Chapter 7.1 Game Production - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Chapter 7.1 Game Production

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Producers can work for game developers ... Written by Producer or Game Designer ... Demo? Specs? Demo Due date? Some developers ask for royalties on the game's sales. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Chapter 7.1 Game Production


1
Chapter 7.1 Game 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 developers team in fulfilling a game
    development contract

3
Five Phases of Making a Game
  1. Concept Phase
  2. Preproduction
  3. Production
  4. Postproduction
  5. 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 Publishers 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
    companys 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
  • Publishers 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 games
    sales. Producer will want lower upfront cost
    (advance) if royalties are a part of the picture.

9
The Development Agreement
  • Developers obligations
  • Publishers 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 Technical Design 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
  • Dont 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 (PL)
  • 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
  • Producers 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
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