hirty years ago, game production was less complicated. Often one person,
in as little as six weeks, would design, write code, generate art assets, and
test the functionality of a single game. Back then, a few blocky characters
and great gameplay entertained people for hours, which made it easy for one
person to perform all the game development tasks. These days, people expect
games to deliver more than great gameplay; they want a totally immersive world
with living, breathing characters, high-quality sound, compelling storylines, and
a game that evokes emotions such as fear, surprise, happiness, and even sadness.
For a game to live up to these expectations, many more people must be involved
in the game’s production.
Managing the production of games in the twenty-first century is a challenge,
especially since no standardized process ensures the successful completion of
every game. Games that successfully make it to the shelves often have many
bumps along the way, and the producer and team members may be secretly
amazed that the game was finished in spite of these obstacles. The good thing is
that developers are getting better at game production, because they are learning
from their mistakes and looking to other disciplines for methods to create a more
efficient development process.
The purpose of this book is to bring some order to the chaotic world of game
production. This book won’t tell you how to design the next hit game or what
cutting-edge technologies must be in the next iteration of a game. Instead, it
focuses on the nuts and bolts of managing game development, including defin-
ing the game’s goal, creating a plan to achieve this goal, effectively managing the
people who make the game happen, and dealing with all the other bumps along
Game production is not a science; you can’t expect each game you work
on to present the same challenges and rewards as the last game you worked on.
However, common elements exist for every game development team, and
improving upon these commonalities and anticipating new challenges is where a
producer should focus his efforts.
This book is divided into eight sections, each providing key information
about the game production process:
Part 1: Game Production Overview: This section presents a general
overview of the production cycle and roles on the team. It concludes with a dis-
cussion of some traditional software development methodologies that are being
applied to game production today.
Part 2: Business Information: This section discusses general legal infor-
mation any producer must be aware of as well as the relationship between the
publisher and developer.
Part 3: Managing People: This section discusses how to hire and retain
talent, build teams, and effectively communicate. These skills are a must for any
Part 4: Technical Production: This section discusses all the mini-projects
that must be managed during production, including voiceover, marketing needs,
and motion capture.
Part 5: Pre-Production: This section discusses all the decision-making and
planning that occurs during pre-production, such as defining the game concept,
game requirements, and game plan. A well-organized pre-production phase is a
must for a successful production phase.
Part 6: Production: This section discusses all the work that must be man-
aged during the production phase. It includes information on production tech-
niques, the production cycle, age ratings, and localization.
Part 7: Testing: This section discusses how to test and code release games.
It includes information on submitting games to Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo
Part 8: Post-Production: This section discusses how to successfully wrap
up your project by doing a closing kit and conducting a postmortem with the
In addition, several industry insiders were interviewed about their game pro-
duction experiences, and they have generously offered advice and information
that anyone involved in game production will find valuable. Enjoy reading the
Heather Maxwell Chandler
Executive Producer, Media Sunshine, Inc.