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Games Entertainment

The Publisher/Developer Relationship 15

Posted by Zonk
from the learning-from-each-other-while-we-do-our-thing dept.
Via a Gamers With Jobs Press Pass post, an interview with Dorian Richard, the Atari external producer for Neverwinter Nights 2. The Game Tycoon piece discusses the relationship between publisher and developer, and touches on some of the challenges of creating a sequel to a title like Neverwinter Nights. From the article: "GT: What are the most common challenges you face when interacting with developers? DR: There's inexperienced developers, and there's experienced developers. Inexperienced developers tend to lack staff with sufficient scheduling and managing experience. They might be good at certain development tasks, but they don't know how to read warning signs and manage people, so they frequently fail to recognize when a big slip is looming. They don't plan for likely emergencies, like a key team member getting sick or having a family emergency."
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The Publisher/Developer Relationship

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOsPam.gmail.com> on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @04:30PM (#14779676) Journal
    There's inexperienced developers, and there's experienced developers.
    Well, I've heard just as meaningless statements before (i.e. "a note is either on the beat or off the beat" or "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...") and I must say that I think the difference between Dorian Richard's "inexperienced" and "experienced" is simply the "experienced" know what systems engineering (SE) is.

    Now, of all topics, SE is one that I hate the most. You will not encounter such a dry and boring subject in a long while. But I will not deny that it certainly provides structure and security in managing projects and identifying milestones.

    If you like what you heard in Richard's interview, then I suggest you skip the rest of what he says and go to INCOSE [incose.org] to check out the society that studies how to avoid the pitfalls of inexperienced developers. One good project manager should be able to protect your developers from hurting themselves or a project.

    I certainly hope no one is putting together a team that is just going to sit down and wing it while developing a project. Perhaps Atari didn't believe there to be a need for project management ... this would be quite telling of their latest financial woes.
    • Now, of all topics, SE is one that I hate the most. You will not encounter such a dry and boring subject in a long while. But I will not deny that it certainly provides structure and security in managing projects and identifying milestones.

      Rubbish! Just, you know, code stuff. If you need to change it, hack it out, then back in, then compile with -O4 flags and -funroll-loops. If you need to add a new feature, throw in a couple of gotos and if anyone gets sick or their child dies or something, just have them
  • by creimer (824291) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @05:02PM (#14780014) Homepage
    When I worked at Atari as a lead QA tester, half my projects were Gameboy Advance titles (Atari Anniversary Advance, Nicktoons Racing, Driver 2 Advance, Backyard Hockey and DBZ: Buu's Fury). About one third of the way through each project, I would always get a phone call from the developer demanding where their money is. I had to explain to them I wasn't exactly the accounting department and some people at Atari got upset that I was helping the developer shake the money tree. I think these developers were more closer to the financial edge than other console developers but were more willing to improve the game as much as possible.
  • by UberMench (906076) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @05:09PM (#14780076) Homepage
    Developers are responsible for making a game to the best of their abilities within the restraints of the design and hardware. In essence, their job is to MAKE GAMES. Publishers advertise and sell the games that developers make. In essense, they SELL GAMES. Publishers should realize that they can't do their job without the developers and visa versa. Then maybe publishers would realize that developers are working to realize a creative vision, and that poking them every day and asking, "Are you gonna meet our deadline? We must keep to the business model!" can only hurt the quality of the final product.
    • Developers are responsible for making a game to the best of their abilities within the restraints of the design and hardware.

      And budget. Small operators often tend to be underfinanced. Publishers should have enough expertise to help developers to manage cashflow, providing funds as needed.
  • Idiots with money :)

    *ducks*
  • "She," not "He" (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Okay, having seen three people get it wrong, I just have to point this out: Dorian Richard is a woman. [bioware.com]

    Maybe it shouldn't matter, but there are far too few women in the game industry as it is (let alone at the Producer level).

    I worked with her for a little while at Atari. She gave a lot of freedom to developers in terms of creative space, but was serious about keeping devs to their schedules, and good at it (which is a rarity in games). Dragonshard came together in a hurry when she got on board.

  • The Publisher/Developer Relationship

    Rape! Rape!

I've never been canoeing before, but I imagine there must be just a few simple heuristics you have to remember... Yes, don't fall out, and don't hit rocks.

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