TIPS FOR MEDIA AGENCIES ON WORKING WITH EXTERNAL GAMES DESIGNERS
(IÂ jottedÂ thisÂ aboutÂ eighteenÂ monthsÂ ago, probably while on the Tube. I think I had the intention of working it up into a proper document and circulating it. Evidently that didn’t happen.
IfÂ you’veÂ gotÂ anyÂ tipsÂ thatÂ wouldÂ fitÂ inÂ theÂ list,Â bung them down below. If you know of any media agencies that would benefit from this advice, feel free to pass it on.)
1. If you’ve not done a game before, then say so. We will not laugh and point, but on the other hand we will not assume you understand basic principles that actually you don’t.
2. Stage one is to sit down with the designer and agree the development schedule, how much time there is to delivery, and how that time will be divided up. You should do this before you’ve even begun working out whether this is going to be a BAFTA-winning work of dazzling originality or another arcade knock-off with your client’s brand on it.
3. Whatever stage you’re doing next, do mention it to the designer.
4. Liaise closely with your designer. Yes, closer than that. Game design is an organic, holistic process,Â yet games designers are not mind readers. We need to know what’s going on in your heads, and you need to know what’s going on in ours.
5. You cannot speed up game development by throwing more staff at it. ItÂ may improve the quality of the end product (as long as the staff understand games, see point 1) but it won’t make it happen any faster.
6.Â If you employ a games designer and then don’t show them early builds of the game or consult them during playtest, you’ve wasted your money.
7.Â AÂ creditÂ wouldÂ beÂ nice.
Addendum 1: Know who you want. A games designer will design you a game. A games writer will work with a designer to plan and create all the plot, character and narrative elements of a game for you. A script writer will write the actual words that will appear in the game. The three do overlap but they are not the same and they get paid differently. Don’t ask someone to script-write a game and then expect them to design the games systems.