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Chapter 7.1 Game Production & Management PowerPoint Presentation
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Chapter 7.1 Game Production & Management

Chapter 7.1 Game Production & Management

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Chapter 7.1 Game Production & Management

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  1. Chapter 7.1Game Production & Management

  2. Overview • Mainstream Video games and computer games are made by large teams of people. • Big • Expensive • Time-consuming projects • Chapter 7 is from point of view of the Producer (a.k.a. director or project manager) • Producers can work for game developers • Manage the developer’s team in fulfilling a game development contract

  3. Five Phases of Making a Game • Concept Phase • Preproduction • Production • Postproduction • AfterMarket

  4. Concept Phase • Publisher has decided to pursue a game concept. • Producer usually first person assigned to work on new project • Game concepts usually not brainchild of game designer • Usually based on past successes or business deals • Where concepts come from • Sequels based on previous successful games • Film licenses • Technology re-use (characters, add new features inherent in other games that are gaining wide consumer acceptance) • Occasionally, original concepts get greenlit

  5. Concept Phase – cont. • Producing the conceptual design • Written by Producer or Game Designer • Producer can hire internal or external game designer (sworn to secrecy) • Requires several meetings • Describes story and character developments to occur • Outline improvements • Game • UI • Level design • Address ways game will reclaim users • If the game was a licensed concept… • Producer would have to discuss concept with the licensor. • Working Title (Important Marketing Tool) • For Sequels you just need a subtitle • Producer creates executive summary (just highlights) • Concept Document needs to be brief, yet provide satisfactory answers to big questions

  6. Concept Phase – cont. Green Light Committee • Producer supplies • Printed copies of conceptual design • PowerPoint presentation • Games are installed in meeting room • Folks Present • Executives of Publisher’s studio, distribution, licensing, sales, marketing, financial and international divisions (by teleconference or video conference) • The meeting could go smoothly  or not . • If all goes well the Producer will get approve the Green Light to proceed and use the Publishing company’s resources: • Money, personnel, equipment, office space, and internal network

  7. Pre-Production Phase • Producer needs GDD written by internal or freelance designer and and selects development team • GDD (Game Design Document) • Team Selection • Internal staffing plan (management challenge) • Existing employees (same roles) • Promotions, transfers (new roles) • Hire new employees

  8. External Development • Selecting an external developer • Previously used developers • Other sources (e.g. IGDA and Gamasutra.com) • Referrals (producers, developers) • Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) • Bid package • Treatment or GDD to date • Publisher’s expectations for product • Developer needs to know • Genre, Platform, Target Audience and Competition • Bid format and due date • Triple-A or budget title? • How many levels, characters, or missions game entails? • Special technology or features • Demo? Specs? Demo Due date? • Some developers ask for royalties on the game’s sales. Producer will want lower upfront cost (advance) if royalties are a part of the picture.

  9. The Development Agreement • Developer’s obligations • Publisher’s obligations • IP ownership • Warranties • Termination • Milestones

  10. Milestones • Highly detailed, specific • Quantifiable, measurable • Due dates • Payment amounts (upon acceptance) • Avoid terms like “alpha” and “beta” unless clearly defined • Milestone approval cycles

  11. The TechnicalDesign Document • GDD is a statement of the problem; TDD is a statement of the solution • Foundation for the programming work • Identify technical challenges • Plan for technical solutions • Set forth asset format guidelines

  12. Scheduling • Generate task lists from GDD & TDD • Plan everything • Programming • Assets • Demos • Approvals • Green lights • Vacations, holidays • QA • Work backwards from completion

  13. The Golden Spike • May 10, 1869 – Promontory, Utah • Start at both ends, work towards the middle (alpha and/or beta) • The back end cannot be compressed • Determine target beta date to achieve desired ship date • Can game achieve beta by target date?

  14. Adjusting the Schedule • Add people to reduce development time? • Deliver assets on time • Don’t make programmers wait for assets • Prioritize feature set • Lower priority features to be done later if possible • Look for bottlenecks • (feature-technology interdependencies)

  15. Budgeting • Personnel costs • Salary x time x involvement % • Developer/Contractor payments • Equipment & software • Supplies • Travel & meals • Shipments

  16. Profit & Loss Analysis (P&L) • Costs • Production budget • Cost of goods (COGs) • Marketing • Licensor royalties • Developer royalties • Revenues • Projected Sales • Wholesale price • Ancillary sales (OEM, strategy guides)

  17. Kickoff Green Light • Producer’s plan for the project • GDD • TDD • Schedule • Budget • Green light • Executives • IP owner (licensor) • Platform holder

  18. Production Phase • Programming now underway • Kicking off tasks – art creation • Art lists • Art asset file naming conventions • Art asset tracking • Art asset approval cycles • Art asset delivery formats

  19. Red Flag Spotting • The usual causes of red flags: • Team conflicts • Personnel issues • Design problems • Money troubles • Technical glitches • Change requests • Schedule delays • Take immediate action

  20. Kicking Off Tasks - Audio • Sound list • Music specification • Story text • Voice-over script • Creation of sounds • Creation or licensing of music • Recording of voice-overs

  21. First Playable – Proof of Concept • Keeping everyone on board • Licensor(s) • Platform holder(s) • Executives • The Team • The Cerny method • Keeping the momentum going

  22. Phases Within Phases • Pre-production • Production • Early production • Mid-production • Alpha • Late production • Beta • Post-production

  23. The Multitasking Producer • Time management • Managing mid-production • Expecting the unexpected • Red flags in mid-production • Design by committee = consensus? • Late production

  24. Working with Marketing • Working title  final title • Screen shots • E3 demo • Magazine demo • Platform holder promo

  25. Post-Production • Personnel transfers • Localizations • ESRB rating • Box & docs • Strategy guide

  26. Quality Assurance • Test plan • The QA database • QA – the view from inside • The QA-producer relationship

  27. The Light at the End of the Tunnel • Operations • OEM & bundled versions • Post mortem