Game Development – Team roles Alessandro Canossa – firstname.lastname@example.org Mark Nelson – email@example.com Course code: MSU 0806015U Spring 2010 www.itu.dk Standard team composition Producer / project manager Game designer Writer Artists (concept, 2D, 3D, animator, art director) Programmers (graphics, AI, physics, engine, network, etc.) Level designers Sound designers Composer Voice acting Testers Redundancy or roles, one person many roles Producer • • • • • • • Responsible of overseeing development of a video game though all its stages. External (executive): publisher side , negotiating contracts, including licensing deals, link between the team and publisher or executive staff Internal (more hands-on): costs, personnel, on-time delivery, milestones and overall quality (QA, User research), overseeing creative (art and design) and technical development (game programming) of the game Arranging for beta testing and focus groups, if applicable Arranging for localization Relates to art lead, programmer lead, design lead, testing lead Contact between team and higher levels in company and other stakeholders (publisher) Project Manager • • • • • Scheduling team members Motivating team members based on performance and deadlines Handling individual requests (new hardware, logistics, etc…) Point of contact for the whole team Defining production method CREATIVE DIRECTOR Often shared between several teams They serve as advisors regarding creative issues Focalize creative vision, but do not create assets, art or designs Management role dedicated tot he vision of a single game Create documents and structure to ensure unified ”look and feel” Game designer: Designing gameplay, conceiving and designing the rules and structures of a game. Responsible for game design document (or wiki). Different skills: design, management, scheduling, research, understanding of all aspects of a game, ability to document the vision and communicate it to others. Thinkers, writers, planners. From the seed of an idea into a set of rules, descriptions and examples, direction for the whole team. Game designer: "A great idea is meaningless. A great idea that leverages your existing technology, gets the team excited, is feasible to do on time and budget, is commericially competitive, and, last but not least, floats the boat of a major publisher... Now you have something.” Ken Levine Systems designer Level builder Technical designer Writer Lead designer Area designer Character design Background design Game designer: Neverwinter Nights 2: the job is to take the chunks given out by the lead designer and flesh them out. This involves doing a lot of area overview work, drawing maps on paper or in Photoshop, writing all the dialogues and quests, making creature lists for the areas, placing objects and critters, building levels in the editor, and proofreading/play-testing each other's work. Game designer: Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: keeping the vision for the game, the game mechanics, the "fun" of the game, the overall story and any elements that propel the story (companions, key locations, etc.) and then breaking down the remaining elements into digestible chunks for the other designers: – area briefs and area overviews ("this planet is X, the following things need to happen on it, etc.") – breaking up the mechanics and play-balancing ("I need you to oversee the feat and class advancement systems, as long as they accomplish the following goals," etc.) – managing all the parts so programmers, artists, and the producer are getting everything they need to keep moving. Game designer Creating game systems that interact in an interesting manner while also creating a universe. It's not enough to create cool characters or systems. It's about seeing how it all merges in the end. Level designers A level designer’s role changes a lot in different studios: from planning the flow and circulation patterns to creating basic or refined geometry to properly illuminating it. Eventually they can control all aspects of the player experience in a certain location of the game. Often working in level editors. Juggle design, art and code to create spaces for player action. Design gameplay Build, decorate and populate the world Scenario Desiger: if all the level’s art is prefabricated System designers Creates individual systems, rules, scenarios of the game but does not build content or assets. Minute details of sub systems (combat system) Support lead designer by defining details and working out mechanics and documenting them for the rest of the team. Game Artists: Create art for games: all the people, objects, buildings, landscapes and characters - which make up the game world. Game artists are responsible for all of the aspects of game development that call for visual art and aesthetic component. Their work is coordinated and supervised by the art director • pencil drawings, pen and ink illustrations, oil paintings, 3D models, etc. • 2D art used as reference, concept art, textures or 3D models and animations. • design the look of the character through concept art and render them to be integrated into the game. • responsible for designing characters, scenery, props, and any other visual effects in the game. • 3D Max and Maya most popular tool Animators: Give life & motion to characters and props. Response for each action (and inaction, idle) Cleaning mo-cap Procedural animation (Uncharted) Texture Artists / GUI-HUD Artists: Create material for every object and character Shader artist Procedural textures (vector gfx) High poly normal & parallax maps - mudbox Photoshop and 3D package Interface art assets: health bars, icons, buttons, inventory, etc. Information Display (McCandles) Concept Artists: Important in pre production to create character and prop sheets for 3D artists Define with art director locations, charatcers, objects, interface, etc. Overproduction of concepts and selection among many options Finished as soon as production starts Sound Designers - Composers: Create aural texture, pre-recorded or synthesized sound effects and foleys From full thematic scores to ambient music Game programmers Software engineers in charge of one or more of the disciplines necessary to realize a game: advanced physics, artificial intelligence, 3D graphics, digitized sound and music, complex strategy, different input devices and network support for multiplayer or other on-line features. Physiscs: dedicated to developing the physics. Only a few aspects of realworld physics are simulated. For example, a space game may need simulated gravity, but would not have any need for simulating water viscosity. AI: develops the logic the game uses to complete large number of actions. Now evolved into a specialized discipline: pathfinding, strategy and enemy tactic systems. One of the most challenging aspects of game programming and its sophistication is developing rapidly. 10/20 percent of programming staff is devoted to AI. Game programmers Graphics: developing both specialized blitter algorithms and clever optimizations for 2D graphics and complex 3D graphic renderers. 3D graphics programmers must have a firm grasp of advanced mathematical concepts such as vector and matrix math, quaternions and linear algebra. Eye-candy gurus. Sound: building and refining the game's sound engine, some background in digital signal processing and in some cases also 3D positional sound. Responsible for scripting tools to be uses by sound designers. These tools allow designers to associate sounds with characters, actions, objects and events while also assigning music or atmospheric sounds for game environments (levels or areas) and setting environmental variables such as reverberation. Game programmers Gameplay: give functionality and behaviour to game elements, focuses on a game's strategy and the "feel" of a game: strategy tables, tweak input code, adjust other factors that alter the game. Subset of this group is scripters: implement cinematic events, enemy behavior and game objectives with scripting language UI: responsible for user interfaces, either custom made or developed from a library that can be used across multiple projects. Even 2D looking interfaces use 3D technology so knowledge of 3D math and systems required. Other skills: special effects, transparency, animation, particle effects, etc. Input: writing the code specifying how input devices affect the game, very relevant for wii and new upcoming technology Game programmers Network: allows players to compete against each other (or play together) connected on line or download/upload content. Challenging discipline, involves dealing with network latency, packet compression, and dropped or interrupted connections. Tools: are used for tasks such as scripting, importing or converting art, modifying behaviors or building levels. Many tools are specific to the game and are custom programmed to handle specific tasks. Some tools will be included with the game, but most will not. Most tools evolve with the game and can eventually become source of revenue (middleware). Game programmers Porting: converting code from one operating system to work on another or on a variety of devices, such as mobile phones. Sometimes it means re-writing the entire game to fit proprietary languages, tools or hardware. Technology (R&D): not attached to single project but referring to CTO, focused on optimization or solving challenging issues or experiemnting new features or implementing algorithms from academic research. Generalist: In smaller teams, somebody who can take on the various other roles as needed. Often engaged in the task of tracking down bugs and fixing them. Lead: in charge both of coordinating the various submodules of the game and to keep track of development from a programming standpoint Other roles (freelancers) Cut-Scene artist (in-game cinematographer) Writer Voice acting Motion capturing Sound design Music composition Testers QA lead User Research Questions?