How many times have you come across a blog post in which the author reveals their dream is to make a video game? It’s a noble ambition but sadly not one easily achieved: ever-increasing technical requirements and high consumer-expectations make it difficult for a single person to create a mainstream title. The average cost to produce a game is slowly rising, along with player demands alongside it.
But what if money were no object? NekoJonez from NekoJonez’s Gaming Blog very kindly nominated Later Levels for the Unique Blog award recently and one of his questions to nominees stood out: if you were allowed to help in the production of a game, which role would you take on and why? The following post is dedicated to him – and ropes some other amazing bloggers into my dream development team.
The Creative Director is the key person during the game development process, overseeing any high-level decisions that affect how the game plays, looks or sounds.
Who better to organise and keep our motley crew in check than NekoJonez himself? He fits more into a day than I could in a year, coordinating a day-job, blogging, acting and other activities in his busy schedule. His credentials were proven last year when he arranged The Legend of Zelda retrospective; despite some obstacles and a delay, he overcame the challenges to create a collaboration project which was a lot of fun to participate in.
The Producer is responsible for ensuring the successful delivery of a game, on time and within budget.
Teri Mae from Sheikah Plate is one of the loveliest bloggers I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. She’s always there with a kind word, a positive comment or sound advice – which makes her the perfect person to be our Producer. She’d cheer us up when project deadlines or budgets were tight; we wouldn’t be able to say no to her if she needed to throw a bit of extra work our way; and this excellent chef could always bribe us to stay late with the promise of baked goods.
Due to the extreme focus on game design during development, it’s a Writers’ job to make sure that story elements work within the design choices.
Who better to form our writing team than three talented ladies? The Shameful Narcissist is an excellent fanfiction writer who creates hard-hitting stories such as The Broken Rose (please heed the content warning). Athena from AmbiGaming is an expert at analysing characters and their motivations, and would be able to create a great backstory for our protagonist. And LightningEllen from LightningEllen’s Release went all out to win the Blogger Blitz challenge last year; how could we fail?
The Designer devises what a game consists of and how it plays. They plan and define all the elements of a game.
As I’ve said before, I don’t tend to read reviews because their analysis misses what makes a video game special. But I do enjoy those written by Rob from I Played The Game! because they’re a great balance of fair and personal. He manages to get across both the positive and negative points of a title, and does it in a way that shows a bit of personality and makes me laugh. Who better than someone with that knowledge of games to oversee our project’s design?
The Lead Programmer leads the team responsible for creating all the computer code which runs and controls a game.
Luke from Hundstrasse isn’t only a blogger: he’s also made several games for the Arduboy, a miniature game system the size of a credit card. This experience has taught him that sometimes an easy idea can be difficult to implement; so hopefully he’ll be able to turn his hand to learning the programming skills we need for our project as quickly as possible. In addition, he deserves to be a member of our team for the awesomeness of his puns.
The Level Editor defines interactive architecture for a segment of a game, including the landscape, buildings and objects.
I’ve known Nathan from Hurricane thought process for several years now and if there’s one thing I’ve learnt about him, it’s that he’s absolutely bonkers. In a loveable, larger-than-life, creative kind of way – so if there’s anyone who’d be able to take the levels for our video game and engineer them into something that provides both challenge and sheer amazement for the player, it would be him. I’d fully expect to see chickens, dragons and magical swords incorporated into his plans.
The Lead Artist is responsible for the overall look of the game.
Every awesome video game deserves a distinct visual style, and who better than to create one of those for us than Ian from Adventure Rules? He very kindly drew a character for each Blogger Blitz competitor and Guybrush Threepwood’s portrait may even look better than the pirate himself himself. The humour displayed in his drawings would be a great quality for our project, and we could also get him to do the box art for its physical release.
The Audio Engineer creates the soundtrack for a game, including music, sound effects, character voices, spoken instructions and ambient effects.
I first met Chris from OverThinker Y early last year after listening to one of his tracks and he’s continued to impress with his creative skills since. He has interviewed a number of bloggers for his Musical Mayhem series and produced some excellent music for them afterwards. The piece he wrote for me, If It’s Not Alright Now, It Will Be Soon, is genius – it cleverly manages to combine an 80s vibe with the feeling of Everything’s Alright from To The Moon.
Community Managers define the voice of a brand and make sure the tools are in place to support players
Here are two people I really admire for the way they get involved in and inspire the community. Luna from GamersUnitedGG Blog is always so friendly in her blog comments and leaves everyone with positive words; and The Well-Red Mage knows exactly how to get conversations started on social media. They’re the perfect duo for spreading the word about our game and hopefully getting some streamers to champion an early version (I’m looking at you, Joey from AlunaRL).
QA Testers test, tune, debug and suggest the detailed refinements that ensure the quality and playability of the finished game.
Pete and Ethan are my world but damn: they know how to cause chaos. Leave them alone together for a couple of minutes and there’ll be an explosion, mass destruction or a whole lot of mess. If anyone is going to be able to find ways to break our video game and highlight any unknown bugs it’s these two; plus I know my stepson would be so excited to get the chance to work on a title before it’s release. Happy employees make for better workers.
So there you have it: my dream development team. And of course I’d be there to document our project’s progress on our blog! Now all we need is an idea for a game – plus the budget, technology and skills to actually make one – and we’ll be on our way to fame and fortune.
Job descriptions taken from Creative Skillset.