Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
View All     RSS
August 20, 2014
arrowPress Releases
August 20, 2014
PR Newswire
View All





If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:


Video: How Double Fine's 'Amnesia Fortnight' turned terror into triumph
August 6, 2012 | By Staff

August 6, 2012 | By Staff
Comments
    10 comments
More: Console/PC, Production, Video



[Note: To access chapter selection, click the fullscreen button or check out the video on the GDC Vault website]

According to Double Fine's Tim Schafer, "we live in crazy times." The game industry is being pulled in two directions, where big publishers are growing more enormous by the day, while independent teams are finding new ways to subvert the limitations of traditional businesses.

Mid-sized companies like Double Fine, then, are put in an awkward position, as they don't have the size to compete with the huge juggernauts, and lack the flexibility of the smaller indies. There's just less and less room for those in-between to find success, and just a few years ago, Schafer's studio realized it needed to try something new.

And at GDC 2012, Schafer and numerous other Double Fine employees hosted a presentation on a new approach to game production, dubbed "Amnesia Fortnight," which forgoes large-scale production in favor of something more suitable for a mid-sized team.

"We spent ten years as a one-team studio making one game at a time.. and it was very entrenched into our culture that that's the way we did things, but we managed to 'turn the battleship'... into a fleet of tugboats," Schafer said.

By splitting the studio into smaller, more agile teams, Double Fine was able to avoid the creative pitfalls of large-scale development, and release unusual downloadable titles like Costume Quest, Stacking, and Iron Brigade. These games were a drastic departure from full-scale console titles like Psychonauts or Brutal Legend, but they were essential in keeping Double Fine on its feet.

To learn more about Double Fine's new approach to development, be sure to check out the studio's full presentation, courtesy of GDC Vault.

Simply click the Play button above to start the video.

About the GDC Vault

In addition to all of this free content, the GDC Vault also offers more than 300 additional lecture videos and hundreds of slide collections from GDC 2012 for GDC Vault subscribers. GDC 2012 All Access pass holders already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscription Beta via a GDC Vault inquiry form.

Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company. More information on this option is available via an online demonstration, and interested parties can send an email to Gillian Crowley. In addition, current subscribers with access issues can contact GDC Vault admins.

Be sure to keep an eye on GDC Vault for even more free content, as GDC organizers will also archive videos, audio, and slides from upcoming 2012 events like GDC Europe, GDC Online, and GDC China. To stay abreast of all the latest updates to GDC Vault, be sure to check out the news feed on the official GDC website, or subscribe to updates via Twitter, Facebook, or RSS.


Related Jobs

Raven Software / Activision
Raven Software / Activision — Madison, Wisconsin, United States
[08.20.14]

Network Engineer
Big Fish Games
Big Fish Games — Seattle, Washington, United States
[08.19.14]

Engineering Manager- Studios
Big Fish Games
Big Fish Games — Seattle, Washington, United States
[08.19.14]

Senior Game Developer
Backflip Studios
Backflip Studios — Boulder, Colorado, United States
[08.16.14]

Game Producer










Comments


Kellam Templeton-Smith
profile image
There wasn't much need for DoubleFine to articulate this approach. It's well known no one will touch Psychonauts 2, and Brutal Legend was a marketing disaster, so DF is pretty much damaged goods as far as AAA development goes.

Besides, Schafer's strengths apply better to smaller, quicker projects. He's fantastic at the high-concept, not so great on elaborate mechanics.

Frank Cifaldi
profile image
Yeah, there's really no need to articulate a unique creative exercise that spawned some great games, identified and promoted talented people, and saved a project-less studio without a single layoff. This happens pretty much every day, I can't believe we even allowed them to talk at GDC.

Carlo Delallana
profile image
@Daniel - Asking someone to stick to what they know or do well is ridiculous. Creative people will always try to stretch their skills, the last thing they would do is just stick to what they know. Failure and frustration will be a given but you keep moving forward, trying new things. This is why Valve, Double Fine are such desirable places to work because they're willing to give folks a shot to do something that lets them grow as creators.

Kellam Templeton-Smith
profile image
@Frank.

Whoa, sarcasm! Way to ignore everything I said to say something completely facile and dumb.

Jonathan Ghazarian
profile image
Sarcasm does not mean he didn't actually address your point. This was an important talk for the reasons he points out.

Kellam Templeton-Smith
profile image
Except that it shouldn't be framed in such a positive manner. Yeah, it's great they didn't have to lay off anyone, but this is really "Holy crap, I nearly killed the company so now we're doing any and everything we can to keep income rolling in". Stacking was neat, but Iron Brigade, CostumeQuest and the Sesame Street Kinect game wouldn't have made as large an impact if any other company had released them .

I'm glad everyone loves Tim Schafer (as he's clever and entertaining), but everything he's done post-lucasarts has been pretty heavily flawed (yep, Psychonauts is great, but is far from the perfection everyone usually ascribes to it).

And honestly, if they had just finished BL and actually advertised the actual content of the game, DoubleFine might be on a very different path.

Kellam Templeton-Smith
profile image
Except that it shouldn't be framed in such a positive manner. Yeah, it's great they didn't have to lay off anyone, but this is really "Holy crap, I nearly killed the company so now we're doing any and everything we can to keep income rolling in". Stacking was neat, but Iron Brigade, CostumeQuest and the Sesame Street Kinect game wouldn't have made as large an impact if any other company had released them .

I'm glad everyone loves Tim Schafer (as he's clever and entertaining), but everything he's done post-lucasarts has been pretty heavily flawed (yep, Psychonauts is great, but is far from the perfection everyone usually ascribes to it).

And honestly, if they had just finished BL and actually advertised the actual content of the game, DoubleFine might be on a very different path.

E Zachary Knight
profile image
This is something that I have thought was needed for a long time. Why waste all your resources on one or two games when you could be spreading things out working on a lot more smaller games at the same time. It makes sense. Glad to see it worked for Double Fine.

Brent Gulanowski
profile image
The lack of variety of documented models for running a game development business is an atrocity. I know that most game devs don't get into the industry to run the business, and perhaps the industry fails to hire truly creative business people. There are an unlimited number of ways to organize people to create and sell their work. It seems like the industry is only willing to acknowledge three or four of those as being legitimate. The industry seems to be choking itself for lack of entrepreneurial exploration and experimentation. Anything that causes game devs to stop and think about the issue at all is a good thing.

Marcus Miller
profile image
My kids love Double Fines' Happy Theater.


none
 
Comment: