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Assembling your game team.<br />Rudrasen Sitoleh<br />7 Levels Studio<br />11/12/2011<br />www.7levelstudios.com<br />
Agenda<br />Introductions<br />Observations<br />11/12/2011<br />www.7levelstudios.com<br /><ul><li>  Planning
Client
Pre-production
Hiring
  Execution
Have a process and follow it.
Manage communication.
Setup Systems</li></li></ul><li>Premise<br />By “Assembling your team” I imply making them productive.<br />This is a prim...
Who am I ?<br />B.E & M.S. Computer Science<br />Lived and worked in the Silicon Valley from 2000-2010.<br />Intel, Consum...
Audience<br />Directly/indirectly manage people in a game studio <br />Small team, for the most part. i.e. one layer of ma...
Isn’t game dev like any IT dev?<br />For engineering, Yes they are  similar. <br />Software obeys the same good practices ...
Great topics for another day<br />Business development, PR, Marketing<br />Project management<br />Management theory<br />...
Planning<br />Client Assessment and interaction<br />Preproduction<br />Hiring<br />11/12/2011<br />www.7levelstudios.com<...
Client – Due diligence<br />Yes, they  are indirectly part of your team, simply because they influence the outcome.<br />P...
Client – Interaction<br />Presuming you have resolved the legal and financial matters.<br />Establish how they need to rep...
Planning - Preproduction<br />Traditionally done by publisher for green lighting.<br />An essential step in game productio...
What is preproduction?<br />Pre-production is when the Game Development team works on defining the production pipelines, i...
Planning - Preproduction<br />Traditionally done by publisher for green lighting.<br />An essential step in game productio...
Planning – Preproduction for you <br />I think, you can use it to assess and establish<br />Overall team competency and ca...
Planning - Hiring<br />Prepare for the realities of hiring as a non-blue chip company in India.<br />Phone screens and pro...
Execution<br />Process – Have one and follow it<br />Manage Communications<br />Setup systems<br />11/12/2011<br />www.7le...
Execution - Process<br />Collaboratively work out your team interactions<br />Meeting schedules<br />Daily report-ins <br ...
Execution – Manage Communications<br />Establish a common vocabulary for entire team<br />Capture it in an accessible form...
Manage Communications<br />Recognize the value of in-person interaction<br />Quality and quantity of knowledge transferred...
Execution – Setup systems<br />Document repository ( GDD, TDD, Art Bible, etc)<br />Task Tracking (Basecamp, Excel, Google...
Execution: Pipeline & Workflows<br />You team is a production system; not a hobbyist get-together. <br />In order to funct...
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Assembling you game team

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Basics of setting up you Game team – focus on remote teams
This talk will focus on the due diligence required on three areas before you begin game development.
1. Planning
2. Process
3. Systems

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Transcript of "Assembling you game team"

  1. 1. Assembling your game team.<br />Rudrasen Sitoleh<br />7 Levels Studio<br />11/12/2011<br />www.7levelstudios.com<br />
  2. 2. Agenda<br />Introductions<br />Observations<br />11/12/2011<br />www.7levelstudios.com<br /><ul><li> Planning
  3. 3. Client
  4. 4. Pre-production
  5. 5. Hiring
  6. 6. Execution
  7. 7. Have a process and follow it.
  8. 8. Manage communication.
  9. 9. Setup Systems</li></li></ul><li>Premise<br />By “Assembling your team” I imply making them productive.<br />This is a primer, not a panacea. There is no silver bullet.<br />You need to find your own equation in your environment and team.<br />11/12/2011<br />www.7levelstudios.com<br />
  10. 10. Who am I ?<br />B.E & M.S. Computer Science<br />Lived and worked in the Silicon Valley from 2000-2010.<br />Intel, Consumer internet startup, MMORPG studio<br />2011 back here in Pune.<br />Started independent game studio.<br />Develop and consult for casual and social games on Flash and IOS.<br />Original IP games and interactive products.<br />Playing and coding games in 1985, Sinclair ZX and Commodore 64<br />11/12/2011<br />www.7levelstudios.com<br />
  11. 11. Audience<br />Directly/indirectly manage people in a game studio <br />Small team, for the most part. i.e. one layer of management hierarchy.<br />In-charge of delivering a game to a client/customer.<br />You want to manage your onsite and / or remote team, in a sustainable manner.<br />You are interested in making good games, professionally<br />There is some degree of creative risk in your project. i.e. you are not merely cloning games.<br />11/12/2011<br />www.7levelstudios.com<br />
  12. 12. Isn’t game dev like any IT dev?<br />For engineering, Yes they are similar. <br />Software obeys the same good practices and axioms<br />As well as impacted by same issues such as, technical debt.<br />Chasing fun & delivering an experience instead of mere functionality. <br />Viability Vs. playability<br />Integrating design, content & software <br />Developing via workflows and asset pipelines<br />You have to understand and harness the “creative process” through iteration & refinement. <br />A delivery date and the pressure thereof. <br />11/12/2011<br />www.7levelstudios.com<br />
  13. 13. Great topics for another day<br />Business development, PR, Marketing<br />Project management<br />Management theory<br />Post launch issues.<br />SCRUM/Agile – next door<br />11/12/2011<br />www.7levelstudios.com<br />
  14. 14. Planning<br />Client Assessment and interaction<br />Preproduction<br />Hiring<br />11/12/2011<br />www.7levelstudios.com<br />
  15. 15. Client – Due diligence<br />Yes, they are indirectly part of your team, simply because they influence the outcome.<br />Please take the time to assess your client and their demands. <br />Case study: Is this in Dollar or Rupees?<br />11/12/2011<br />www.7levelstudios.com<br />
  16. 16. Client – Interaction<br />Presuming you have resolved the legal and financial matters.<br />Establish how they need to reported to and updated<br />How will their input be factored into the production process?<br />11/12/2011<br />www.7levelstudios.com<br />
  17. 17. Planning - Preproduction<br />Traditionally done by publisher for green lighting.<br />An essential step in game production.<br />So what is it ?<br />11/12/2011<br />www.7levelstudios.com<br />
  18. 18. What is preproduction?<br />Pre-production is when the Game Development team works on defining the production pipelines, identifying the needs and uses of the tools they’ll need to make the game, and outlining and fleshing out the details behind the game’s design.<br />Pre- production is the exploration of what the game is about and where is the fun.<br />11/12/2011<br />www.7levelstudios.com<br />
  19. 19. Planning - Preproduction<br />Traditionally done by publisher for green lighting.<br />An essential step in game production.<br />This stage is fully iterative and incremental.<br /> “What are we going to build and why?” <br />Find a way to communicate this to your entire team and client.<br />Documents (GDD, TDD, Art bible), Wikis<br />Prototypes, Concept Art, Storyboards<br />11/12/2011<br />www.7levelstudios.com<br />
  20. 20. Planning – Preproduction for you <br />I think, you can use it to assess and establish<br />Overall team competency and capability.<br />Understand your risks and capacity to deliver and therefore curtail budgets and scope.<br />To set a realistic schedule and milestones, with client.<br />Pitfall : you cannot do preproduction in your head or a meeting or in document.<br />Your team can only learn through execution.<br />This way to you have tested and stressed your workflows.<br />11/12/2011<br />www.7levelstudios.com<br />
  21. 21. Planning - Hiring<br />Prepare for the realities of hiring as a non-blue chip company in India.<br />Phone screens and programming test are effective filter. A great shortcut to eliminate duds.<br /> The lack of vocabulary in software, tools or game domain can be stifling if the technical person is remote. Since 90% communication is funneled into text or voice.<br />Document a hard skills and soft skills selection criteria for each position.<br /> Then communicate it to respective managers and leads<br />11/12/2011<br />www.7levelstudios.com<br />
  22. 22. Execution<br />Process – Have one and follow it<br />Manage Communications<br />Setup systems<br />11/12/2011<br />www.7levelstudios.com<br />
  23. 23. Execution - Process<br />Collaboratively work out your team interactions<br />Meeting schedules<br />Daily report-ins <br />Progress tracking<br />Create a protocol for issue escalation, decision making.<br />Clearly delineate the roles, responsibilities and ownership of each lead.<br />Work proactively to identity & resolve: <br />the overlaps in ownership & boundaries<br />Possible transgressions, as well resulting conflict.<br />Gaps or chasms in ownership in the overall deliverables<br />Agree on how, who and when you will update the client.<br />11/12/2011<br />www.7levelstudios.com<br />
  24. 24. Execution – Manage Communications<br />Establish a common vocabulary for entire team<br />Capture it in an accessible format <br />Disseminate it<br />11/12/2011<br />www.7levelstudios.com<br />
  25. 25. Manage Communications<br />Recognize the value of in-person interaction<br />Quality and quantity of knowledge transferred visually and via tacit interaction.<br />To compensate for the lack of above, you need to adopt a level of formality and rigor in our communication<br />Useful for members with limited language ability.<br />11/12/2011<br />www.7levelstudios.com<br />
  26. 26. Execution – Setup systems<br />Document repository ( GDD, TDD, Art Bible, etc)<br />Task Tracking (Basecamp, Excel, Google docs)<br />Source control and / or content repositories<br />Bug and issue tracking<br />IT roles and tasks outlined<br />All major systems have to be decided in advance and setup, in order to get your machine moving.<br />11/12/2011<br />www.7levelstudios.com<br />
  27. 27. Execution: Pipeline & Workflows<br />You team is a production system; not a hobbyist get-together. <br />In order to function effectively and efficiently you need to have clear workflows and pipelines.<br />11/12/2011<br />www.7levelstudios.com<br />
  28. 28. Execution: Workflows<br />Create workflows for :<br />code check-ins, builds, smoke tests <br />Art and content integration, QA, triage.<br />Collaborate and get buy-in from leads for their respective workflows. <br />Top down enforcement may not be effective.<br />If, task tracking might be good enough, then no need to go overboard with full blown SCRUM or XP<br />Workflows do not have to be elaborate;<br />Just commensurate with your needs.<br />11/12/2011<br />www.7levelstudios.com<br />
  29. 29. Execution: Pipelines<br />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.<br />Identify your pipelines ( Art, Sound, Text)<br />What are the steps?<br />Who’s responsible?<br />Bottlenecks<br />Import/export issues & inefficiencies<br />Engineering side integration<br />11/12/2011<br />www.7levelstudios.com<br />
  30. 30. Execution: Pipelines<br />Cycle through it and test it as early as possible.<br />Example: Integration woes due to simultaneous content update. The big bang approach.<br />11/12/2011<br />www.7levelstudios.com<br />
  31. 31. Recap<br />Planning is key to avoid failure.<br />You team is not merely a bunch of developers and artists but, is defined by:<br />Processes they follow<br />Systems they use <br />Culture they embrace<br />Stay agnostic and determine what is appropriate for your team.<br />11/12/2011<br />www.7levelstudios.com<br />
  32. 32. Thanks<br />Please share your stories and views on my blog at http://www.7levelstudios.com/blog<br />11/12/2011<br />www.7levelstudios.com<br />
  33. 33. Q & A<br />Please be brief<br />11/12/2011<br />www.7levelstudios.com<br />

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