Rudrasen Sitoleh 7 Levels Studio

5/2/2012

www.7levelstudios.com

Agenda
 Introductions
 Observations

• Planning •Client •Pre-production •Hiring

• Execution •Have a process and follow it. •Manage communication. •Setup Systems

5/2/2012

www.7levelstudios.com

Preproduction Production Live 5/2/2012 www.com . There is no silver bullet.7levelstudios.Premise  By “Assembling your team” I imply Exploration making them productive.  This is a primer.  You need to find your own equation in your environment and team. not a panacea.

Who am I ?       B. Develop and consult for casual and social games on Flash and IOS. Consumer internet startup.com .7levelstudios. MMORPG studio 2011 back here in Pune. Computer Science Lived and worked in the Silicon Valley from 2000-2010.E & M. Intel. Sinclair ZX and Commodore 64 5/2/2012 www.S.  Playing and coding games in 1985.  Original IP games and interactive products. Started independent game studio.

7levelstudios. You are interested in making good games.e.e.com 5/2/2012 . in a sustainable manner. i. You want to manage your onsite and / or remote team. for the most part. one layer of     management hierarchy. professionally There is some degree of creative risk in your project. In-charge of delivering a game to a client/customer.Audience  Directly/indirectly manage people in a game studio  Small team. i. you are not merely cloning games. www.

Yes they are similar.Isn’t game dev like any IT dev?          For engineering. A delivery date and the pressure thereof.7levelstudios.com 5/2/2012 . Chasing fun & delivering an experience instead of mere functionality. Viability Vs. www. Software obeys the same good practices and axioms As well as impacted by same issues such as. content & software Developing via workflows and asset pipelines You have to understand and harness the “creative process” through iteration & refinement. technical debt. playability Integrating design.

com . Marketing  Project management  Management theory  Post launch issues. PR.  SCRUM/Agile – next door 5/2/2012 www.Great topics for another day  Business development.7levelstudios.

Preproduction 3.Planning Client Assessment and interaction 2. 5/2/2012 www.7levelstudios. Hiring 1.com .

 Please take the time to assess your client and their demands.  Case study: Is this in Dollar or Rupees? 5/2/2012 www.com .Client – Due diligence  Yes.7levelstudios. they are indirectly part of your team. simply because they influence the outcome.

7levelstudios.com .  Establish how they need to reported to and updated  How will their input be factored into the production process? 5/2/2012 www.Client – Interaction  Presuming you have resolved the legal and financial matters.

com .  So what is it ? 5/2/2012 www.Preproduction  Traditionally done by publisher for green lighting.Planning .7levelstudios.  An essential step in game production.

com .What is preproduction?  Pre-production is when the Game Development team works on defining the production pipelines.production is the exploration of what the game is about and where is the fun.7levelstudios.  Pre. and outlining and fleshing out the details behind the game’s design. identifying the needs and uses of the tools they’ll need to make the game. 5/2/2012 www.

Planning . Art bible). Storyboards 5/2/2012 www. Wikis  Prototypes. “What are we going to build and why?”  Find a way to communicate this to your entire team and client.  Documents (GDD.com . Concept Art.  This stage is fully iterative and incremental.7levelstudios.Preproduction  Traditionally done by publisher for green lighting. TDD.  An essential step in game production.

5/2/2012 www.com . with client.7levelstudios.  Your team can only learn through execution.  This way to you have tested and stressed your workflows. you can use it to assess and establish  Overall team competency and capability.  To set a realistic schedule and milestones.  Understand your risks and capacity to deliver and therefore curtail budgets and scope. Pitfall : you cannot do preproduction in your head or a meeting or in document.Planning – Preproduction for you  I think.

The lack of vocabulary in software. Since 90% communication is funneled into text or voice. Document a hard skills and soft skills selection criteria for each position. A great shortcut to eliminate duds. Phone screens and programming test are effective filter.Hiring  Prepare for the realities of hiring     as a non-blue chip company in India.7levelstudios.com 5/2/2012 .Planning . Then communicate it to respective managers and leads www. tools or game domain can be stifling if the technical person is remote.

com .7levelstudios. Setup systems 1. Manage Communications 3. 5/2/2012 www.Execution Process – Have one and follow it 2.

 Work proactively to identity & resolve:  the overlaps in ownership & boundaries  Possible transgressions.Execution . decision making. 5/2/2012 www.  Gaps or chasms in ownership in the overall deliverables  Agree on how.com . as well resulting conflict.  Clearly delineate the roles. who and when you will update the client. responsibilities and ownership of each lead.7levelstudios.Process  Collaboratively work out your team interactions  Meeting schedules  Daily report-ins  Progress tracking  Create a protocol for issue escalation.

Execution – Manage Communications  Establish a common vocabulary for entire team  Capture it in an accessible format  Disseminate it 5/2/2012 www.7levelstudios.com .

com . you need to adopt a level of formality and rigor in our communication  Useful for members with limited language ability.Manage Communications  Recognize the value of in-person interaction  Quality and quantity of knowledge transferred visually and via tacit interaction.  To compensate for the lack of above. 5/2/2012 www.7levelstudios.

Art Bible. in order to get your machine moving.Execution – Setup systems  Document repository ( GDD.7levelstudios.com . etc)  Task Tracking (Basecamp. Excel. 5/2/2012 www. TDD. Google docs)  Source control and / or content repositories  Bug and issue tracking  IT roles and tasks outlined  All major systems have to be decided in advance and setup.

Execution: Pipeline & Workflows  You team is a production system. 5/2/2012 www.7levelstudios.com .  In order to function effectively and efficiently you need to have clear workflows and pipelines. not a hobbyist gettogether.

QA. Just commensurate with your needs. smoke tests  Art and content integration.Execution: Workflows  Create workflows for :  code check-ins. then no need to go overboard with full blown SCRUM or XP Workflows do not have to be elaborate. task tracking might be good enough.  Collaborate and get buy-in from leads for their     respective workflows. triage.com 5/2/2012 . If. builds. Top down enforcement may not be effective.7levelstudios. www.

Execution: Pipelines The pipeline is a process where an asset or element of the game moves from concept to completion and then into the game build through a series of steps where multiple team members each contribute a portion to the overall asset.com . Sound.7levelstudios.  Identify your pipelines ( Art. Text)  What are the steps?  Who’s responsible?  Bottlenecks  Import/export issues & inefficiencies  Engineering side integration 5/2/2012 www.

The big bang approach. 5/2/2012 www.com .7levelstudios.  Example: Integration woes due to simultaneous content update.Execution: Pipelines  Cycle through it and test it as early as possible.

Recap  Planning is key to avoid failure. 5/2/2012 www.  You team is not merely a bunch of developers and     artists but.7levelstudios.com . is defined by: Processes they follow Systems they use Culture they embrace Stay agnostic and determine what is appropriate for your team.

7levelstudios.com/blog 5/2/2012 www.7levelstudios.Thanks  Please share your stories and views on my blog at http://www.com .

7levelstudios.com .Q&A Please be brief 5/2/2012 www.

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