when they see our game, but all is changing now, so don’t confuse Indie in Gamasutra that they don’t need a consultant, instead teach them (from their game project perspective) how to spot a consultant type that they can benefit from, because consulting can be costly and may be unproductive if you get the lousy empty barrel consultant that brandish certificate instead of completed project, ask any Gamasutra members from any big studio, they will fill you in.



Enough of laughing at Indie from big studios when they see Indie unpolished games, but it can all change if consultant from big studio is sharing their knowledge with us here, this was my perspective that made me to say I prefer the article to be titled “You Don't Necessarily Need A Games Consultant” then give suggestions where you thinks a consultant can be useful to Indie game project, because in some game project, you can pack freelancers together and they come up with unpolished game.



On the website of the Indie developer that developed “Absolute Blue” says:



“Important: If you running Windows Vista or Windows 7 and encounter some problems, please read this article. Thanks!”. That is a memory management or platform incompatibility problem, and these kind of problem is a nightmare to most big studio or Indie game project alike, if they can’t get a freelancer to fix it, they must look for a consultant. Get the picture now?



If I write this article and I want to give a convincingly fair, unbiased perspective that you don’t need a consultant, I must look for game projects that have failed because consultants were used against successful ones that freelancers helped out and present as prove.



You are disturbing me from my game project; try to understand that there are consultants in Gamasutra that are trying to contribute to knowledge to uplift Indie, I am not condemning Christian McCrea's article, I just don't want it to look bias.

Lincoln Li
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Hey Kassim, sorry to be a little harsh. I am actually just out of College, graduated just a year ago. I was beating around the bush, apologies though, I tend to write how I would talk, which, probably isn't the most eloquent style ;), but it is my style /shrug.



I don't mean to criticize Consultants or Freelancers in general, or any of the various two, I think there is a place for both. I just personally feel that the Gaming Industry should really get their definitions and standards correct.



I know what you mean about Freelancers. My girlfriend is an Artist who's done both work for a major company (Discovery Channel) as well as "freelance" work for both Indie Game Companies, and the Military, and often times the use of Freelancer does put a negative light on your own work.



What I'm really ultimately getting at is, I think Christian's definition and description of Consultants in the "Gaming Realm" is correct. Often times, consultants, like he wrote about, aren't actually good at content production. I'd give a real world example, but I don't wish to name studios or names, so if you're interested in a legit example, feel free to write me: lincolnli87@gmail.com



Other Consultants can add great value to a game, for example Military Shooters like Brothers in Arms, in which Gearbox have their own Professional Military Advisor/Consultant. Those people do add knowledge to a subject much limited to what people in a studio will know.



I feel like, your idea of a Consultant is closer to a Contractor or Freelancer. Someone who can temporarily be brought in to fix a problem, and provide solutions. Not someone who just stands around and advises with words.



Again, apologies for disturbing your Game Project, I'm sure you have a lot left to do, so signing off now :). Hope your own project goes well.



Cheers.

Lincoln Li
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I should reiterate with my own comment with from the above reply to Kessim. You know... just cause everyone and their moms like to write loads on the interwebs and be "recognized" for it :).



There is a DIFFERENCE between Consultants and Freelancers!!



PLEASE don't get them mixed up!!! :3



The End!

Kassim Adewale
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Hey Li,



Slade says your LinkedIn profile says you are a consultant, is that true?



If they named you as a freelancer, your profile will look unprofessional, and people may not call you for top quality job.



So if you are a consultant, why arguing on an article that says otherwise?

Lincoln Li
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Actually I'm not :), it says on my LinkedIn Profile that I'm an IT Intern. On my actual profile, not the "job title" I was given by my boss. Maybe you should have actually read my profile Slade. Way to slander someone falsely.



You disappoint me Slade, you truly do, I've never seen such narrow-minded ad hominem attacks that aren't even correct :P *cough*.

Wish our Industry would stop hiring people like you too... Oh well, what can ya do :P.



Oh lastly, hey Slade, you do realize that other people list the "job title" for recommendations right? I mean at least figure out how these networking sites work before you speak.



@ Kassim, if you really want to know the truth, go to my profile:

http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=16740977&trk=tab_pro



I got nothing to hide, nor do I need to edit anything. I didn't have any say in whether the recommendation would list me as "Consultant". That title is something only the person recommending you has control over. Tbh, I never really cared either, I've kept my personal job title when I did my 3 months there as IT Intern. Because I was an intern. I wasn't a consultant. I also have no interest in that profession, I want to be a Systems Designer, it states very clearly my intent on my LinkedIn.

Christian McCrea
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It has been pointed out to me that as soon as I wrote about games consultants being useless, a bunch of them came in to comment on the piece to tell me my definition of consultancy was wrong.



Funny.


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