Using Untapped Resources For Game Audio: How Testers, Producers Can Help
September 28, 2007 Page 1 of 3
All too often, video game audio teams can find themselves with an awful lot of work to do, and not enough people to do the work. Let’s find a potential solution to this problem and start with the symptoms. When does this happen and why?
- Demos / internal reviews
- You need to establish a final mix (as well as last minute sound design and implementation) for multiple platforms each with their own hardware and sound engines
- VO sessions start next week and you signed up to edit everything yourself because you’re “incredibly fast”
- You’ve finally found time to update vital asset lists and sound design documents when a big demo comes along and you need to dress it to impress
- Post-production doesn’t exist in game schedules. Often there is less than a month of time from when game assets are finished to when all content including code needs to be locked down for release candidate testing.
It’s easy to assume that you’ll need extra hands to assist with parallel tasks to achieve a goal within a certain time frame. However sitting down and figuring out details and flowcharts most likely isn’t in your schedule. Still, I can’t underestimate how freaking important it is to differentiate between the need for a full time employee and a temporary one. And with the exception of the last “Why” reason -- the lack of a post-production phase in games -- there’s a way to tackle the issues without adding to full time employee headcount. Unfortunately the latter reason is a whole article unto itself (and probably the most significant one) but it's a topic for later.
Take a look at how several companies hire and fire. Speaking fairly, sometimes this just happens even with the best of planning. But identifying long term needs is critical to establishing just how far you will require a service and the ability to budget for it. Most of the time however, Alpha only lasts a few months (even less for PC or single platform titles), VO sessions around the same (far less for projects with fewer than 10,000 lines), and sometimes racing towards a demo can only last a few weeks.
In some cases you may have a list of contacts locally that can assist with a variety of tasks. Nowhere is this truer than Los Angeles, but creative managers can seek candidates for temporary work in local colleges and even high schools.
In the event that you don’t have a line of people ready to help for any amount of time and a legal department or administrative assistant that can help write up contracts for each and every situation, there’s another option: QA and associate producers.
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