See, Wheels Are Round

One of my pet peeves about MMO development is the burning need everyone has to reinvent the damn wheel. “Hrm, in THIS game, individually animated blades of grass and body morphing created ungodly lag? Well, in OUR game, our magic technology will save the day!” Or, and I can’t count how many times I’ve heard this one in regards to too many titles, “By the time we launch, people will own processors that can handle it.” That should be translated as “I can’t even predict what I’m going to have for lunch, but trying to predict the pace of technological advancement and consumer adoption will make me look like a Visionary the next time I speak at a conference.”

To this, I say “sdjlkghsdfljgksdrh!!!” That can be translated as “smashing my head on the keyboard.” Is it that hard to, say, six months before launch, get your hands on a top of the line machine, run your beta, and make it run better than a grandmotherly double amputee through a lake of molasses THEN? Make your adjustments THEN, not in the last two weeks of beta? How many betas do we have to live through where the dev team says “I know the (insert endgame concept here) is a slideshow, but we have MAGIC CODE to deploy on launch day tomorrow”?

I also can’t get over how everyone pretends that the development of an MMO is a mysterious process akin to alchemy, with a side order of virgin sacrifice. Don’t we have enough people who have made these games by now that schedules can be evaluated before crisis mode is initiated? Are there not enough competent managers who can say “You have ten quest writers, three QA guys, and six months, therefore you can have X quests that are good, or X*2 quests that are okay”? Are there not enough leaders with the experience and balls to say “Actually, that kind of system will take two months of preproduction, three of implementation, and will still end up a grindy mess, and you should know that because you ripped it off of X.”

And I don’t want to hear about how sometimes shit happens, or that the creative process cannot be regulated. My ASS. I used to do theater. If you’ve got good designers and actors, and adequate preproduction time that isn’t spent at a pool hall or in endless “conceptualization” mental masturbation sessions, you can sit down with a calendar and say “if we start on this date, we can deliver an enjoyable product on this date.” And that’s taking into account a workforce consisting of A) people who periodically have mental breakdowns to demonstrate their artistic purity, and B) people who are more emotionally stable but also more prone to “I double dog dare you to chug the rest of that Jagermeister.” God. I still can’t drink that stuff and it’s been more than ten years. At any rate, most game people somewhat better adjusted/less addled by hallucinogens than theater people, so I expect better performance, not worse.

They teach scheduling, pre-production, time management, and planning in every cow college with a stage in America. I’m given to understand that the same sorts of skills are taught in your better technical schools. Maybe the MMO industry could import a few producers from the world of repertory summer stock, and throw in a couple civil engineers. And then take all the people obstructing progress and lock them in a conference room until they pass out from whiteboard marker fumes and the stench of their own self-importance.

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34 Comments

  1. Jamba said,

    June 2, 2008 at 1:22 am

    Amen sister.

  2. Bryant said,

    June 2, 2008 at 1:50 am

    Oddly enough, Jeffrey Steefel (LOTRO exec producer) has a theater background. He’s damned good at scheduling and motivating, too, speaking as someone who had the distinct pleasure of working with him. So yeah — more of that, please, game industry.

  3. Dragoness Eclectic said,

    June 2, 2008 at 1:57 am

    MMO production is a subset of software engineering. Every stupid thing you mentioned is found in the larger software world–and the sad thing is, there are known ways to deal with the problems. Unfortunately, there’s too many managers who think that they don’t have time or budget for proper testing & QA, project leaders who think that configuration management and version control are unnecessary because ‘it’s just our small group and IT won’t let us install new servers anyway’, and cowboy coders who think documentation and programming for maintainability is for wusses, not to mention marketing people who sell features and *THEN* ask the devs if they can actually implement them.

    I’ve seen beautiful open source code that had few or no bugs. It was a purely object-oriented, top-down design that reduced to simple routines calling simple routines, avoiding byzantine interactions between modules, and each level was easy to understand and was thoroughly tested. (It was also written in Python; I’ve written code like that in C++). It can be done. It can also be documented as it is written so that it’s easy to maintain when the new dev has to maintain your old code.

    There’s no good reason for a stock object, like a quest-giver NPC, to work sometimes and not others. If your game code is well-conceived and well-designed, and games objects are created with sensible defaults, the basic functionality was all tested in alpha and beta and the bugs kicked out. Basic functionality bugs shouldn’t be popping up a week after public launch. (I’m looking at a certain recently released MMORPG, yes…)

    If your programmers are hand-coding each NPC mob differently, they need to be slapped with a dead fish. Repeatedly. Any common, standard game object should have common, standard game code that can be inherited and modified for special cases, but works by default. Anything else is a maintenance nightmare.

  4. Matt said,

    June 2, 2008 at 6:35 am

    Many games ship late.

    Most good games ship late.

    Pretty much all good+innovative games ship late.

    From that, you can either deduce that game scheduling is newer or more complex than theatre scheduling, or you can deduce that everyone in game development is incompetent.

  5. Sharkwald said,

    June 2, 2008 at 10:19 am

    I deduce both Matt. While the industry as a whole isn’t (yet) as good at scheduling as other disciplines, there seems to be an utter lack of effort to get that good. Because hey, $good_game shipped late, so we can too. No. This is unacceptable. Just because everyone’s equally shit doesn’t mean anyone has a right to be shit.

  6. Merlyn said,

    June 2, 2008 at 11:05 am

    QA just isn’t sexy enough in gaming….

    I know that open betas tend to be filled with whining and bitching, and not enough actual testing.

    Unfortunately, not even Blizzard, with their “when it’s done”, release dates is immune from releasing games, expansions, and even patches that still aren’t working a week or more after release.

    It’s gotten old. Hopefully someday gamers will quit accepting it as SOP and stop buying this tripe.

  7. GrimParrot said,

    June 2, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    The difference between game development and other software development is that in games you have a market that has a LOT more demand than supply. The reason developers continue to operate like they do is because they know they can. Gamers desperately want what they THINK the final product will be like, it never is, and wind up waiting for the next product to fill the need. A bit like illegal drugs actually. Build another MMO that scratches the itch without asinine bugs or draconian customer relations and we will see the next WoW. Until then we’ll see huge initial sales followed by dwindling subscriptions when the next big hope hits.

    No, if change is going to come, it will come from inside the industry. Why you people put up with the kind of work conditions you do I have no idea. At least I hear things at EA are getting better.

  8. Syp said,

    June 2, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    Gah! Thank you! This has always been bugging me about MMO development, but I just assumed I was too unexperienced and uninformed as to the whole mystical process to make any sort of keen observation about why this seems to be the one industry that not only eschews timely updates and dev schedules, but bites at players who demand it of them.

  9. Josh Goldshlag said,

    June 2, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    I haven’t been working in the game industry for a good 10 years now, but when I was, the software development practices were a good 10/15 years behind the state of the art. The problem is that game development attracts young, inexperienced developers. The pay in game dev is way below other development and the hours suck, so experienced developers from other fields are not going to come back to game development.

  10. Loredena said,

    June 2, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    The problem is conflating the designer (deep thoughts, overarching vision, yada yada) with the project manager. The creative aspects of good design do not necesssarily go hand-in-hand with the detail oriented aspects of good project management.

  11. Loredena said,

    June 2, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    Oh, and as mentioned above — an MMO *might* be willing to pay me what i deserve as a good project manager if they’ve caught the clue bus. But, it’s quite apparent they still don’t pay developers what I would expect to be paid if I was still a developer. (Honestly — with the pay and working conditions as they are today, you’re pretty well stuck with inexperienced players, because anyone who started out in industry instead isn’t going to take the pay cut in $s per real hours worked to move to gaming).

  12. sanyaweathers said,

    June 2, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    I totally agree with your second post, Loredena, which makes up for my vehement disagreement with your first 🙂

    I’ve seen entirely new plays and musicals go from design/writing to full production in one year. There is plenty of room for the two to coexist. In theater, it works because the deep thinkers (usually) realize they aren’t equipped to bring off the final product, and the creative types in charge of execution are legally bound to respect every sacred word of the writers/designers.

    In gaming, however, every two bit manager thinks he’s a designer and deserves to be a part of design, and while he’s off utterly failing at that, no one is minding the production lines.

  13. RogueSlayer said,

    June 2, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    Sorry Sanya, but while wheels may indeed be round that does not mean that people (developers) should stop trying to improve on the mode of transportation. This includes all the trip ups, stumbles and failures along the way. One day, an MMO may graduate from the use of wheels, to a plane.

  14. Sisca said,

    June 3, 2008 at 12:25 am

    First a disclaimer: I’m her husband so maybe I’m used to reading what she meant to say :).

    I think what Loredena was leading to with her first post is exactly what you pointed out. It’s not only that “every two bit manager thinks he’s a designer” it’s also that every designer thinks that letting someone else drive the schedule will somehow “destroy their vision”. And these designers make worse project managers than the managers make designers.

    Of course, your point about while the managers are off playing designer no one is minding the store is also true but, in a way, that spawns from the second post. If you entry level wages you get entry level people and from what I see based on the “crunch” factor the game industry pays less than entry level wages for the vast majority of their positions. Also, from personal experience, you’ll find it almost impossible to be considered for a mid to upper level project management type position unless you have years of experience in the GAME industry. Not 5 years of project management experience in the software industry or even 5 years of experience in the entertainment industry. So the only people getting into those positions are the people that are responsible for the current state that you lament.

    Oh and RogueSlayer: My take from her post wasn’t that devs should quit trying to push the envelope but they they should quit doing in the same stupid way over and over again. If you’re going to push the technical envelope at least make sure your game is playable on the CURRENT state of the art or at least make sure your engine scales decently.

  15. Loredena said,

    June 3, 2008 at 12:38 am

    Sanya, that’s what I meant though — from your theatre description it would seem that your writer isn’t your director, and that’s how it should be. Too often I’ve read gaming job descriptions, or designer profiles, that imply the designer is also the project manager. In anything but a small project, that’s a recipe for disaster! Your average to large project is one where project management is a full time job – if your 2bit PM is trying to design, he’s not doing his job. And if your designer is trying to do the project mgmt, he’s not doing HIS job either.

  16. RogueSlayer said,

    June 3, 2008 at 12:49 am

    __________
    Oh and RogueSlayer: My take from her post wasn’t that devs should quit trying to push the envelope but they they should quit doing in the same stupid way over and over again. If you’re going to push the technical envelope at least make sure your game is playable on the CURRENT state of the art or at least make sure your engine scales decently.
    __________

    As for doing it the stupid way over and over, that is true to a limited extent. It takes those little baby steps though to grow. Even though the MMORPG genre (in its modern state) has been around 10 or so years, it still in many ways is the new kid on the block and developers and players are both in someway still trying to test the waters.

    At some point in the future, a developer will be able to place all these baby steps we have seen in recent memory into a single game with even better improvements and have something that truly is new. Yet, based on all the trials and errors of today.

    As to using current tech please see my reply to the Julie Whitefeather post here. http://www.virginworlds.com/pg.php?n=10090

  17. Arrakiv said,

    June 3, 2008 at 1:55 am

    Sanya, you have this strange way of wording complaints I frequently see in some of the best ways I have seen them worded. Now, if said complaints would be listened too…

  18. June 3, 2008 at 6:24 am

    Oh, Sanya, do you really have that short of a memory? Do you really not remember what it’s like inside the beast?

    First, let me dispel your comparison with theater: I’ve heard that theater might have a slightly long history than game development. Let’s look at Plato’s writing about game development. Oh, wait…. Not that I buy the whole “the game industry is so young!’ arguments wholesale, but you gotta do better than that.

    As for game development not fitting in the schedule: it’s that magical word “fun”. Typical software can be tested to see if it fulfills the requirement. For a calculator, you check to see if it adds, subtracts, multiplies, divides, etc. A game, on the other hand, not only has to be technically correct, it as to be fun. As I’ve said several times before, there is no unit test for fun. Designs are mostly someone’s best guess (or the best guess of a group). Trying to define fun gives you things like focus groups and design by committee, which doesn’t work.

    That said, there definitely should be more project management in our projects. We worked with a good project manager in one of my previous gigs at a company in Germany, and while the game didn’t reach production, it was nice to have real guidance for how to organize the work instead of just going, “Uh, I dunno, that may take a month? Maybe.”

    The other issue is one that’s been pissing me off recently: secrecy. For some reason, people think their work is top secret information that would compromise world security if they told anyone. Except: they still tell people and word passes around some circles, but not always to people that could benefit or even help the people. Much of the information that would benefit the industry stays hidden. A few developers write professional blogs and talk about their work and some of the secrets of their success (in relative terms), but we tend to be few and far in between. Most of the advances in the state of the art are hidden behind the scenes because it could be a “trade secret” and helping the competition would be the end of the world; gods know nobody could compete on game quality.

    [/rant]

  19. Genstein said,

    June 3, 2008 at 10:56 am

    Like the rest of software development, it shouldn’t be alchemy. But a lot of software companies (I can’t speak for games companies) tend to decide the product; insist on controlling the presence or absence of features in the product; provide a team of up to a certain size based on the company’s (not the product’s) needs, capacity and expectations, and including either a) whichever bunch of guys aren’t working on anything right now or b) if that’s not enough, those fellas plus enough jobless ballast to pad out the numbers; and c) decide the deadline based on “commercial considerations”. Companies fix what goes into the process, keep churning the handle and prey something comes out in the end. Hence the alchemy. If you say to a guy, “Hey, I need gold by Thursday; you’ve got two guys to help, and I can only give you this bauxite and these curling tongs to work with. Now chop chop!” then you’re either going to get a) disappointed or b) alchemy.

    The three potentially variable inputs into a software schedule are your features, your technical people, and your deadline. Fix them all and your technical staff’s only viable means of influencing the likelihood of delivery is prayer.

    The larger the company gets, the more people who don’t understand software development will be involved in deciding some or all of these three factors. I don’t care if you’re a division manager, brand manager for the Czech Republic, QA manager, writer, cleaner, lifeguard or Pope: if you don’t understand how software is constructed, then attempting to influence software planning and scheduling after the “suggestion box” stage does not increase the likelihood of successful, timely delivery. You’d be better off “helping” by regularly cycling the building’s power, setting fire to the server room, or poisoning people’s lunches.

    I have friends who work in theater, and I think it’s fair to say that the beautiful thing about planning theater versus software is that theater tends to avoid suffering from the same problems you get when you’re building something out of air in a non-Euclidian space using, essentially, pure thought. Stage hands don’t tend to spontaneously combust or turn into wildfowl mid way through Act I. The stage doesn’t fold up and get sucked into a singularity when certain actors stand at certain key positions. The script, no matter how verbose, is not several million pages long, nor is not being executed by an idiot savant who can only understand monosyllabic verb noun pairs in a language containing only voiceless fricatives. Hence, the likelihood of your average play going off successfully and on time is rather higher than that of your average software project.

  20. John Walters said,

    June 3, 2008 at 11:46 am

    QA ! = QC.

    The software industry as a whole (and especially the games industry) needs to come to grips with the fact that Quality Assurance (preventative/proactive – dealing with ensuring the processes and procedures work and meet a level of quality that enables the system to function) does not equate to Quality Control (which is reactive, seeking defects to be repaired).

    Until the frameworks that work, PMI, CMMI, etc are tailored and made pervasive through the industry, it will continually wallow in mediocrity, with occasional pings of brightness that are due as much to heroics as discipline.

  21. sanyaweathers said,

    June 3, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    Brian, my precious, the established nature of theater was my whole point. If the game industry can’t figure out how to make a project manager do a decent job as a manager without also wanting to be the designer, the producer, and the Deep Thinker… then it’s time to import the talent from industries that have figured out how to do it while A) creating art that is B) enjoyable for the paying consumer.

    /agree with you on the secrecy thing. The big secret is that the only secret sauce is the company “vibe” – is this a company where it’s safe and enjoyable to be creative, where your overtime is valued instead of taken for granted? The only trade secrets are in the code itself.

    I gotta say Genstein has identified the weak part of my argument in a really hilarious way. I think acting and software may well have more in common than software and stagecraft.

  22. Calaruis said,

    June 3, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    I’ve done programming, and yes, it is akin to alchemy with a side of virgin sacrifices. Now that I’m a system administrator, it’s just a little blood sacrificing to the new hardware, usually my own.

  23. Lore said,

    June 3, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    Innovation in the MMO industry can be a weird thing. Sometimes it turns out to be reinventing the wheel, sometimes it’s taking the same wheel and giving it chrome spinners. And in all honesty, sometimes those ideas are really good. But too many times I’ve seen MMO developers basically say “We’ve got amazing visuals and a Never Before Seen™ combat system… now go kill 10 mottled boars.”

    I think part of it is, in fact, that the MMO “science” is still relatively new in comparison to some of the older, more established genres. This ties a little bit into the second part of your post as well. MMO as a design element doesn’t stray far from its roots in the MMORPG market – in fact the two terms are nearly synonymous. This is probably partly because even the “me too” MMORPGs can be very lucrative, and partly because none of the “MMOSomethingelse” games have really taken off (Planetside comes to mind) which just reinforces and rewards the “me too” philosophy. The innovations, when they do occur, tend to just be refinements of the well-established MMORPG recipe, or perhaps more commonly, just making the same game look a little prettier.

    At any rate, that’s all kind of tangential. I’m not “on the inside”. I’m just a player who does his best to keep up with everything. It just seems like with as long as the MMO market – hell, the gaming market – have been around, if we can’t figure out how to tell how long it’s going to make to create a game, at least the games being released would be a little more distinguished from each other.

  24. June 3, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    It’s not that the game industry can’t do project management. As I said, my job as lead designer on a project in Germany had a real project manager who was able to do some good work even in the early stages. The problem is that we insist on lumping the “Project Manager” position in with the “Producer” position. Sometimes the people who are great producers, those that know how to forge personal relationships and resolve conflicts between the prima donnas who frequent game development, aren’t the same people with the attention to detail required to make sure a detailed schedule is kept and updated. And, I’m not just talking about a Project sheet with entries such as “Write Graphics Engine – 2 years” in it.

    I don’t think “importing” talent is going to work. Not to say that brilliant individuals with training in other areas (like theater) can’t help, but how will that person be able to manage game developers if they don’t understand game development? The last thing that game developers usually put up with is someone who doesn’t understand the process trying to inform that process. It’s just as Genstein wrote above: if you don’t understand what’s going on, you probably aren’t contributing meaningfully to the process. The problem is that sometimes people don’t want to admit they have flaws; someone may accept a lead designer position in order to get the “cool” job of writing the design from the beginning, but can’t admit they suck at things like managing other designers because they couldn’t be a lead then.

    So, I guess another aspect of my rant is that the job titles tend to be too broad. As I said, the person who can lead the design the best may not be the same person you want managing the designers. The person who can manage the designers may not have the same skills required to write good design documents. Yet, the industry usually expects both out of the person we call “lead designer”. Same with the Producer example I gave above, but that poor term tends to be abused in ways that make even orphans in a Dickens novel cry.

    My further thoughts.

  25. sanyaweathers said,

    June 4, 2008 at 2:21 am

    Hrm. You’re making a lot of sense, when you point out the mutually exclusive skill sets involved in the same job title.

    However, I am now further emboldened to suggest my own former career track’s solutions! Do you know what happens in a union shop when an actor picks up a hammer? For that matter, do you know what happens in a union shop when the badly paid, entry level people are forced to work for more than eight hours without a break?

    See, because there are dozens of wannabees for every job, theater people could very easily be exploited… oh wait, that doesn’t sound AT ALL familiar!

    Sure, it gets taken too far, as all of us who ever sat and rotted in a cavernous convention center (waiting for the sole Authorized Cart Pusher to fetch the shipping crates) know. But actors with hammers are rarely safe or productive… and neither are the hacks with design document access.

  26. Frank said,

    June 4, 2008 at 11:44 am

    Thankfully, the actual customers who patronize MMOs are actually speaking out about this kind of thing more often than not, and while you definitely have to sift through the usual nonsense to get to some legitimate points, launch stability is a greater and greater concern to players.

    The companies are sort of getting it. They are definitely in a mode where they are thinking “if we release and it sucks ass, we’re fucked”, which is why you see more pushbacks more often than not.

    Still, to play devil’s advocate, it sure seems like server technology totally fails to scale with the network and hardware requirements to support MMOs. Anytime you see a new zone or something open up in an MMO or something otherwise shiny that requires you being in one or two places, it’s a slideshow. I can agree that partial responsibility falls on the developer to prepare as much as they can for these contingencies, but at the same time, without knowing dick about how the industry actually works I have a sense that the tech just isn’t there to handle Johnny McMMOAddict and his 500+ friends in the same place.

  27. Matt said,

    June 4, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    I’m currently contracting with a company that has a very qualified president, several great producers (all on one project), a reasonable and knowledgeable design team, an art team that can deliver on-time consistently, a full-time QA staff from day one, low-ego high-talent programmers, and on and on.

    They’re using the best software dev techniques they could find from outside the gamedev world. They’re very responsive to where those techniques don’t match up with the different demands of game development, and adapt them where possible.

    And it’s still really difficult. They have none of the problems you named in your rant, and it’s still impossible to create an ambitious, exciting, potentially successful game in a predictable fashion.

    I’m not saying the companies you’re referring to aren’t addressing their perceived problems in the worst, most counterproductive way (fuck reason, work everyone to the bone!). I’m saying the solutions are a lot harder than you’re suggesting.

    Software development methodologies, in general, are still pretty rough. Game development methodologies lag behind those sub-par ones by roughly a generation. So even the most intelligent and well-educated process managers are still going to be experimenting as they go. Of course, it exacerbates the problem that many companies aren’t experimenting with process, and aren’t trying anything other than “work harder, ignore the problem and hope it goes away”.

  28. June 5, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    […] doesn’t have so much to do with WAR as it does MMO development as a whole, but I love this article over at Eating Bees like I love my non-existent […]

  29. mythago said,

    June 5, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    But if these problems are inevitable, why not plan the project to take the known likely problems into account, instead of being eternally and repeatedly mystified that X happened and delayed a smooth and timely launch?

  30. Matt said,

    June 6, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    Well, if you only take the known likely problems into account, you’ll definitely ship late. 🙂

    I doubt anyone’s really “mystified that X happened and delayed a smooth and timely launch”. They know it’s coming. They’re just getting tons of pressure to put a brave face on and get the game out there making money ASAP. Maybe the publisher’s mystified, because the developer’s been showing them hacked-together demos for ages. Then again, the pub knows that, so they’re probably not mystified either.

  31. bullet said,

    June 6, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    Awesome post.

  32. John said,

    June 7, 2008 at 10:48 am

    I would have to agree with Matt that “you can deduce that everyone in game development is incompetent”…mostly anyway. Of course those involved in the debacles would never admit incompetence and would always have grand excuses.

    I thought it curiously funny, in a sad way, when I often read about public projects that are running over budget and take longer than expected. The excuses are always numerous.

    Then I watch a PBS special about the construction of a mulit-billion dollar building in Manhattan and at the shows end we find that the building comes in just a bit early and just under the original budget (I guess a bridge or such is just so much more complex than the 100+ story multi billion dollar skyscraper).

    A few years ago Intel decided to build a factory near where I live. The government approved but only if Intel also built a new off/on ramp for the freeway (the existing ramp could not handle the amount of predicted traffic).

    Intel agreed and asked the DOT (Department of Transportation) for a cost estimate/bid. When DOT got around to giving the bid, Intel was dumbfounded by the high cost estimate and the lengthy time the project would take.

    Intel went out for privet bids and found that reputable companies were bidding the project at half the cost and haft the time that was bid by the DOT crew.

    DOT said that the privet bids were impossible and must have been flawed.

    A privet company ended up building a grand series of ramps designed for higher traffic flow than the small old ramp (actually very nice looking as far as freeway ramps are concerned). They built the ramps on time and on the original budget. When the DOT was asked by the press to comment on the huge discrepancy between the DOT’s bid and the privet companies actually accomplishment….the DOT said it was a fluke occurrence. (A great deal of testing and overview showed the company that did the work met all required specs.)

    Excuses for incompetence are never ending. Also, the MMO industry is no longer in its infancy.

  33. Kelryck said,

    June 13, 2008 at 12:26 am

    First of all, Hi Sanya! Long time since I had you on my radio show.. so much has changed.

    As for the DOT anaolgy, much of the time government agencies are hamstrung by their own state/federal requirements to have all the bells and whistles for prevailing wages, minority owned busineses participation, mandatory profit levels, review cycles, inspections, etc (as well as regular dog and pony shows to let the Prime know everything is on track (or not)). That adds an incredible amount of time and cost to any project.

    Often times it was easier and faster to do things on Internal company money and sell it to the government as a finished product (like it seems Intel did).

  34. Slyfeind said,

    July 14, 2008 at 12:50 am

    The film industry in Alaska consists of a lot of people trying to reinvent the wheel like that, and a lot of films don’t get finished. Then someone comes up from Hollywood, gets a day job, but still loves doing film, and in his evenings and weekends he makes a damn movie from start to finish. It’s going to take a few people like that in the gaming industry. People have got to love it enough to take those pay cuts, in order for more good games to get done.

    We’re starting to see “Theatre experience a plus” on job descriptions for producers and directors. I’d dig up a link but I’m lazy. I’ve noticed striking similarites between the duties of producers, and the duties of stage managers. The two trades are similar in very general terms; at the very least, collaborative and creative.


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