For the average gamer, you can know more about the finished work, but you probably don’t know how the game was created or the job of the game developer. If so, game developers may also feel that their work is not well understood.
Push Dust In, who is in charge of PR at Character Bank, a VR / AR game development company in Kyoto, asked game developers for “what developers want the general public to know about game development” on June 17th. I made a post on Twitter. We have received a large number of replies from the developers, and this article will pick up some of them.
First, Push Dust In lists two things based on his own experience. One is that making a good game is not a good idea, but a good team. No matter how good a game idea you have, it’s up to you to take advantage of it or kill it.
The other is that there are priorities in every aspect of the game development cycle. If you’re a gamer, you’ll always feel “why xx isn’t implemented?” While playing. PushDustIn sought to understand that developers might have wanted to implement those elements, even though they might have been lowered in priority, for example because of some serious bugs left.
Game development is hard
One of the most common answers received was that “game development is difficult”. Riot Games Technical DesignerGeorge OliverHe commented that the difficulty of developing games would be more than the average person thinks. Senior VFX artist of Hanger 13 who developed the latest work of “Mafia” seriesBrian ByrneHe also states that game development is hard. As a matter of fact, many good works have been discontinued in the field, and all the games that have been released are miraculous. There are many other opinions that describe the difficulty of completing the game.
As a concrete example of the difficulty of game development, he is a character artist of “Overwatch” at Blizzard Entertainment.Melissa KellyHe says creating character skins can be very time consuming. Legendary skins take a couple of months each, and new heroes need to go through a lot of iterations, and the development period will be extended. There was a view that “skins can be made immediately”, and there may have been a desire to deny it.
Also Bungie’s Senior Activity DesignerMax NicholsHe commented that remastering, remakes, and port development require far more work than people think. Although there is an original version, about 25 to 50% of the work is the same as when making a new work, and it costs money.
Former Sega Executive Producer of Digital Eclipse, now doing a lot of port developmentStephen FrostHe says the game everyone is playing is made up of the hard work of the developers, and he wants the developers to give them a little respect.
Game development costs money
When it comes to game development costs, Crystal Dynamics design lead Brian Waggoner emphasizes that it’s not cheap. I didn’t give a concrete example, but if you include the cost of development itself, as well as post-release management and support, games in recent years are far more expensive than generally thought. It is not uncommon for development to be canceled in the middle, as mentioned above, because the risk of failure is too great.
Also a writer for Snowhaven StudiosKristi JimenezHe lists the work required to develop a visual novel game. He mentioned art, screenplay, music, programming, GUI / UI development, proofreading, voice recording, QA, etc., and said that if he couldn’t do all of this alone, he would have to hire someone. He may have felt underestimated, claiming that the cost of creating a visual novel game wasn’t cheap and wasn’t an easy task.
There were also many references to QA (Quality Assurance) work. QA representative of Steel Wool Studios known for the “Five Nights at Freddy’s” seriesRobin CHe says QA seems to think that bug fixes are a job, but it’s not. He said it was his job to report on the bugs he found so that developers could easily fix them.
Lead programmer of Double Eleven who cooperates in the development of “Minecraft Dungeons” etc.Matt PhillipsQA personnel have found and reported any bugs in the game, he said. However, there are many works that are released with bugs remaining. He said it’s because there is a mechanism that doesn’t involve QA personnel in making release decisions, and Double Eleven is working to increase QA involvement.
On this topic, a Twitter user who has worked as a QA in a major studio for two years.VasinMr. reacts. He says that 60-80% of the bugs he found weren’t fixed. It is said that WNF (Will Not Fix) will be notified at the site. He said he was frustrated, but said that the decision was made by senior management and he didn’t blame the developers in the field.
Epic Games Technical Product Management DirectorGlenn WhiteHe commented that even if 1000 QA personnel repeated the test for a year, it would not reach the total play time of all players in just two hours after the launch of the AAA title. Maybe you want to convey the difficulty of finding out all the bugs with just QA.
EA Senior ResearcherJessica TompkinsHe said player feedback is being read by staff from a variety of professions, from developers to marketers, including postings on social media and Reddit. Manufacturers can’t meet all the demands, but it doesn’t seem to be “useless for an individual to send their opinions.”
Developers are not lazy
Another prominent answer is that “developers are not lazy”. For example, if bug fixes and balancing aren’t going as planned (from the outside), the community of the work may be criticized as “Lazy devs”.
Blizzard Entertainment Senior System DesignerAndrew CarlHe said no developer wanted to make a boring game, but he said he wasn’t lazy. He said he was relatively cheaper than other industries and was stressed out at work because of his passion for game development. EA concept artistNina ModaffariHe also states that even developers working on AAA titles are as passionate about their work as indie developers.
Aether Studios environment artist known for “Rivals of Aether”Mason BysOn the same topic, he points out that if there is a problem with the work, 99% of the reasons are management problems. For example, lack of direction or planning, or lack of time. It wasn’t that the developers were lazy or incapacitated.
Also, ILMxLAB’s junior environment artist who works on “Star Wars” VR games.Sean PhilipsHe says that asset reuse is common in game development, not because developers want to have fun. Recreating something that works properly from scratch leads to wasted time and budget. Also, by reusing it, it may lead to performance improvement and game capacity reduction. Others have mentioned the effectiveness of asset reuse.
Game development process
Blueprint Games co-founder Katie Nelson tells an episode of showing off a game screen under development. In such cases, many gamers may suggest further refinement. However, she said that polishing work in the early stages of development risks hindering development work and is a waste of time. Published game footage often states that it is under development. You want the average gamer to understand that it doesn’t indicate the final quality.
WayForward Business Development DirectorAdam TierneyHe talks about the sense of schedule for game development. According to him, some works have solidified content when they are announced. Therefore, even if the follow-up report is released and fans expect some elements one month before the release, there is no room to implement it. Depending on the size of the work and the studio, it may be on a case-by-case basis, but the game development schedule is so tightly packed.
Game engine = not quality
Indie developersHazel KennedyHe says the quality of the game is not determined by the game engine. For example, games developed with Unity are often of poor quality, and Unity itself often gets a bad reputation. However, for inexperienced developers, Unity has very low hurdles to use, and it is not a problem of Unity itself.
Ben Luff, senior narrative designer at Avalanche Studios, commented that misunderstandings about the actual development process of game engines are widespread. And he wants you to stop using which game engine he’s using to market his work. Quality is not guaranteed by the game engine, but how the developers use it is important.
In addition, the concept artist of Criterion GamesTommy MillarHe commented on the case where the download version of the game sells higher than the package version. He said it was due to “retail ransom” and not greedy manufacturers. Retailers are demanding that manufacturers not lower the price of the DL version below the suggested retail price of the packaged version. If you do not comply, you will not be able to put the game in a good place in the store or even handle it.
PushDustIn’s tweet, “What developers want the general public to know about game development,” has received a number of replies in addition to those listed here.If you are interestedThe tweetWhy don’t you check the reply to and the quoted tweet?