This week we enjoyed a talk by Carl Dalton who is the co-founder of Brain in a Jar. Brain in a Jar is a company that mainly deals with contracts and have recently been working on the cars for watchdogs. He spoke about how people see the games industry as a place with few roles e.g. designer, artist and programming where in fact there are plenty of different roles. These include production, operations, business and marketing this list could go on. These areas of the industry can then be broken down into smaller chunks like specialist designer roles or artist roles.
With larger games a design role would have to be broken up into specialist roles. Games that are created on a large scale are very complex systems and require a combination of skills. This means that the process of creating a game need’s to be shared between different designers, sometimes this could mean a designer only works on one level of the game. These designers need to be able to communicate and collaborate for the game to come together, this is usually overseen by a lead designer. Game designer roles on a project like this may include; lead designer, games designer, script writer, level editor, object planner, GUI Designer, Storyboard Artist, Illustrator, graphic designer(Creative skillset. N.D.). Having a large multi-talented team enables studios to create highly polished games that appeal to a mass market.
It can be an entirely different story for small independent studios that have a very limited budget. These studios need to have people that are themselves multi-talented. A studio that does show this very well is Hello Games with a staff count of four. This studio has proved that it is possible to create great games with a small team by the success of Joe Danger on various platforms from PlayStation to IPhone. They have now wowed the world’s stage with their new game No Mans Sky. All this from a team made up of four people who are all multi-talented.
Mode7 is another studio with only four fulltime members of staff. In a blog on their website Paul Taylor writes about how to become an indie developer. He explains that it is his job to do the; business development, marketing, audio, music, writing, art direction, UI design, single player design and other things as well. He also writes that to make a game you will need the following aspects; game design, code, level design, art and animation, audio and music, writing, business management (Taylor, 2012). Mode7 is another example of a small studio that has sold close to half million games and can be successful with very few people.
What all these studios show is that to be successful you need to have a set of skills. At a large studio you need less skills but the skills that you have need to be the best to get the most out of a game that will cost millions of pounds to make. The smaller studios show what is possible to do with a small team. To be a member of these small teams you need to know everything you need to be able to pitch in with all areas of the game for it to be successful.
Taylor, P. (2012) “How to Be an Indie Game Developer” [Online] Available at: http://www.mode7games.com/blog/2012/06/12/how-to-be-an-indie-game-developer/ [Last accessed 20/02/14]
Creative Skillset. (N.D.) “Job Roles in Computer Games” [ Online] Available at: http://www.skillset.org/games/careers/article_2768_1.asp [Accessed 20/02/14]