Computer games are big business - tens of billions of dollars are spent annually by the worldwide video games market. The cost of producing video games has ballooned to beyond $20 million dollars in many cases, and team sizes are quickly growing past 100 team members. At the center of this storm is the producer - one person who transforms the money, the hours spent by the team, and the latest technology into a work of art that millions of people will call fun. This book will dig deeply into the role of the producer and expose secrets of game production that stand the test of time: how to build a great team, how to plan a major game development project, and how to pull the development team toward the vision of a great game.
Introduction: The Producer's Role (10%)
This section of the book introduces the reader to the game industry's history and how the role of the producer grew from the need to manage extremely complicated projects. A producer's day to day tasks are also introduced to place the reader, at least mentally, in the producer role. By the end of this section the reader will understand what a producer does and how they go about doing it - the remaining sections of the book expose secrets for making good decisions and strategy along the way.
Section One: Production Primer (15% of the book)
This section covers the very basics of getting started in producing games, including building the team and the work environment. It will briefly cover the different disciplines of game development, what the do, how they relate to one another and even what tools they need to do their work.
Section Two: Preproduction (30% of the book)
Game development can be broken into three major phases: preproduction, production, and finalling. The preproduction phase is the most fun, but is also the most critical phase. Creating the concept and the production plan and subsequently proving both with a playable version of the game is extremely difficult. This section will help producers really focus on what is important.
Section Three: Production (30% of the book)
The production phase is grueling, but as each week passes the game becomes more and more real. The producers role here becomes more difficult mostly because of the exploding size of the team and the incredible velocity they bring to their work. Each day down the wrong path requires multiple days to recover, and the producer must constantly monitor it all. This section will give producers an idea of what to expect and how to manage the production cycle.
Section Four: Finalling (10% of the book)
The movie industry goes through post-production, a phase where a very small team cuts and edits until their creation is exactly the way the visionaries want it. In games, this process take the bulk of the production team and a growing quality assurance team, and is a lot more like using 100 sledgehammers to put a fine details on an ice sculpture. This section covers how a team changes the way they work and how to manage the inevitable overtime to get them to zero bugs before your deadline.
Section Five: Other Things to Ponder (5% of the book)
This section is more of a grab bag of random things every game producer must know, such as how to go about choosing middleware and dealing with remote teams or multi-studio development. It also covers some of the important aspects of studio finance and the law - especially important for those that want to start up their own game development studio.
Companion web site:
Game Production - Forum/Wiki: Community portal for the readership. A place for readers to interact directly with the author, each other, and other members of the computer game industry. Additional links on the site to sample project layouts and ms project macros; production forms and charts; schedule examples, planning spreadsheets and other scheduling tools.
We're looking at a similar site to that associated with his current book: Game Coding Complete: has over 900 registered members, over 5600 posts, and an average of 3,500 hits per day - the author visits this web site at least 20 times per week non-stop for over five years, and anyone posting a question has a response in a few hours. Visit this site at http://www.mcshaffry.com/GameCode/