21 Differences Between Bad and Good Game Producer

What are differences between bad game producers and professional game producers?

There certainly are something that makes people hate others, and praise others – and in this article I will display some factors from my experience.

Here are 21 differences which I’ve read, seen, heard and experienced coming true among poor or good game producers.

Check out the list – poor versus good:

  1. Doesn’t play video games at all (or all the time) – is not interested.
  2. Is so “busy” that is never around when needed.
  3. Is the Dictator – the one who commands.
  4. Can’t remember team member names. Doesn’t care. Treats everybody the way he wants. Ignores everybody.
  5. Escapes problems – blames for “bad conditions”.
  6. Is totally clueless about the future.
  7. Tries to lead the team – fails miserably.
  8. Takes, never giving anything or contributing in an efficient way.
  9. Misses meetings, doesn’t respect other people’s time or schedules.
  10. Postpones decision making.
  11. Focuses only on profit.
  12. Foggy goals: vague objectives, never uses any deadlines. Cannot tell when goal is achieved.
  13. Has a great game idea – but no any skills to produce it. Thinks he can be the master-mind with the game idea.
  14. Hides things deliberately or accidentally. Loses documents. Is unorganized.
  15. Expects others to perform well all the time.
  16. Over promises, under delivers.
  17. Has never finished a title. No Pong nor Tetris clone yet wants to create the next revolutionary MMORPG.
  18. Has heard about ‘project management’.
  19. Poor communication skills. Thinks negotiations are something where you say, and the other agrees.
  20. Stays in the pool of other whiners. Thinks the project is going to fail. Has lots of negative energy.
  21. Changes plans all the time. Doesn’t listen to others in decision-making.
  1. Plays different games for ideas, motivation and learns from playing.
  2. Is available anytime – or almost at anytime.
  3. Is the Leader – the one who leads by example.
  4. Knows all team members, including their style of working – their habits and treats them accordingly.
  5. Owns problems, even when they aren’t his mistakes.
  6. Has clear and focused vision.
  7. Has the respect of other team members.
  8. Gives, contributes and works harder than anyone in the team.
  9. Is reliable – is never late, informs early about possible delays.
  10. Is good at making decisions.
  11. Has passion for games.
  12. Absolutely clear goals: goals that are either DONE or NOT DONE. Nothing in the between.
  13. Wears different hats when needed: artist’s, designer’s, programmer’s, manager’s, marketer’s, leader’s – you name it.
  14. Keeps the project visible, makes sure all know what’s happening in the project.
  15. Performs well – and helps others to do the same.
  16. Under promises, over delivers.
  17. Has industry experience. Has participated in game productions – small or big. Is eager to get more experience.
  18. Excellent project and time management skills.
  19. Communicates well with programmers, artists, publishers, marketing team and others.
  20. Thinks big – knows that reaching the top is a matter of time and dedication.
  21. Makes proper planning – sticks with the plans, but is ready to be flexible.

Of course these 21 qualities are only rough guidelines and examples, not rules written in stone. Not every producer have these qualities, and it’s not a necessary depending on the producer’s role. Generally speaking producers are expected to possess qualities from the right side of this list – the more the better.

10 thoughts on “21 Differences Between Bad and Good Game Producer

  1. @Veteran Tech Dir > checking games 3 years later clearly shows me veterans are 1st to be discarded if any true progress is required!

  2. Veteran Tech Dir

    overklokan would be a very poor producer and I have dealt with horrible to great in twenty years of game development. Here’s why:

    fear of competition and stealing: then you are either paranoid or you suck at getting original content developed or both! Having visibility or more correctly ‘transparency’ avoids paranoia, adds respect and scale and understanding between all involved in project. There are always exceptions to this such as ‘national security’ or some algorithm equivalent of KFC 11 herbs and spices but IF there is no reason to hide the task item then it should be plainly visible to those on the project and optionally to other teams in the company not of the project (if they could benefit from sharing)

    everything is possible with hard work and dedication… TOTALLY WRONG! This is an ‘Epic Fail’ guaranteed! The only grand statement you could make would be ‘we can do anything given enough time and money’. Hard work and dedication do not overcome these obstacles otherwise coal miners and slaves would dominate the industry (and yes, many suffering programmers and artists feel like they are in those positions!). Also, if you can’t make Pong there is no way in the world you could make an MMORPG.

    what more info does the person that draws 2D graphics need… a LOT more! Oh man you are unaware of what an artist needs to take into account. If you have them work in a hole they will produce some chunk of art that has no relation to the rest of the game! Picture 20 artists working on a game so large no one artist could complete it in five years. Now divide up the responsibilities and you will soon find all artists sharing tasks. When one artist is told to make backgrounds for one level and another for then next level you will have completely different art styles, behavior and a mess. Imagine hiring all of the top Sunday comic artists to make a comic book game staring a whole new concepts. Every artist would draw completely different work if they all did not collaborate, have style guides, check each others’ work and more.

    my brother is a music producer and theres no need to tell him more than 1. and 2. to make a great music track… wow, again, way off target. Are you even aware what a music producer does? Any music COMPOSER will tell you that you are nuts and especially in video games where compositions are all chopped up to keep the gameplay interesting.

    Juuso you are way too nice and political in your responses. Speak honestly without couching your words and your message will be a lot louder and clearer and far more true.

  3. Maybe better wording could have been: “Makes sure the information is available”… Anyway, the negative point contradicts what I was trying to say. You are very right that not everybody wants to know everything. Sometimes overload of information can be bad.

  4. its ok if you limited that state for the team only … but even than it
    might be smarter not to make every detail available to everyone …
    i mean, what more info does the person that draw 2D graphics need than:

    1. info about final resolution of graphics (complexity of details),
    2. some examples for forms, shading, motion and atmosphere,

    theres no need for that person to know exactly what is the goal of
    the game, what are the mechanisms that will be used or how the
    complete screenshot will look like … if designer needs way more info
    than its written in 1. and 2. he is lacking the vision and could be
    the source of info leakage later (if he decides to quit team) … i mean,
    my brother is music producer and theres no need to tell him more
    than 1. and 2. to make great music track (that might not end perfect
    in the 1st try but thats where good communication skills of game
    producers come very handy)

    all im saying is to divide info on a matter of usefulness for each person
    in the team … let everyone do their part of the work focused on really
    important things for their work, no need to make their work harder by
    flooding their brains with irrelevant data, right ???

  5. not true if you know competition is sniffing your hard work and
    has a team of much more experienced people that might steal
    your ideas and end with game earlier than you …

    Well, that might be true. I meant that he keeps project visible for the TEAM – so that everybody in the team knows what’s going on…

    everything is possible with hard work and dedication … and tetris / pong
    has nothing to do with mmorg anyway ;o)

    I was referring to the fact that many people (like I was ;) are eager to start making their first game as MMORPG… without realising how much work is involved. Finishing first a Tetris or pong (or whatever) helps one to understand that ‘finishing’ a game is not always as easy as it sounds.

  6. “Keeps the project visible, makes sure all know what’s happening in the project.”

    not true if you know competition is sniffing your hard work and
    has a team of much more experienced people that might steal
    your ideas and end with game earlier than you …

    “Has never finished a title. No Pong nor Tetris clone yet wants to create the next revolutionary MMORPG.”

    everything is possible with hard work and dedication … and tetris / pong
    has nothing to do with mmorg anyway ;o)

  7. Yes… I completely agree.

  8. This is an excellent list of differences, and extends far beyond game producers, to just plain LEADERS.

    Thank you.

  9. […] Hoje lendo alguns posts sobre produção indepentente de jogos, parei para refletir sobre os erros cometidos na CubaGames. […]

  10. […] Similarly… it’s almost impossible to answer to question “How much games can sell” if you cannot tell what actions are you prepared to take to make your game sell. Are you prepared to work and polish your game over and over? Are you prepared to handle all the criticism? Are you willing to spend time on marketing your game? Are you going to have a distribution partner? Are you going to start acting like a professional game producer? Are you focusing on making your players and team members happy, rather than seeking profits only for yourself? Are you going to improve your product rather than hoping for the best? […]