C H A P T E R in Software

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C H A P T E R
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The two words production and development are used somewhat differently depending on whether they re referring to a group of people or a process When we speak of the group of people collectively called production, we mean the producers and associated employees at the publisher When we speak of the group called development, we mean the programmers and other developers, either at a development company (external development) or at the publisher (internal development) However, when we speak of the process, the two terms are fairly interchangeable The game is in production and the game is in development mean the same thing
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Two Different Mindsets
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Apart from actual job responsibilities, the differences between production and development are largely attitudinal, and have to do with who it is they re working for and why Production must always think of the game as a product, a consumer item to be sold at retail They re concerned with being sure it gets done on time and under budget, and above all that it meets the publisher s needs The producer is ultimately responsible to the publisher for the quality and enjoyability of the product, but also for its salability A good producer always has her company s financial interests at heart Development, on the other hand, sees the game more as a creative work Obviously, they want it to sell well and make a lot of money, but actually selling it is the publisher s problem The developer s day-to-day concern is making the game fun, exciting, challenging, and attractive, and his reward is the opportunity to express his creativity The work becomes an end in itself
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The suits may call it product, but the process of making a really good game is about finding some way of transferring your joy, pride, and love of your creation to the end user Robin Green, R&D Programmer, Sony Computer Entertainment of America
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This isn t a rigid division, of course: developers also care about getting the game done on time, and producers care about making it wonderful But the distinction is still there, generating a gentle (and sometimes not-so-gentle) tug of war between creative perfectionism on one side and business pragmatism on the other (While Michelangelo was painting the Sistine Chapel, Pope Julius II, who was paying for it, asked him repeatedly, When will you make an end ! Michelangelo s reply: When it s finished )
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What about Internal Development
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When development takes place inside a publishing company, these divisions are smoothed over a little Everyone s working under one roof, and they re all depending on the same outfit for their paycheck How strongly they feel the distinction between
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Skills and Careers in the Game Industry
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I N T O
T H E
G A M E
I N D U S T R Y
How to Get a Job Making Video Games
production and development depends on how the company is organized For example, the development team could be independent of the production team, reporting to a development manager That s how it was when I first got a job as a programmer at Electronic Arts (EA) I had a producer, but he was actually on another floor of the building, and I felt my primary responsibility was to my development manager On the other hand, the developers could be directly under the producer, so they re all part of the same team In that case, the tug-of-war between creativity and pragmatism (or between art and business, if you like) is more likely to be a matter of individual viewpoints than part of a collective attitude
Internal and External Producers: Still More Confusion!
Originally, the title of producer was only used for an employee at a publishing company Development companies were so small that they didn t have much management apart from a lead programmer In time, however, as development companies grew, they began to get full-time development managers, and just to complicate matters further, the development companies began to call these people producers as well So now an externally developed game might have two producers: one at the publisher, looking out for its interests; and one at the development company, overseeing the actual construction of the game As a result, the concept of internal and external producers has arisen but it doesn t mean internal and external to the publisher as it does with internal and external development Instead, it refers to the location of the producer with respect to the development team Ellen Beeman, whose story you ll read a little later in this chapter, is an internal producer working at Monolith, a development company, on an externally developed product for their publisher, Sierra Entertainment That is, she has a development team working for her inside her company, so she is an internal producer In the meantime, Sierra Entertainment also has a producer responsible for the product at their end Because development is taking place outside Sierra, this person is an external producer In order to avoid further confusion, in this chapter I ll pretend that all producers work for publishers If I need to talk about the person overseeing development at a development company, I ll call that person the development manager
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