04-14-06I realized the other day that working on Stranger, being part of the "producing" team that oversaw the design at the end of the game, I felt more connected to the production of the game than I did in all my lead programming before that. Yeah, I met with designers, yeah I did lots of coding and engine design, yeah I talked to Lorne about ideas, but I wasn't really involved in the levels, and, for example, in games like Drakan and Munch, I hardly knew what was in the game until I played them after they came out. Yeah, I tested my code in levels, but they were usually little test levels, or unfinished levels that you couldn't really play. A few take-aways that I learned and tried to apply to Stranger were : 1) Make the game playable and fun as early as possible; do NOT use the technique of having lots of pieces in development that come together in the end; it's important for everyone to be able to actually play the real game as early as possible (unfortunately, some of the other teams didn't really get on this bandwagon with Stranger), and 2) Make sure you can load & play full levels in your debug builds. In Munch & Drakan the engine couldn't load & play full levels in debug. In Stranger we sort of managed to fix that but it still wasn't great and we stell wound up using a lot of test levels, which is bad for the code-design relationship.
Anyhoo, I really saw the appeal of being something like a Producer. You don't personally do anything, but since you aren't doing anything you have the time to see what everyone else is doing.