Synopses & Reviews
Game companies have started using a highly distributed development model involving use of creative terms to work on portions of games, and then compiling at the home company. Game industry veteran Tim Fields teaches video game producers and directors how to challenge conventional wisdom and make use of this model by working collaboratively in teams.
Fields interviews a broad spectrum of people in the industry, from producers at top game publishers, to small business owners in the US and UK. These subjects have a wealth of hard-earned experience in different facets of distributed development, and their stories provide a fascinating goldmine of information and insight.
Game Producers and Directors will learn just how to find the best people for any job, and work with them to make successful games, using a distributed development model.
A supplementary web site provides filmed interviews from the book, a forum, and additional tips and tricks.
* With 15 years of experience at major entertainment software publishers (Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony) Tim Fields is a widely recognized expert on using distributed teams to create games.
* Covers how to identify and contract partners, keep your project on track, and realize your game vision and and features more than a dozen case studies and engaging interviews from key game professionals - from companies responsible for the biggest games of today: ex. Madden NFL series, The Sims, Chocolatier.
* Provides valuable tested solutions to common pitfalls that can happen when companies use collaborative teams to create games.
Take control of your global game development team and make successful AAA game titles using the ‘Distributed Development’ model. Game industry veteran Tim Fields teaches you how to evaluate game deals, how to staff teams for highly distributed game development, and how to maintain challenging relationships in order to get great games to market. This book is filled with interviews with a broad spectrum of industry experts from top game publishers and business owners in the US and UK. A supplementary web site provides interviews from the book, a forum where developers and publishers can connect, and additional tips and tricks. Topics include:
- Building a core team that excels at working with external development partners.
- Finding and Evaluating studios and publishers to help get your game built.
- Effectively dividing up game projects into parts that can be distributed.
- Saving your teams from the brutality of crunch.
- Running your projects more efficiently and achieve better results.
- Includes interviews with game producers from Sony Online Entertainment, Disney Online, Blue Castle Games, Firebrand Games, Aspyr Games, and 2K Sports.
Table of Contents
Distributed Game Development
ii. Who is this document for?
Preamble on Distributed Development
i. Why would you have distributed development?
ii. Who we will meet in our case studies, and why we care about what they have to say.
Chapter 1: Organizing Your Teams
i. Types of Distributed Collaboration: How to Know what you need
ii. How to pick external collaborators
a. INTERVIEW: Fay Griffith - Head of outsourcing and external development, Electronic Arts. On How to Select Partners
iii. How to pick an external team
v. Roles & Responsibilities
a. INTERVIEW: Sergio Rosas - Studio Head CGBot, Monterrey Mexico. On Tailoring Creation Teams for Different Clients
vii. Quality Assurance
x. The contract and other legal issues
xi. Failure Study: When the Organization phase went wrong.
Chapter 2: Getting off on the right foot
i. Defining project parameters
1. Scheduling Goals, Techniques, Milestones
ii. Make sure you have a shared vision.
a. INTERVIEW: Bill Byrne - Freelance Motion Graphics Editor. Setting project tone through visuals.
iii. Kickoff Meetings
iv. Scheduling Types & Tactics
1. SCRUM/AGILE vs. WATERFALL
a. INTERVIEW: Everett Lee - Producer, Sony Entertainment. ?How to lead great teams through more agile planning.
v. Failure Study: When the schedule is wrong.
vi. Failure Study: When your vision is clouded.
Chapter 3: Maintaining the organism
i. Establishing & Maintaining Trust
a. INTERVIEW: Kyle Clark - VP Production, ReelFX. Delivering content to spec for motion pictures & television.
ii. Progress Checkpoints
iv. How to deal with product goal or design changes
a. INTERVIEW: Rhett Bennatt - Project Manager, Aspyre Entertainment. Nimble projects for maximum profits.
v. Cross Pollination
vi. Finaling and product submission
vii. Planning for your next date
viii. Failure Study: Feature Creep and the carnival of design changes.
Chapter 4: Site Visits
i. Site visits
ii. Who to send & why
iii. When to go?
a. INTERVIEW: Michael Wyman - Founder, Big Splash Entertainment. Distributed development for Casual Games.
iv. Representing your company and the project while on site.
vi. Language barriers
vii. Dealing with distractions
viii. Cultural Differences
a. INTERVIEW: Frank Klier - Senior Technical Director, Microsoft. Coordinating technical solutions across cultural boundaries.
ix. Regional Conditions
x. Helpful Tools for staying in touch with home base
xi. Failure Study: What happens when communication between home base and the field goes awry.
Chapter 5: Common Situations
i. Hot Potato Projects
a. INTERVIEW: Mark Greenshields - President, Firebrand Games. Delivering quality products on time.
ii. Crisis Management
iii. The constantly moving target
iv. Bug Counts / Defect management
vi. Central Content Teams
vii. Central Tech Groups
viii. Sense of Urgency
a. INTERVIEW: Dave Hawkins - Managing Director, Exient LTD. How to select projects for your development team.
ix. Failure Case: When the bugs eat you.
i. Wrapping it up
ii. What the future holds
iii. Where to get more information
iv. Helpful templates