Throughout my time at school and my studies I took the responsibilities of a producer in a variety of projects. In school for instance I organised a rally for all our 800 students and directed our school play in drama classes. For me personally producing means ensuring every person in a team can use their individual expertise the best way possible to work together on the project. For me it means taking responsibility and being there for the people in my team. And while being the producer surely means taking care of organising workflows, planning milestones and setting deadlines as well I am convinced that a producer’s responsibilities also extends to the professional and personal wellbeing of the team members. In my experience creating a supportive environment in a team in which people feel appreciated and safe can increase creativity and productivity a lot. And as a nice side effect it also makes working together much more fun! Here I’d like to share some of my recent projects in which I took on the role of the producer.
Creating a Vision
Project Lovecraft is the work-in-progress-title of the 4th semester project which I am currently working on. If you’d like more information about the finished project and my involvement in its Game Design, please follow this link to the project page.
Before we started the production, we discussed our personal goals and what we wanted to get out of this project. I had previously made bad experiences with tensions between individual group members in a different project and wanted to do this to create a better understanding for each other in the group, by getting an idea for what motivates and drives us as individuals. We then together agreed on a vision for the project and goals for the group. This allowed us to work as a team much better as we had a unified goal and a better understanding for each other’s motivations.
To find a concept for the semester project we first took a look at the resources and skills we had in the team. From there we came up with the concept of an emotional hardcore round-based strategy game and the idea for Project Lovecraft was born.
Our next step was to flesh out the idea and setup a roadmap with milestones to get a good overview of what needs to be done in the project. We designed this plan with buffers and a lot of time for QA and playtesting in mind.
For developing the MVP, we first created a timeline displaying the players experience in a level, defined the core game loop and settled on an art style as well as producing the first mood boards and concept arts.
Of course we also used a lot of spreadsheets to manage the workflow, make balancing easier and keep track of our progress. Since spreadsheets don’t make for good eye candy, I’d like to just quickly show a few of the more important ones we used in our production.
The asset backlog was very important for our artists as it provided some special functionality that allowed us to split tasks for assets into multiple categories. In the first tab of the spreadsheet is information about the 3D modelling progress which informs the second tab containing information about the 2D artwork. So, for instance an asset which mesh gets finished automatically informs the second tab that the 2D artists could now start working on this asset’s texture. Combining this with helpful indicators of the assets importance and additional information made it very easy for our artists to pick their next tasks while also ensuring we got the assets done when we needed them.
We also used an issue tracker to track bugs and other issues our programmers needed to deal with and design sheets for every playable character, enemy and abilities in the game.