The games industry needs less specialists and more product buildersa short rant on overspecialization and the need for people to care more about the full product, not just their own part of the job
Great games aren't made by putting together a bunch of people oblivious to everything except their focused set of skills. Being a designer, an artist or a programmer is not enough. Great games are made by people who can hack their way through all kinds of jobs.
Sure, you can't excel at everything. But you can't just program a game. Neither can you make a game only out of 3d models or 2d sprites. And you sure can't make a game just by designing its rules on paper.
You should be able to craft meaningful placeholders, be it code, art or design. Your title should be "game developer", not artist, not programmer, not game designer.
To hire a guy and tie its position to a particular kind of work, is implying games can be split into pieces to be processed on their own. They can't. Do you want your team to be an assembly line or a creative melting pot full of cross-pollination?
The problem is deeply rooted in the way we envision education. Current formations are centered around a set of skills which define a limited job. Do you really care about writing programs just for its own sake? animating sprites for its own sake? Or do you want to create awesome gaming experiences for people to enjoy? Why don't we teach people to make a complete game? That's much more empowering and you can still have that particular skill you're very good at.
Some people would call Joakim Sandberg (http://konjak.org/
) an amazing 2D artist, and he sure is. But he didn't stop right there. He's hacked his way through game making tools, wrote his own music, etc. He makes games. He's a fricking game developer.
Making games isn't about programming, it isn't about the visuals or the audio, it isn't about well-crafted mechanics. No, to make games, you need all of those, plus the ability to put them together in a finished product.If you want to become a fully-fledged game developer, taking part in a compo like Ludum Dare might be a good way to start expanding your skills to the full art of making games. You'll make all kinds of things and learn from other people. http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/