Sponsored By

How to hit deadlines in the games industry

The life of a games programmer is hectic and full of ups and downs.

Lottie Wilson, Blogger

November 1, 2017

3 Min Read

The life of a games programmer is hectic and full of ups and downs. Yes, you get to work on some amazing games, and have a hand in shaping how they are designed and what the eventual tone will be, but you also have to meet some pretty strict deadlines- and schedule your work in such a way that meet all of them so the game stays on track. In an industry that was valued at £4.33bn in 2016, there’s little room for error.

This is even more important now. With the autumn development rush about to kick into gear, and hundreds of games due to be designed and created before the Christmas rush, and for 2018, getting what can often seems like a colossal amount of work done on time can seem like a mammoth task.

With this in mind, here are some tips for hitting those deadlines.

Stay organised: The key to keeping on top of your workload is staying organised. Keep a list of your projects and what their deadlines are, and check them often so you can keep on top of what tasks are due, and when they’re due. If you’re a manager, you should check in with your team regularly to see what stages people are at and if they need any help. If you’re facing an urgent deadline, then fast-track it.

Keep some time spare: be honest about how long your task is going to take. Don’t overcommit: It’s no point trying to impress your boss or your fellow workers if you don’t have the time spare to do it. Though working late can be useful in emergencies, it’s not something you want to resort to every day. Be realistic about the amount of time it’ll take and add some spare time on top as a buffer, so if you do find yourself running over, it’s not as urgent as it would be otherwise.

Break down the task: Sometimes, starting a big task can seem impossible, which inevitably ends in you putting it off. One way to deal with this is by breaking it up into smaller, more manageable tasks, for which you can set aside its own time and deadline. By taking smaller steps, the job will be done before you know it.

Communicate with your boss: Though many people do find it embarrassing to admit to their boss that they can’t finish the job at hand, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If something’s come up, or you’re being swallowed by work, it’s much better to air the issue as early as possible so they’ll be able to do something about it. It’s important to communicate clearly with your boss at all stages of your work: let them know if you’re falling behind, if you need somebody else to take a look at your work and if it’s due to be done on time. By doing this, you’ll be able to avoid unpleasant conversations later on!

Take responsibility: Take ownership of your work, because nobody else is going to do it for you! The onus on getting the job done, or letting people know if you can’t, is on you and nobody else, so be sure that you stay on top of what’s going on in your workload.


Read more about:

Daily news, dev blogs, and stories from Game Developer straight to your inbox

You May Also Like