Challenge #13: Your Best Tip for Better Game Production

While I’m still browsing some answers in the couple of previous challenges, preparing the game production discussion I would like to throw the ball to you and ask:

What would be your number one game production tip or piece of advice to others?
If you’d had only one piece of advice to give to others – what would it be?

It’s really darn hard to think about just ONE tip for game production. There’s so much to know, learn and experience that it’s really tough to say the BEST tip. After thinking about some alternatives, I believe my “ultimate” piece of advice would be: Focus on results.

I really think that focusing on the results will go a long way. Whether it’s hiring a new team member, picking the right engine, choosing game play elements, negotiating with others – always focus on results. And by results I don’t mean just money – there’s lots of more besides money. There’s long term team membership, there’s long term success in health, relationships, anything. There’s lots of different results. Don’t hire a team member who is just a nice guy, hire a guy who can produce good results and fits to the team. Don’t tell people how to do their job, just make sure they act legally and produce the results you want.

Focus on results. That’s my number one tip (today).

What’s your best piece of advice to others?

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. stick to the script…

    It does not matter if the new idea is wonderfull and if you would be proud of seeing it in the game, stick to the script.
    what was put down on paper should be thought of as gospel, no turning, cutting corners or illusions.

    I have found that if the initial idea is changed, even to solve a problem, the whole project falls out of alignment and all concepts of your goal become dellutions.

    STICK TO THE SCRIPT, if you cant find a solution, try harder, softer, longer… whatever… but stick to the script.

  2. Well, I’m not in production (yet) but my best guess based on what I’ve experienced from the QA side would be: Focus on the player. Every decision should be made with the thought of how it will impact the player. Whether it is to make design changes, meeting deadlines, or evaluating input from QA, at the end of the day, it must have a positive impact on the player’s experience or it probably won’t be worth it.

  3. If you work in the same room it is excellent to get the plan for the comming days up on a whiteboard. In my current project all tasks are prioritized on color coded post-it notes and given a time estimate. This makes it easy for the entire team to see what is Pending | Checked out | Done.

    We recently upgraded this to also have lines marking the days. Then you can place tasks according to their time estimate.

    This has made miracles for my project management! :-D

    Note 1: make sure the estimates are made by those doing the tasks.
    Note 2: Color codes eksample: Green is programming and red is audio.
    Note 3: All this still needs a long term plan to be updates somewhere.

  4. Great tips people:
    – do what you can
    – believe in your game
    – do what you love
    – finish your game
    – “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
    – make a small game
    – focus on focus (and other great tips in that post)
    – don’t be a robot (not 100% what that meant though :)


  5. LiF: I see your point, and you’re right, your games aren’t for yourself (usually), they’re for your customers. But it’s more than just that: If you don’t truly love games, you’re going to be hard pushed to make good ones. It’s not so much about making games for you as much as loving what you make. When you love what you make, you’re going to put more effort into it. It’s about passion.

    But, no such thing as a hard and fast rule, and I’m sure there are plenty of game makers who made awesome games even though they hate them. I’ve just never heard of any. :)

  6. I guess it depends who you are producing games for: a) yourself for fun or b) for a commercial audience. I assumed the article was aimed at b) because with a) you don’t even need to finish it!

  7. Also, I have to desagree with VPellen : (quote) “Love what you do, do what you love. If that’s games, go for it. If it isn’t, quit.”

    Argument 1) Doing video games is not about making things that you love, it’s about making games _players_ (well, consumers, to use an ugly word) love.

    Argument 2) Finishing a game is 50% things you love (for example programming, or creating a game design, …) and 50% boring things (all the marketing part, the packaging, finding subcontractors, finding guys to translate in several languages, debug and debug (and debug)

    Just my opinion ;-) But don’t worry, it’s a very incredible job anyway ;-) I don’t want to discourage anyone :)

  8. Focus on Focus.

    Find and destroy any perturbating element : kill MSN, Skype, block IP from eBay and all the favorites newspapers. Make everybody clean his desk. No post-its.

    Purchase good chairs and good lights. A bright light is needed to be productive. Hear the needs of your coworkers, and give them _perfect_ conditions to work and _focus_

    Display and read your _true_ objectives each day.

    And so one. I could write a whole paper on this…

  9. “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    Who knew that the aviator and author of “The Little Prince” was also a game producer?

  10. Do what you can. Leave the rest to others. What this means, is that if you don’t focus on doing what you really can, you end up losing time. And time, as we all know, is money.

  11. One tip?

    Love what you do, do what you love. If that’s games, go for it. If it isn’t, quit.

  12. Finish your game. Surprising how many people fail on that one. No game = no marketing and no sales. So finish your game! Of course *how* to finish your game is a whole series of articles.

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