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Game Development – Team roles

Game Development – Team roles

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Game Development – Team roles

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  1. Game Development – Team roles • Alessandro Canossa – alec@itu.dk • Michael Schmidt – mrsc@itu.dk • Course code: MSU 0806015U Spring 2010 www.itu.dk

  2. Standard team composition • Producer / project manager • Game designer • Writer • Artists (concept, 2D, 3D, animator, art director) • Programmers (graphics, AI, physics, engine, network, etc.) • Level designers • Sound designers • Composer • Voice acting • Testers • Redundancy or roles, one person many roles

  3. Producer • Responsible of overseeing development of a video game though all its stages. • External (executive): publisher side , negotiating contracts, including licensing deals, link between the team and publisher or executive staff • Internal (more hands-on): project schedule, costs, personnel, on-time delivery, milestones and overall quality (QA, User research), developing and maintaining schedules and budgets, overseeing creative (art and design) and technical development (game programming) of the game • Arranging for beta testing and focus groups, if applicable • Arranging for localization • Relates to art lead, programmer lead, design lead, testing lead

  4. Game designer: • A person who designs gameplay, conceiving and designing the rules and structures of a game. Different skills: design, management, scheduling, research, understanding of all aspects of a game, ability to document the vision and communicate it to others. • "A great idea is meaningless. A great idea that leverages your existing technology, gets the team excited, is feasible to do on time and budget, is commericially competitive, and, last but not least, floats the boat of a major publisher... Now you have something.” Ken Levine

  5. Game designer: Neverwinter Nights 2, the job is to take the chunks given out by the lead designer and flesh them out. This involves doing a lot of area overview work, drawing maps on paper or in Photoshop, writing all the dialogues and quests, making creature lists for the areas, placing objects and critters, building levels in the editor, and proofreading/play-testing each other's work.

  6. Game designer: • Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: keeping the vision for the game, the game mechanics, the "fun" of the game, the overall story and any elements that propel the story (companions, key locations, etc.) and then breaking down the remaining elements into digestible chunks for the other designers: • area briefs and area overviews ("this planet is X, the following things need to happen on it, etc.") • breaking up the mechanics and play-balancing ("I need you to oversee the feat and class advancement systems, as long as they accomplish the following goals," etc.) • managing all the parts so programmers, artists, and the producer are getting everything they need to keep moving.

  7. Game designer Creating game systems that interact in an interesting manner while also creating a universe. It's not enough to create cool characters or systems. It's about seeing how it all merges in the end.

  8. Level designers A level designer’s role changes a lot in different studios: from planning the flow and circulation patterns to creating basic or refined geometry to properly illuminating it. Eventually they can control all aspects of the player experience in a certain location of the game. Often working in level editors.

  9. Artists: • Create art for games: all the objects, buildings, landscapes and characters - which make up the game world. Game artists are responsible for all of the aspects of game development that call for visual art and aesthetic component. Their work is coordinated and supervised by the art director • pencil drawings, pen and ink illustrations, oil paintings, 3D models, etc. • 2D art used as concept art, textures or 3D models and animations. • design the look of the character through concept art and render them to be integrated into the game. • responsible for designing scenery, props, and any other visual effects in the game.

  10. Game programmers Software engineers in charge of one or more of the disciplines necessary to realize a game: advanced physics, artificial intelligence, 3D graphics, digitized sound and music, complex strategy, different input devices and network support for multiplayer or other on-line features. Physiscs: dedicated to developing the physics. Only a few aspects of real-world physics are simulated. For example, a space game may need simulated gravity, but would not have any need for simulating water viscosity. AI: develops the logic the game uses to complete large number of actions. Now evolved into a specialized discipline: pathfinding, strategy and enemy tactic systems. One of the most challenging aspects of game programming and its sophistication is developing rapidly. 10/20 percent of programming staff is devoted to AI.

  11. Game programmers Graphics: developing both specialized blitter algorithms and clever optimizations for 2D graphics and complex 3D graphic renderers. 3D graphics programmers must have a firm grasp of advanced mathematical concepts such as vector and matrix math, quaternions and linear algebra. Sound: building and refining the game's sound engine, some background in digital signal processing and in some cases also 3D positional sound. Responsible for scripting tools to be uses by sound designers. These tools allow designers to associate sounds with characters, actions, objects and events while also assigning music or atmospheric sounds for game environments (levels or areas) and setting environmental variables such as reverberation.

  12. Game programmers Gameplay: focuses on a game's strategy and the "feel" of a game: strategy tables, tweak input code, adjust other factors that alter the game. Subset of this group is scripters: implementcinematic events, enemy behavior and game objectives with scripting language UI: responsible for user interfaces, either custom made or developed from a library that can be used across multiple projects. Even 2D looking interfaces use 3D technology so knowledge of 3D math and systems required. Other skills: special effects, transparency, animation, particle effects, etc. Input: writing the code specifying how input devices affect the game, very relevant for wii and new upcoming technology

  13. Game programmers Network: allows players to compete against each other (or play together) connected on line or download/upload content. Challenging discipline, involves dealing with network latency, packet compression, and dropped or interrupted connections. Tools: are used for tasks such as scripting, importing or converting art, modifying behaviors or building levels. Many tools are specific to the game and are custom programmed to handle specific tasks. Some tools will be included with the game, but most will not. Most tools evolve with the game and can eventually become source of revenue (middleware).

  14. Game programmers Porting: converting code from one operating system to work on another or on a variety of devices, such as mobile phones. Sometimes it means re-writing the entire game to fit proprietary languages, tools or hardware. Technology (R&D): not attached to single project but referring to CTO, focused on optimization or solving challenging issues or experiemnting new features or implementing algorithms from academic research. Generalist: In smaller teams, somebody who can take on the various other roles as needed. Often engaged in the task of tracking down bugs and fixing them. Lead: in charge both of coordinating the various submodules of the game and to keep track of development from a programming standpoint

  15. Other roles (freelancers) Writer Voice acting Motion capturing Sound design Music composition Testers QA lead User Research

  16. Questions?