The Pre-Production Problem – How to Improve the Planning Process in Game Design – Extra Credits

The Pre-Production Problem – How to Improve the Planning Process in Game Design – Extra Credits

[Music] hello again as of this week allison is officially on her break so she can recover and i think you know what that means yes guest artist marathon over the next few weeks or months I don’t know we’ll be bringing in a bunch of guest artists to help us out I think this is gonna turn out to be rather fun on that note say hello to Molly Maloney she’s a concept artist currently working for her MFA out in San Francisco and she’s here to help us talk about pre-production huh how come we haven’t talked about this before I guess we’re usually more about offering possible solutions to problems rather than just raising them but this is one of those problems that I’m not sure we’ve got a great answer for unfortunately it’s a pretty big issue so hopefully talking about it will at least provide some perspective on the industry most bad video games are the result of bad production methodology that is to say bad planning I know that sounds super obvious but here’s a specific case that’s unbelievably common in our industry and it’s responsible for a plethora of bad games the complete lack of pre-production pre-production is the time when you try to figure everything out before you actually start building it basically the planning phase not having enough at this time means things like story characterization art style even mechanics get pushed into the will figure it out later Ben now as I’m sure most of you know planning is everything especially for big productions not having enough time to think about stuff before you just jump in and try to make it is almost guaranteed to cause problems it’s obvious to you it’s obvious to me and it’s obvious to everybody working in the industry today too so the question becomes why aren’t studios making time for pre-production after all pre-production should be the cheapest period in a game development cycle you don’t need nearly as much staff as you do an actual production and investing in that pre-production time is likely to save a studio money in the end unfortunately there’s one court unique to video games that prevents this and that’s the question of what do you do with all of your programmers during full production you’re gonna need a lot of programmers to put together all the technology that goes into making a game but in pre-production there’s really not much for them to do you’ll need a few veteran programmers to investigate what technology you want to use so you can create unique features for your new title but when you already have an engine to work with from a previous project or you have licensed an engine like unreal there’s just not much work there for a software engineer before any key decisions have been made about the game they’re gonna build sure a few of the engine guys can tinker with the engine and optimize it a bit and the shader guys might experiment with new shaders which can be an integral part of establishing the art style but what about the gameplay guys are the networking guys they’re stuck doing busywork are coming in for half days and programmers are expensive when you factor in salary insurance and paying rent for workspace as well as paying for the licenses and technology they’re gonna be using a mid-level programmer in Seattle runs roughly a hundred and ten thousand dollars a year or eight thousand two hundred and fifty dollars a month say your standard midsize developer has about 30 programmers on a triple a project now let’s say maybe ten of them can do anything worthwhile during pre-production that means you’re wasting a hundred and sixty-five thousand dollars per month you spend in pre-production or put another way more than one and a half man years of engineering time those are men hours you could have spent actually building your game this is almost impossible to justify and many of the corporate hierarchies we have set up and it’s even harder to justify to investors when you add to this the internal social pressure at studios to get people work to do you can see how naturally pre-production often gets cut short so there it is in a nutshell the problem of finding enough pre-production time it’s one that plagues our industry and ruins many multi-million dollar projects now like me many of you are probably thinking well with a little better planning this could be solved by yanking the pre-production team off the studio’s current project a few months early the cutesy answer to that is oh with a little better planning we could do a little better planning you don’t say but joking aside I actually suspect that is the solution to this problem there are a few reasons why game Studios aren’t doing it that way now first it would require them to move high-level staff off a product shortly before it ships unfortunately the way this industry runs games tend to be all hands on deck affairs near the end and even when they’re not games have another weird quirk the more of a game you build the more you realize how you could have done it better James has never worked on the game project where they managed to get in every feature they wanted and I don’t know anybody else who has either this means that even on projects which are coming together perfectly people tend to want to see if they can squeeze in just a few more awesome features from the design document that they thought they were gonna have to cut or see if they can get one more iteration in on some of the things they didn’t know we’re wrong till they actually got to play test the game themselves which in the end leads to no one wanting to jump ship to pre produce the next project well that in the weird sense of guilt industry folks seem to get about doing pre-production while their studio mates are still slaving away at the last game for some reason people tend to think of pre-production as not real work ironically pre-production can also lead the productivity issues especially when your team is just coming off a long crunch where deadlines were specified down to the hour pre-production time can lead to a feeling of having all the time in the world and things start to run less efficiently as people recover okay so we have a few problems to solve here but games aren’t the only high-tech multidisciplinary artform out there how are those other industries doing it maybe we can learn from them let’s start by looking at the film industry when a movies finished the cast and crew and everybody involved go their separate ways the people involved in pre-production start developing new projects and the main production staff joined other projects that are just coming out of the pre-production phase it works just fine for film but I’m not really sure this model fits the game industry as it’s currently structured keeping a development team together tends to be more important in games than in film or at least that’s the conventional industry wisdom not really sure how true it is even if it’s not though there’s also the fact that we don’t have agents in our industry hiring and job seeking are such a nightmare in games no one wants to try to staff up a project every time they start a new one besides people working in the game industry tend not to like that kind of risk many developers want to know they’re gonna have a job after the game ships and it’s tragic how often they won’t anyway so the film industry may not be the ideal role model but I think I know another one that might be animation maybe it’s just because animation is my industry or maybe it’s because Pixar has liked most game studios and that they keep their staff from project to project but I think the model might work Pixar generally spends at least two years in the story in pre-production phase for every film but the vast majority of the crew is working on a different project at the time you’ve got your main bulk workforce of artists all the modelers animators and lighters and such and most of them are probably working on the current main project trying to get the film finished in time for theatrical release but all the while there’s always another director working with a small team on the next film in line for finding the story reels and doing R&D on the technology they’ll need meanwhile yet another director is working with a handful of guys from the story department putting together early storyboards for the next film in line and all of those directors probably have ideas in mind for the next film they want to pitch so at any given time you’ve got your main force working hard on a project and by the time they’ve finished there’s always another project ready for them to jump to now I am definitely no expert on this sort of thing but I think the system has some merit even if you keep things limited to just two projects one in production and one being planned by a small team of leads there’s always a project to work on and another one in the chamber ready to go all the benefits of planning ahead with none of the downtime now despite everything I’ve been saying it’s probably worth reminding all of you budding developers out there that it’s very very easy to get trapped in the pre-production phase when you have no deadlines James sees a lot of excited young guys fall into the trap of constantly revising design documents drawing sketches of their world and talking about their game but never actually starting to build anything it’s important to know when to stop planning and start building and you should never be afraid to prototype your ideas early on but the value of spending this time thinking before we begin to build cannot be overstated there have been a few games out there that ended up getting an extended pre-production time Bioshock fallout 3 portal I think the results speak for themselves it’s one of the few things most developers can agree on but failing to get this time is endemic to the way we build games I will say this whichever developer solves this pre-production problem is already halfway to being the next valve Bioware or Blizzard if any of you guys work in games and have some thoughts or ideas on the matter get in touch with us because we’d love to hear them Thank You Molly for the pretty pictures thanks for watching and see you next week [Music]


100 thoughts on “The Pre-Production Problem – How to Improve the Planning Process in Game Design – Extra Credits”

  • What if you had specific people who would work on the game at the start and towards the end they would work on the pre-production? If they knew that they would do it, and did it every time, the problems with inefficiency and wanting to squeeze in more features might both be solved.

  • Twenty Seventh Letter says:

    Midway through the video, I had already conceived of a way to solve the problem; immediately afterward, you described how Pixar has done so, which was my plan exactly. I don't really see why it would be that difficult to set up a design company in the same way Pixar is but, granted, I'm not a designer, so I might be totally wrong.

  • Sadly this is true, due to that fact friends and I are trying to work on a game, and ever since the deadline was removed, our team has been trapped in pre-production… It's gotten so bad that a lot of our staff has decided to quit and pursue other projects.

  • Sadly, I can't hear this episode, all that is going on in my head is that damn "Reproduction" song from Grease 2, but with an additional P added to the refrain

  • Wouldn't it be an idea to have perhaps a few hours per week where you pull off some of your workers to do some pre-production for the next game. That way each day you are still working on the current game and gives your workers something to look forward to/a bit of down time to keep up morale so they can go back to their desk afterwards more motivated.

  • Well you could always have the programmers and all of them help with pre-production by giving ideas and stuff. This is whats good to be an indie developer. You don't have to pay people because you do everything yourself.

  • What about R&D? Why can't programmers do R&D or other researching roles? Or have a rotating cycle when by the time programmers finished this game the next game is already planned out?

  • As someone who has studied communications and media production, with a program emphasis (not my emphasis) on film and documentary, it seems strange to me that the assumption is having all those programmers and unused workers would be paid to not work? Why can they not remain employed at X Company without being paid for their down time? Tends to be how in-house film crews work.

    When film crews are in pre-production, even for entirely in-house productions, the production crew is not being paid because they are not working. Ideally, the pay they receive makes up for that down time. (Unless they are a jacks-of-all-trades crew of course, in which case they are probably giving their input and being paid for that input)

    But I guess it makes sense?

    I feel like my ideal situation would be to have producers or what-not working on pre-production for possible future projects while current projects are in development. Which I suppose is similar to that animation studio workflow.

  • The whole "what do you do with the programmers" issue reminds me of my school's Robotics club… where I'm the lead programmer. We spent, like, three months in the design phase, where I did practically nothing. I looked up stuff on the internet when a teammate needed to know the dimensions of something, I did research on the sort of tools I was gonna be programming for… but those were all quick things that I tended to finish in five minutes and spent the rest of the hour that we met that week looking for the next thing to do. It wasn't until stuff actually began to be built that the team had any idea what they wanted me to code up and I actually did anything useful. And, believe me, I tried to help during the design phase, but I was put into my position because I'm just a natural at programming- I have little relevant experience with designing robots, meaning that I didn't understand the relevance of most of what they were arguing about. Whenever I tried to help, it was just me asking a stupid question in the hopes that they'd somehow missed that minor piece that made an entire idea work or fail.
    It kinda helps to know that the issue of unused programmers is an issue in the field I actually want to go into, too, not just the field I'm in now. It motivates me a bit more to help find a solution.

  • ..Can't we just get a seperate team JUST for pre-production? You have your animators and modellers working on the game models/animation, you have the programmers working on the engine and mechanics and such, etc. etc., why can't we make a group of 'pre-production'-ers to do pre-production work in the meantime, for any upcoming project? You don't need anyone to do any other work, everyone can specialize on their own thing, and the pre-production-ers can work on the pre-production for an upcoming project. What I'm basicly saying is, hire people specifically for pre-production WHILE you know there's enough time left before release/starting a new project.

  • hi, i write games as a hobby but one of the things me and my friends do is plan our pre-production we have a dead line for it. then we also have a online forum where over humans submit game ideas then i put them through a venting cycle and then we form a queue of good game ideas to be planed out and then when us coders finish our job we pick up the next one.


  • why not have people on call for projects, ready for work, and just hire on who you need to to do pre-production? give the people on call a round estimate on when you'll be done in pre-planning…. you now have a deadline so people wont be stuck, people who are confirmed for the job so they you wont be understaffed, you're not understaffed for when you know you need more workers, and they know how long they be without a job so they can make plans accordingly to have jobs till they hire you back on….

  • Tactical Krümel says:

    Bethesda has a decent System. When they finished a retail game, they take off a few guys for pre production and the rest is working on dlcs and bug fixes and stuff. So you dont need all members for dlcs, means you can use them for pre production 🙂

  • I dont work in the game industry or animation, but I think the Pixar model would work pretty well with some minor tweaks.

    why not have all hands on for the beginning of a game, lets say a month or two, just to get everything rolling. Get a general art style going, maybe the start of a mechanic or two, just till things settle down from the initial rush. Then pull a small pre-production team out of the staff, maybe 1-2 people from each part. This would have the main staff working on the game and the preproduction staff setting up for a new title before anything gets hectic. When the pre-production staff gets done with what is needed (again, i dont work in these industries and dont know how much needs to be accomplished during preproduction) they can then be transferred back to the current project.

    Really, i think this might work simply because it puts an inherent deadline on the pre-production: the sooner they get done, the sooner they can get back in with everyone else on the current project. Plus, it would still give you all hands on deck at the end of the project. now, the biggest problem i can see with this model would be the pre-production staff trying to rush through just to get back to the current project (though the reverse could easily be true as well), so, to correct this, you could have a minimum amount of time they have to spend in pre-production, say 3 months and say they have to be finished no later then 3 months before the end of the current games development (again, these are total guesses, not my industry). any thoughts from some devs out there on this idea? id love to better understand what you guys do and how you get it done.

  • EDUCATION! That's your solution. Plan for training for your developers. There is ALWAYS something new to learn. Cross train people, train on new technologies, let them be creative with hackathons or brown bags. Problem solved.

  • Extended pre-production may lead to over detailed planning which makes production process less flexible. When something goes not the way it was planned you can throw away the plan cause the rest of it depends on that thing. In other words best pre-production is minimal.

  • I WISH all of animation worked like Pixar. Go to television animation, it's just like film. Sucks having to find something every time your project goes on hiatus…. especially when you're not in LA and so don't have the Animator's guild helping you with health insurance.

  • Still River Games - Company Channel says:

    Well, my company and I have kind of solved this problem, albeit unwittingly…..I founded Still River Games in August of 2014, and we do not have a single member of the company who is above 16 years old. Now, Canadian law states that we are not allowed to sell products online until at least one member of the company is 18 or older, so, if we look at it from my own perspective, I still have 3 years before we can legally sell anything online. The company has been going strong for 2 years, and we have 4 planned games, 1 of which we are currently programming and developing. So, solution to pre-production problems for budding game developers who are not yet adults: Start sooner than later. Really. I founded this company because I was bored and wanted to see more quality RPG games on the market.

  • Currently in pre-production with a fun and playable tabletop prototype. The hard part is having enough time to change your mind

  • Birdie McChicken says:

    Distract the programmers with DLCs for an older title while the rest of the team works on something actually worth-while.

  • isn´t blizzard sorta doing the pixar thing?
    they seem to rotate people in and out of games as everytime you hear something about one of their teams, the size of said team has changed drastically.

  • Keith Rowsell says:

    Sadly, Pixar is one of the few animation studios that can employ this way of working, for the rest of the normal animation studios, they need to constantly let people go, keep a few of the core crew and then rehire for the next season, project etc. Pixar has the economic "guarantee" that their last film would be successfull enough to afford to make the next one. Other studios just can't do this. So why not let go and then re-hire programmers and other workers for each project? An animation studio has many different department where they do this, compositors, animators, inbetweeners, riggers, 3D crew, 2D crew, storyboard artists, writers, musicians, editors etc. I imagine games studios have a few more roles, but the same reasoning should apply technically. It still means a load of people who won't get the perks of an indefinite contract, but animation companies still manage to hire and fire people every year.

  • Another option is to have a new kind of company. A pre-production company that sells their IP to game studios and then consults on the development. Or they could hire a game studio to implement their IP. Once such a company garnered enough reputation, they'd do very well with this model.

  • If the problem is mainly about finding something to do for programmers during pre-prod why not put them on prototyping?

  • What happens if that one in the chamber miss fires and gets ejected too late causing the it to act as a blank.Then they have nothing waiting for them if they do it from shot to the next.

  • PlaystationMasterPS3 says:

    regarding programmers sitting idle, why can't a dev studio take on contract work for other companies in the game industry or other industries while they're otherwise sitting idle? that way they're generating revenue and staying busy, and they dev team would get to do something new and different for a couple of months

  • You could partially solve the issue of productivity by giving them deadlines (this chaerecter needs to be planned out by next week), and you could stop the problem of having to take people off at the end by putting those people on pre production first, then have them move back to the current project if there's time

  • HiroMaykol_CTRandDEV Games says:

    Yo tengo una idea ,
    Un universo gobernado por el sentimiento universal buscando la logica del infinito por medio del cambio de universos alternos hasta finalmente emprender el trabajo de un Dios,finalizando con la union de los 7 mil millones de dioses humanos que formaron su universo,destacando la culpabilidad,la logica del infinito tiene sus sentimientos pixelados,
    La Era AstrometaETICA ha llegado.
    Que os parecio mi historia.
    Mi jueguito tendra esa historia.

  • mate you think you got problems how much is the f-35 gonna cost and how much has it gone up while I'm typing this 😛

  • The best recent example of this is project TITAN that was in the pre-production phase for 17 years after they finally gave up on it they used the remaining assets and some ideas to make OVERWATCH infact the game is soo much a comeback to life story that overwatch was supposed to be the task force in project titan

  • Gilder von Schattenkreuz says:

    The Idea itself is not really Bad.

    For example.
    For any Bigger Game. Which actually needs an Extensive Pre Production Time.
    You could Set the People you currently dont use. Into an Side Project.
    For example an smaller Mini Game which doesnt need much Pre Production and can if worst comes to worst even be dropped.
    The Mini Project might at least Offset a Small margin of the Cost and Provide an Small Revenue.

    For example an small Handy Game.
    Or if you want to keep it on the Project itself. Maybe an Mini Game which can later on be Found inside the actual Game.

    If you seriously cant have your People work on the Main Dish. Simply let them Prepare Side Dishes.
    I mean some fairly good Handy Games are done by but 1 or 2 People all alone.
    So having a Triple A Production with 20 People not able to Help the Main Project could simply work on a smaller Side Project 😛

  • FRC taught me something this year that may solve the "what do programmers do" ordeal. The truth is, anyone might just have a grand idea, so getting literally everyone involved in the project (or at least everyone that's involved before hiring the masses) to brainstorm and grind out preproduction ideas is helpful. I myself am a programmer for my team, and I nearly had the final idea for our robot this year. My point is, programmers don't jist have to program, same for anyone else. In my humble opinion, everyone should be involved in the very first planning stages

  • I'm an aspiring developer and I DO looove talking about how my game is going to be xD I'm setting myself a deadline right now to be done an early access version by the end of this year at the very latest just because I don't know how intense college is going to be for me personally. is this too long? it is just me coding

  • What if…and this is a crazy idea…but what if you have short meetings or open-door policy on ideas so that while you work on smething, you could run down or call in to tell someone about an idea or thought about the next game?

  • Why not have the programmers and any of the other game development team not working on pre-production develop DLC for the previous project or fix the bugs if there are any?

  • Wouldn't Alpha/Beta technically qualify as "preproduction"?
    In this case you have all of the developers build for the original project, with the Director mind that some "unsuccessful" features to be removed and/or retooled?

  • might this be while updates to older projects are seen more recently? the programmers that can't be useful in PRE can work on the older project for good PR and happier players, as well as a selling point.

  • So been playing games since ps2 and been craving to work in the industry for years most likely as someone who turns a creative persons ideas into reality so whats the industry like

  • As a software developer, I don't get it. Why don't let the game developers build small deliverable parts of the game from the beginning, like an early patching? You will have early testable prototipes that would either be part of the complete game or let some mechanics "fail faster". The Pixar model seems good, maybe the best posible "waterfall model", but still I see that there is some room for the scrum model.

  • I've got a different solution. Let them make their own small 'pet project' games and sell the good ones for money. Just keep them involved in the main project too so they can imput.

  • What if you had your team or pool of programmers and two development teams, one keeping the programmers busy, the other one planning the next project? Or would that shift the downtime towards the development teams too much?

  • Or contract out your preproduction. You don't have to know a thing about programming or modeling or any of that to design an awesome game narrative. Most of game preproduction is done with pen and paper, and is no different from developing a DnD game world, or a world for a novel. Game narrative might even improve, and the studio can focus on their current game. What game devs need to do, is think of their next game when their current one goes into production.

  • Its the same as my webdev agency, design is ahead of development. So theres always a new project to work on after we finish something.

  • Panupat Chongstitwattana says:

    Pixar is the very very minority you know. These days 99% of the studio would hire, say, 20 concept artists during pre-production and fire them all to hire animators once they start production. Just an example.

  • I don't really know how the industry works, but wouldn't it make sense that you could ask them to come in AFTER the pre-production stage and only pay them for when they work??

  • Stephen Jackiw says:

    I have a great idea and a small team that are interested in making a game but I keep running into the problem of getting stuck in preproduction. i am ready to work and trying to set deadlines but my team refuses to follow. any suggestions?

  • how about having a team dedicated to pre production planning only this can be a small team which would specialise in this matter and a specialised team for every diciple for that matter. Big studios with multiple projects can share these teams kinda like send them on contracts when their part of the job for a particular project is done. This allows variety and break from monotony for both the teams and the games that come out coz different team combinations will bring out different games. If the industry can be segmented into teams and can have trade of teams within themselves it will be a win win for everyone. as mentioned there are no agents available for the game industry but if the industry can restructue itself a bit to fit this modular work flow the studios themselves can be the agents. this will also allow smaller studios a lot of advantage. if they can hire an elite team to help their game out for a few months(lower cost than fully hiring full time teams) then the polished games would be so much better.

  • When you say " You're probably thinking…." and it ends up being exactly what I was thinking. Well shit, I've been Joseph Joestar'd

  • ya know while i was watching this i remembered an interview about the dev time in the newest Zelda game (breath of the wild?) talking about the justification of the amount of dev they used (over 300 or something). if these figures are right then HOLY CRAP THAT WAS AN EXPENSIVE GAME! how the heck do they make that back!?

  • As a programmer not in the gaming industry this doesn't really make sense. Programmers always have something worthwhile to do because software is never perfect. I mean once your studio moves on to the next project isn't there usually unfinished business to wrap up from the last project? Like fixing bugs or refactoring/organizing components, etc? Plus you could always give your programmers either training on new software so they'll be more efficient in the next project or personal time to work on pet projects that may or may not yield amazing results that were never planned.

  • I know I'm by no means someone to look to as an example as an unemployed college drop out who hasn't finished a single project yet due to scope creep, but here's something I'm trying with my development "team": I always have at least two projects in development that I drift between. Not necessarily two games, but two projects. I just poke projects and am basically in a constant state of pre-production for any given project, but always ensuring that at least one is active at any given time. Skill-wise, I'm low productivity on just about anything because of my lack of focus, but I'm pretty good at constant outpouring of ideas and good-naturedly pestering people. Maybe it'll work out well for us or maybe we'll crash and burn. If it doesn't crash and burn, then I guess that's somewhat of a solution to this problem. Problem is, I don't think that sort of model would scale well at the middling level of game development. Indie dev it might work, big developer it might work, it's basically just having a pre-production specialist who coordinates multiple smaller teams. Any mid-level company without the freedom of indie dev to take risks or the budget of a big developer might not be able to make this work. I'd be interested to see someone try though, cos people like me are probably unemployable in traditional roles of game dev and it'd be nice to see a field open up for people like me.

  • Kate Peterson says:

    Programmers should be doing prototyping during pre-production! Give us the freedom to create one feature at a time, learn what works – and then the freedom throw out that code entirely, try again and again, until we can do it RIGHT during production. Of course nobody wants to pay a programmer to write code that's not going into the product. But it reduces the number of bugs we have to fix later and improves the overall final quality.

  • Divide the development team into parts. Each team has a part they have to make. After they finish there part they move into pre production

  • MORE about this please.. as a person who is HIGHLY into orgnizing the ore-planning. i want to know more about pre-production. i didnt think i was such a problem in the video game making industry.. are thyere mathods for pre-production? are there tips for planing a game?

  • Naughty Dog spends about 6 months in preproduction, then almost a year in production. They juggle now. Working on two projects at a time, but I know the first time they started juggling projects was during Uncharted 3, they started working on The Last of US. I'm not sure how they did everything before then with 6 months of preproduction per game…

  • I used to be in a new indie team a couple years ago. All we did was talk on skype about 80% what the name of our team should be, 15% what the game should be like in the most vague sense (Steam punk sci-fi pixelated roguelike is what we eventually decided on.) and 5% one guy in our team talking about the lore and story of this world he's been building for years. What we never did is Pre-Production. So I kept telling them to make up some design documents and stop faffing around with generic ideas, and they kept telling me to get on to coding a game that I know nothing about. Next time, I'm starting my own team, and I'm going to be the lead designer, and a secondary Programmer. We'll plan out what we're doing before we start doing it. No wonder we never got much done.

  • Preproduction means good games.
    Pre-preproduction means great games.
    Now pre-pre-PREproduction…!

    That's just wasting time.

  • Joseph Bedwell says:

    Food for thought: 2K has roughly 7 months between WrestleMania and the release deadline. So between October 31 and March 31, They could have their devs releasing DLC of new superstars and such to keep the player occupied until the next game can be put on the shelf. Not only would this occupy the programmers and character devs, this would also buy plenty of time to plan the next project. And by the time you're ready to mash all this stuff into a big ball, playtest and ship, You'll already have premade characters and everything because you really just needed to throw some extra sauce onto the last game and ditch some really bad mechanics that no one ever touched anyway. Most game studios can do this.

  • อุดม เชาวนโกศล says:

    "the more of a game you build the more you relize you could have done it better" this is the painful truth that I experienced through my game developing. Fortunately I working on my hobby project so I can rebuild it as much as I want. It's getting better everytime but I never go beyond character control and animation because I never get satified with what I have done. I enjoyed it anyway. ^^

  • Blake McDermott says:

    Y don't they just have some programers fix bugs and glitches for older games while the pre production team works on the next project, or get the programers that have nothing to do to pich ideas to the pre production team

  • K1naku5ana3R1ka says:

    As I said in the episode on buggy games, this is why I (usually) prefer the low-key and indie games to the AAA industry. Games should be an form of art and entertainment, not just an assembly-line carte blanche to print money; games like The World Ends With You and Cave Story have far more genuine passion put into their work then whatever they call the most recent Call of Duty. That, and I’m not that fond of many of the most common AAA genres, especially FPSs, and my restriction to the DS line, Wii, and iOS means I can’t play a lot of AAA games even if I wanted to.

  • Saeryen Kalador says:

    As an indie dev, I have a question since this video is mostly about large teams. My "preproduction" was the creation of a story concept and deciding what the characters would look like, and what kind of mechanics I wanted. I'm currently writing a plot and creating a first draft of the whole game (I'm using RPG Maker by the way), then I plan to go through the game and do a second draft, fixing bugs and making things flow and work better, once those two things are finished.

    Do you have any advice for me? I also have thought of several other stories I'd like to make into games.

  • does not Nintendo do this with Zelda and Bethesda Assassins Creed? I have hird that while the guys who made Majoras Mask was working on it, the guys who made Ocarina of Time made Windwaker. I have also heard that there are three teams at any given time making the Assassins Creed series. Each team checks in on each other to see what new mechanics to add to the next game. Grappling hook. This could be a problem better solved for bigger teams. While smaller teams just have to force themselves to actually do pre-production and hopefully get into this cycle.

  • I feel as though there are tons of things you can have developers do while part of the team is off in preproduction. Given that a game design studio is nothing more than a software company finding something for your programmers should not be all that hard. For me, it is the artists and sound designers which might be hard to place. Let your devs work on 20% time projects or even organize in-house Game Jams. Let people work on cool tools that will help development no matter what project your working on. Flesh out your design tools that your company can sell. I am sure Unreal was not all that pretty until they decided to sell it. It probably worked ok for their needs and when someone suggested selling it they went back and reworked the whole thing to make it marketable. Everyone in the studio knows the red button here does this, "we are going to start selling this", oh crap lets give that an icon.

  • The name of the outro music is "Sweet Georgia Brown", not "Gypsy Jazz":
    Wikipedia article:
    Example on YouTube:

  • Ironically, I've been using a lot of my real estate investing tricks in starting my first game. I'm in the preproduction phase right now. Using your videos to help brainstorming, using a format I developed to develop blueprints and things-to-do lists, and while I'm still unsure of what engine I will use, or what art style will be chosen, I'm already talking with other producers to get quotes and make arrangements so that when it's time to hit the ground running, I can throw jobs at people who are well suited for the gig, and I can focus on my tasks without getting bogged down. As a small fry, I do have a personal rule to never undermine or lowball my team. Anyone who is worth their salt deserves respect and remuneration. And there are a lot of creative ways to structure the finances of an operation.

  • I have a friend who works on games (not gonna say his company or name cause he doesn't want me to) who has a good idea. He put it best when he said:
    "I don't even think about pitching ideas unless I can take my idea and write at least 50 pages on how it works, and how it's story works, and it's world, and so on. Usually a lot more. That way if I can get an idea of it, it can become a project with ease even if my scribbles are ignored, because if an idiot like me can write a substantial amount of background, the rest of my team can figure it out."

    I will say he works on a small team, but he is really thorough.

  • I think the main stepping stone for studios is to realize that wasting 1 or 2 million dollars on preproduction is better than driving a 100 million dollar project against a brick wall. Because the money is not actually wasted, its just that the results arent clearly visible. To me this really looks like a human bias, but can't find one that would fit right now.

  • It's the waste you see versus the waste you don't. If programmers sit on their asses because there's nothing for them to do, that's an overt, obvious waste. If they instead are busy doing work that later turns out to not be fit for purpose, that's a waste too, just not an overt one. In Lean business development, there's a saying: There is no worse waste than doing the wrong things efficiently.

  • 1:09 But I thought you were supposed to save the story for after you've built a prototype. You said so in one of your videos.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *