In the latest exclusive Gamasutra interview
, we speak with Takeshi Shimada, Nintendo's manager of development support and platform software engineering, on a variety of topics, including Nintendo's tool development, history, and use of outside middleware.
In this excerpt, the software engineer speaks openly about the crucial task of opening lines of communication, especially in his role as both a developer and a team leader:
“I absolutely do feel that communication is very important. In my role at Nintendo, I end up emphasizing it quite a lot. In my case, I'm the leader of two teams that work on development tools that are used by all of the teams internally at Nintendo, as well as second and third parties. Of course it's important to make sure that each of these different teams can still use these tools the way that they were intended to, so that becomes something that my team has to ensure: that everyone can approach these tools in the same way.
That flow of thinking has been going on more or less since the days of the Nintendo 64 development tools. But because each team has a different way of working, communication is absolutely essential to find out what the needs of each team are and how they're actually using tools, so that I can coordinate my efforts and the efforts of my team to create something that is usable by everyone.
Despite that, I feel that long ago, there was a period where we would end up developing middleware that could not be used by all groups. Over time, we came to match different groups' workflow, to be able to provide middleware and tools that fit into their workflow very well. This was a very gradual process, as we came to understand how to do this. It took a lot of talk between internal teams to figure out what their needs were.
For my part, I found that I needed to be able to develop these tools very flexibly. There were constant demands for different needs for different teams that had to be taken into account, so it was very much an evolutionary process.”
You can now read the full Gamasutra feature
with much more from Shimada on his role at Nintendo, as well as more technical insights and development challenges surrounding into the company's development tools used for Nintendo platforms, including the Wii (no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external websites).