game programmer game review

Game Review: GameDev Story

There is a fun little game GameDev Story for the iphone/ipod that I have been meaning to write about. The game itself is pretty addictive, and kudos to the idea and execution (if you haven’t tried it, it is definitely worth a look, and some of the games you compete against like “Street Cleaner 2” are pretty funny). That being said, the thing I liked was the focus on the people, and getting the right people can really make or break your success in the game industry.

With the focus on people I think a few additional attributes would be appropriate/realistic for those who have never worked in the game industry:

1. Training time for new hires. It is nearly impossible to expect people to jump into a new or established company and be as productive as someone else who has been there a while. It would be interesting to see what replacing someone at the start compared with at the end would do for the training.

2. Employee moral, the devs come and go and often appear to be working all hours of the day (some just leaving while others are coming in). It would be interesting to have some sort of happiness meter that decides whether or not the devs decide to stay at the company or go work somewhere else.

3. Teamwork. How well to the devs work together? It would be interesting that those with great people skills and coding skills are not always in the same package. What kind of results would happen if the devs were not working well together, or there were personalities that clashed. This would also go with employee moral, as it can be a burden on the entire team, even if it is only two that are having problems.

4. Budget vs Time: In the game you are not really punished for fixing the bugs, and can release it earlier if needed. Instead, it would be interesting to factor in some sort of delay mechanism, if a project is not on track and how to get it back on track.

5. More human factors (sick days, holidays, vacations, bad days, stressed days, tired days, etc.), also would be intersting to see how well the work life balance played out for these happy little characters 😛

For those looking at running a game studio, the best advice I can give is to join one yourself, even if you don’t learn exactly what to do, learning what not to do is also a useful experience.

Best of luck,
Michael Hubbard

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