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Feature: 'Get Your Pigs In A Row!'

As a developer, how do you plan the next game while completing the existing one? In <a href="http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/3682/game_law_get_your_pigs_in_a_row.php">this metaphorical piece</a>, Veteran game lawyer/consultant Tom Buscaglia examines

Eric Caoili, Blogger

June 3, 2008

2 Min Read

As a developer, how do you plan the next game while completing the existing one? In this metaphorical piece, Veteran game lawyer/consultant Tom Buscaglia examines snakes eating pigs for the answer. To better understand a game's development cycle and what's required when building a game, we need to examine the snake-pig hierarchy and what the snake needs to do to ensure a project's completion: "First, the snake. The snake represents the project leads. Those core team members involved in the initial design and prototyping stages of the project. You probably know who I mean on your team. This is a tight group of highly talented individuals who bring home the meat. (The rest is mostly sizzle.) Now we introduce the pig. The pig is the vast number of people involved in generating the multitude of assets that comprise the full game. The artists, level designers, animators, scripters, tool programmers and all the others who build the assets that fill out the game and add that all important sizzle. In effect, the pig delivers sustenance to the snake. How? By being eaten, of course. And the development process is then revealed to be like that old National Geographic image that haunted so many children's dreams. That small head and long thin body with the huge lump in the middle -- the pig in the snake." Though putting your snakes in a row seems simpler, it won't work if you intend to have your entire team in-house. Both outsourcing and choosing not to outsource your pigs can have serious repercussions on your budget and studio: "The problem is that the same key people needed to finish the game in the final stages are in crunch and in no position to be working on the prototype for the next project. Moreover, they will likely be unfit to do much of anything for a few weeks after crunch is over. The solution is having the foresight to put your pigs in a row -- not your snakes. This demands that the snake's head be redirected at some point in the development process of project A to start thinking about and actually working on project B." You can now read the full feature on why you want to have your pigs in a row when planning your team's next project and why putting your snakes in a row doesn't work (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from other websites).

About the Author(s)

Eric Caoili


Eric Caoili currently serves as a news editor for Gamasutra, and has helmed numerous other UBM Techweb Game Network sites all now long-dead, including GameSetWatch. He is also co-editor for beloved handheld gaming blog Tiny Cartridge, and has contributed to Joystiq, Winamp, GamePro, and 4 Color Rebellion.

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