Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The problem of scope creep

Derek Smart explains what every game industry veteran knows: scope creep kills:
Once Chris did what he has done before by overreaching, increasing the project scope – then not listening to the very people he hired to build the game for him – he subsequently killed the project. Thing is, him – and every single dev (past and present) who has ever written a single line of code, designed any component etc – knew over a year ago that they simply couldn’t build the game Chris now envisioned once he got this crowd-funding windfall. And on the record, several of them told him specifically that. He didn’t listen.

You see, here’s the thing with videogame development. It can get away from you very quickly. Once a design scope changes, the budget tends to go out the window. And when key people start bailing, there are bigger problems to contend with because bringing new people up to speed takes a lot of time. Design and programming are not like art, modeling and audio, whereby any replacement can hit the ground running. And the longer it takes, the more it’s going to cost. And if you don’t have the funding to keep at it, the project is basically dead. Our industry is plagued with nightmare stories of things like this happening; to the extent that many a studio and publisher has folded as a result of a single project going sideways, even after the delayed project ships.
This is why I teach that the primary role of the producer is to SAY NO. If the producer is capable of reining in the designer and his inevitable bright ideas, and fending off the even brighter ideas of the suits and marketing people, scope creep can be prevented.

The thing is, even designers who know better usually can't help themselves. That's why the better and more visionary the designer is, the stronger the producer usually needs to be.

No comments:

Post a Comment