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Creating any digital product requires teams to work together, but the game development process is uniquely complex with sprawling interactive narratives and requires collaboration at a deep level.

Kini Schoop, Blogger

August 4, 2023

5 Min Read

Creating any digital product requires teams to work together, but the game development process is uniquely complex with sprawling interactive narratives and requires collaboration at a deep level. It isn’t easy – achieving deep collaboration in this industry takes a lot of effort, and its hampered by many elements that can detract from great teamwork.

Here are the four boss battles that studios need to battle to win at game development collaboration, why they are difficult to subdue, and what you can do to triumph and unite your studio throughout production.

Boss Battle #1: Yetiflux, The Embodiment of the Wildly Iterative and Dynamic Nature of Games

Yetiflux exists because games evolve and change constantly during development—new ideas emerge, features are added or removed, and gameplay mechanics are refined. As a result, the development teams need to be responsive, collaborating well to ensure cohesive, consistent progress. This boss is a challenge because a single change can have sweeping effects throughout the rest of the production pipeline that can cause confusion and delays.

How to defeat this boss:

Bulk Editing Across Entire Narratives

To reduce the impacts of change, minimize the amount of work needed to accommodate change. Using tools that allow you to make bulk edits across an entire game narrative will reduce the pain in making changes to dialogue, character names, and assets. Some writing tools can even take those changes and automatically update all instances and transfer that new information through as data to assist the dev team.

Integrated Tools to Sync Changes Across Dev Tools

Solutions that have their own API can empower you to synchronize content changes made to your narrative with external tools for a streamlined content creation process. Automating the way that data and any changes to it move through your pipeline is the ultimate finishing move for this boss.

Boss Battle #2: Temporius, The Phantom of Project-based Hires

Temporius emerged from the temporary and project-based hires that the game development industry relies on. Studios hire contractors or freelancers to fill specific roles during production. While this approach allows flexibility and scalability, it comes with its own set of challenges.

Temporary team members may not have knowledge of where information is located, and who they can rely upon for help—which can hamper productivity. In some cases, temporary team members may not be as invested in projects, making it harder to establish the right kind of working relationships needed for trusted collaboration. The battle is to bring these people in, give them the ability to talk to others and give them information and insight they need to work well.

How to defeat this boss:

Intuitive, User-Friendly Collaboration Platforms

Platforms that are easy to use and connect your team as they work are vital. Cloud-based platforms that have the ability to comment and tag other users will create the sense of collaboration everyone needs to empower clarity and confidence about their work as they move through the narrative design process.

Greater Insight Into What Teammates Are Working On

In their quest to deliver results and hit the ground running, a new teammate can accidentally conflict with existing or ongoing work. Besides regular standups, there are a lot of ways to gain perspective into what the team is working on at any given moment. A collaboration solution should allow users to see when other collaborators are working on specific narrative elements, removing the risk of version conflicts and confusion around what’s been updated.

Boss Battle #3: The Datamancer, Eternal Record Keeper for the Endless Development Timeline

The Datamancer entered our world through the reality of game development’s notoriously long timelines, and the struggle to keep up-to-date documentation and records. These lengthy projects only make collaboration and communication more challenging because people move on, and the deeper you go into the development pipeline, the greater the potential is for errors because the number of assets and other elements has increased. The battle is to maintain records of revisions, processes, and goals so each person knows how to best complement the work of the rest of the team.

Defeat this boss with:

Documentation and Knowledge Exchanges

Creating a central hub for information, design documents, and project milestones will ensure continuity and facilitate collaboration, even as team members come and go.

Establish a Creative Source of Truth

Keep up-to-date versions of creative assets in one place to make it easy for anyone to be confident in knowing they are working the correct versions. Some form of asset management with metadata tagging will make assets easy to find and save time.

A narrative development tool can serve your team as a source of truth for narrative data and script content. If it has an API, you can funnel this data down through your pipeline to other tools and asset repositories.

Boss Battle #4: Solitarius, The Secluded Sentinal of Work Silos

Departmental silos, where teams work independently with limited crossover with other departments can crush effective communication. Silos lead to information gaps, conflicting priorities, and a lack of understanding of the game's vision and goals.

Defeat this boss with a Combination of Strategies from Previous Boss Battles:

  • Collaboration Platforms: A platform that promotes collaboration and keeps teams working in concert with each other to leverage each other's efforts, leading to faster development and delivery of a rock-solid game.

  • Integrated Tools: Tools with APIs will allow users to build powerful, custom integrations to make sure the most recent data is always available for teams, no matter where they sit in the development pipeline.

A Robust Collaborative Strategy Will Harness the Full Might of Creative and Technical Teams.

Finding a solution that takes into consideration the needs of creative and technical individuals will ultimately lead to supercharged, highly productive teamwork.

By leveraging collaborative narrative solutions, particularly those with an API, studios can facilitate smooth communication and data exchange between technical and non-technical teams. Allowing data to pass from a narrative design solution into other software and services empowers creative teams to do what they do best, with all the right data sent on to the more technical teams downstream in the pipeline.

With your studio united by these tactics, the next collaboration boss battle can be an easy win.

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