Art from Start to Finish

I broke into the casino industry by sheer luck. At the time, WMS (later acquired by Scientific Games) was making a play to get their games online (and on device) and visually to the quality of the console gaming industry. I was the right person for the job with 15+ years in AAA games and 3 years in mobile game development. The industry presented me with an exciting new challenge.

I was tasked with building a team from scratch to create, convert, and optimize our game art and assets for mobile and online. My hiring budget was fair. Middle of the road but definitely workable.

One key goal was to hire creatives that were multi-skilled. I actively searched for individuals with a solid foundation in 2D illustration, animation in After Effects, and knowledge of 3D software. If we found someone that had the 2 out of the 3 with learning potential, that was a perfect fit.

I always prefer growing the team from within when possible by investing in artists to ensure they are appreciated and overall evolving year to year.

Year 1

In year one our team performed well and this was the overall make up.

  • 2x Senior Artists

  • 1x Core Artist

  • 2x Associate Artists

  • 1x Technical Artist

We had an efficient, nimble structure. Core and Associate Artists had mentorship from our 2 Seniors, and we had a solid base of talent that helped us create quickly.

Year 2

Year 2 was about expansion and increasing artistic output. We needed to grow, and my budget was increased. I was tasked to expand the team by ~50%. The key at this point was to grow responsibly without taking on too much overhead. I promoted one of my Senior Artists to a leadership role and we built 2 teams.

Team A focused on new art asset creation, and Team B on art conversions. Members on each team would swap responsibilities every quarter. This helped keep everyone's role fresh, and we were able to more easily share knowledge in this format.

We also utilized some more core artist hires and capitalized on the internship program. 

The team soon looked like this:

Team A (Creation Team)

  • 1x Senior Artist

  • 2x Core Artists

  • 2x Associate Artists

Team B (Conversion Team)

  • 1x Associate Lead Artist

  • 1x Core Artist

  • 1x Associate Artist

  • 1x Art Intern

  • 1x Technical Artist

Year 3

In our 3rd year as a cohesive art team, the change continued. Scientific Games was acquiring Bally entertainment. This brought two of the world’s biggest casino providers together under one roof. It impacted the entire gambling industry.

During the acquisition, we merged our existing team with the Bally art teams. They were focused on a free-to-play social product. This allowed our internal team to dive even further into mobile development.

I needed to reduce the overhead and logistical work because the team had grown significantly. It became difficult to give every member of the team the proper amount of mentorship and guidance. Fortunately, I had individuals willing to step up into new roles. The benefit of grooming from within.

The Conversion Team remained mostly unchanged. I was able to promote a new leader to take over the management of the Creation Team. With the  Mobile Team inherited from the acquisition, I was able to promote one of our aspiring Core Artists to a leadership role. We didn't just throw her into the fire. I worked on an accelerated 3-month growth plan to ramp things up. We worked closely throughout the process, and at the end of the 3-month term, she was more than ready to take on the added leadership responsibilities. 

This was the team breakdown in year 3:

Team A (Creation Team)

  • 1x Lead Artist

  • 1x Senior Artist

  • 2x Core Artists

  • 1x Associate Artist

Team B (Conversion Team)

  • 1x Associate Lead Artist

  • 1x Core Artist

  • 1x Associate Artist

  • 1x Technical Artist

Team C (Mobile Team)

  • 1x Visual Design Manager

  • 1x Core Artist

  • 1x Designer

  • 1x Front End Visual Developer

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© 2020 by Roger J. Yuen.