9 November 2017

Be Flexible

Throughout the game development a certain level of uncertainty is expected. A feature might require one to fix a number of bugs, design might run into players doing something weird, art might overload a level, and schedules never go as planned. Additionally, it is not uncommon for work to crop up as a result of working on another aspect, and so things pile up. Time becomes less plentiful but work just keeps increasing. This usually results in the dreaded Crunch that has become to prominent nowadays in large companies, but this is just as likely to happen to smaller studios except they don’t have all the specialty employees they need.

When this happens I assume, based on what my capstone team is going through right now, that people need to branch out of their discipline. Sure you might never have written a blog post before, designed a level, or programmed a tool but it has to get done. It does not have to necessarily have to create amazing results it simply needs to exist. Not having this aspect is worse than having something that is not done perfectly.

The situation we found ourselves in last week was that we needed a lot more sounds than we had in. However, the designer on the team needed to focus on other aspects in order to present the game in the best possible way. Still sounds are such an important part of feedback and gameplay loop that they are a necessity. Thus, since I mainly have documentation to do as my tasks and after creating some sounds I was given the task of finding or creating sound effects.

Now none of my sounds are top quality nor do they all perfectly blend with one another. Creating sounds isn’t my specialty, project management is, but to show the direction of where we wanted the game move towards sounds are crucial. None of the sounds I have made are anything to write home about nor do they all perfectly blend with each other. Instead they convey the needed information as we ramp up to pitch our idea to the Game Studio faculty. With this goal in mind I am not only able to move on from one sound faster, I went into each one with the expectation that it would be eventually replaced.

While it is perfectly fine to assume that, as anyone will tell you there is a high chance that some of my sounds may make it into the final version. This has to do with a multitude of aspects from priorities, time constraints, team dynamics, and more. However, it’s crucial for one who is doing a task not within their discipline to have this mindset. It allows them to explore in their own way and feel comfortable with failure. In this regard it might lead them to discover a new joy that they would never have tried otherwise, or provide them with a new perspective. Covering a feature is never that clean, but it is a necessary aspect of life to face challenges head on in order to solve a problem in front of you.

Thank you for reading!

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