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Session Name:

Designers Are from Saturn, Programmers Are from Uranus


All projects, especially large ones, have separation of staff due to career tracks. While it is true that everyone working on a game must be in harmony to make the best game possible, never is this more the case than with design and engineering. They specifically must have a close relationship because of the iterative nature of gameplay creation both in design and implementation. However, the people involved in these two disciplines are intractably and largely different. This session will discuss a number of difficulties in crossing this border, and solutions for doing so. It will address ways in which the designer can gain a better understanding of engineering motivations, and as such have clearer communication and more productive work. It will also address the new hybrid appearing in the field, the technical designer, and how it is a necessary bridge for game work, but how it is also very rife with pitfalls if not handled well (green programmer issues, "programmer" not reporting to the engineering department, rogue check-ins in the name of fun, hacks, etc.). The talk will address the overall goal of unity with these two groups and how this can be achieved by thinking ahead of time, prioritizing the iterative work that needs to happen and creating workable pipelines for this work to happen in, and by trusting each other now that the boundaries separating them are gone through better understanding.

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  • GDC 2014
  • Brian Schwab
  • Formerly of Blizzard Entertainment
  • free content
  • Design
  • Design