The Words That No Producer Wants To Hear

The phrase “You should have told me that 4 days ago.” is something you don’t want to hear so often.

After being on a trip (without checking emails or team discussion) I had a brief conversation with our artist. He had been working on the assassin texture while I was gone, and I pointed out some parts that I’d like to see different. He had been doing the textures for several days already, so naturally the my news were bad for him – and he mentioned that “You should have told me that 4 days ago.”

It was a crappy situation. I had been away for the days when he was doing the texture, so I couldn’t give comments on the work when it was being done. In retrospect, I think we should have had a more detailed plan regarding the colors before any texturing is done. I think this same lesson goes with many daily issues in game production when you have a team.

You simply need to make sure that people know what you expect them to do. They are not mind readers (as I keep telling myself over and over ;). Even though team members might have good idea and vision, you might miss explaining them some crucial points. Most of the time the problem is not in the receiving end – it’s your job to make sure the message gets transmitted. It’s your job to speak language that others understand. Use examples, images, describe, talk – use any means to make sure the message is received in the right way.

In this case I liked the 3D mesh very much, and thought that the colors in the concept would be used in the mesh. I had also said to have “artistic freedom”, and naturally this principle was applied. The overall result was good – but I had some concerns regarding the colors. The lesson learned: I should have talked about the colors in greater detail before any texturing is done.

Same goes with almost any parts of the production: naming conventions, animations, user interface, sounds – everything. While it’s not good to plan over and over, you gotta make enough planning to ensure your team understands where you aim at.

We had a long discussion and decided that in the future we would try to clarify questions beforehand. We decided to stick with the original texture. It would work in this project, and that’s it. Other people liked it, and it’s good quality – even though I had originally thought bit different coloring. We have lots of other work to do, so polishing one texture over and over would not be the best option at this time.

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