Local vs. Global Freelancing

Hi all,

I'm new to game development and i'm thinking about doing freelance work.

Is there an advantage to advertizing on a local freelancing site (like /www.jobvine.co.za) compared to a global sites (like www.fiverr.com, www.upwork.com, www.freelancer.com)?

And in general, which is the best freelancing app/site for game developers?



  • edited
    If you are new to game development, what kind of work do you expect to get? Do you have a portfolio? Are you a narrative writer? Do you program in Unity? Are you a level designer? Your question is very broad.

    [Edit: typo]
  • I'm a Unity programmer with almost one year's experience. I've buit up a small portfolio in the past few months (https://github.com/GavinRens). I have a background in AI, so i intend specializing in programming NPC behavior.
  • Broadly what you're walking into is this (and others here can correct me if I'm wrong): South Africa has about seven(?) stable game-development companies, combined employing about 250 people, plus freelancers when needed; each company has specific areas of corporate specialisation (the kinds of games and interactive entertainment they make) but all the individuals within the companies are widely knowledgeable, as are the freelancers. There is (almost) no freelance work in this country (and certainly not on Job Vine) and if you're going to specialise so specifically you're going to have to be the best to get any work.

    Internationally I have no idea if any of the sites you mentioned ever result in work for game developers. Game developers usually get work via word of mouth, by stalking their favourite dev houses until suitable work is advertised and they can apply, and via web sites such as https://remotegamejobs.com/ and https://www.workwithindies.com/, as well as (possibly) the gameDevClassifieds subreddit, which is always very busy but I don't know that it ever leads to work for people. It will give you an idea, though, of how many people are looking for work and how competitive it is.

    You're approaching this like a software engineer, not a game designer. You need to set up an itch account and start publishing little games there, joining jams working in teams and solo, and generally demonstrating prototyping, experimentation, and finished projects (even if the art is janky and there is no sound because those aren't your areas of expertise). People want to see that you have an overview understanding of game development and game-design concepts and have a certain amount of flexibility (and without the barrier to entry of having to deal with GitHub and have Unity installed on a machine and to download files and get them installed and running); those who are then interested in the minutiae of your specialisation work and want to pick through your code will look at what you have on GitHub.

  • Hi @watman,

    Thanks a lot for the feedback. This is good advice for someone new to the game dev world.

    PS. Is there a way to get an email notification when there is activity on a particular discussion thead?
  • Yes, click the star icon top right of the first post.
  • Thanks, watman.
  • Hi @Doker2030, everything watman says is true.
    Don't waste your time with fiverr / upwork etc. I was in your exact position 8 years ago.
    Join game jams and make small games. A lot of them. Keep putting your name out there.
    You'll need a bit of luck getting your first paid gig , actually you'll need the planets to align to get your first paid gig with such little experience (as they did on this very site for me 8 years ago), but you just have to keep trying.
    Check these sites constantly and apply for everything that is suited to your skills (even if you don't tick all the boxes)
    Thanked by 1matt_mmmnicegamesa
  • Thanks, @vintar. You give more nuggets of gold for a biginner, like me.
  • edited
    I can't speak about game dev freelancing, but I'm currently doing freelance product/project management and full-stack development for SaaS apps on Upwork. In the beginning (about 6 months for me), it was a bit of a slog taking whichever work I could get even though the pay was peanuts, but after I had built a solid track record, the work has been stable, and I've gotten awesome clients.

    I prefer not to work with local companies unless it's a project that really stands out for me. Each USD has a lot more value to local companies than it does to US companies, so they expect a lot more value. So budgets are bigger, and a low rate by US standards is pretty good by local standards.

    My goal for the next few years is to pivot to doing game dev freelancing. I hope it's viable, but I can't comment on that. It's just anecdotal evidence, but from my brief search on Upwork, the jobs-to-freelancers ratio and median pay are much lower for game dev. It's still within the range I'm happy with and worth the sacrifice.

    If you are evaluating opportunities, the target for your hourly rate freelancing should be about 1.8-2x bigger than what you could earn working for a company on a full-time contract. This factors in the costs of running your own business and non-billable hours.
  • Thanks for the info and advice, @charly !
    Thanked by 1charly
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