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  • How To Reduce Reworks During Video Game Development

    [06.16.16]
    - Davi Vasc
  •  If you work in the video game industry, you have probably experienced in one way or another a situation in which some kind of work (art, music, sound, code, etc) needs to be revised, corrected or even redone entirely. These situations a commonly referred to as reworks.

    In video game development, reworks can be massively time consuming and stress inducing, especially when a deadline is quickly approaching. The good news is that there are ways to ensure that reworks are kept at a minimum.

    Whether you are the one doing the reworks (artists, composers, programmers, etc) or the one asking for them (game designers, producers, directors, etc), this article should help you save a potentially massive amount of time for you and your team.

    The Causes:

    Before we start preventing a problem, we must know what are the causes. In my experience, the two most common causes for reworks are:

    1. Design changes. Reworks caused by design changes occur when one or more fundamental aspects of the game's design is changed by the developers, making the previously approved work unfitting for the project. Reworks of this kind can be quite unpredictable and difficult (sometimes impossible) to prevent. 
    2. Lack of proper communication. This is the most common, preventable issue and will be the focus of this article. Reworks of this type are caused by miscommunication between the work provider and the game designers, resulting in work that does not fit the artistic and/or technical direction of the project.

    Now, let's go through some easy steps that will allow us to drastically reduce the occurrence of reworks caused by lack of proper communication:

    Information is Gold:

    Always provide/ask for all the relevant information about the game. To increase the chances of creating work that perfectly matches the vision of the developers, it is important to make sure that everyone is working on the same wave length. The best way to do this is to have as much information as possible available for the contractors.

    This may sound like common sense, because it is. But unfortunately, common sense is not always common practice. Game developers who have been living and breathing their vision for months may unintentionally regard a certain piece of important information as common knowledge, failing to disclose it clearly to other team members. Or, a team member who comes in later at the development may unknowingly receive outdated information about the project, resulting in work that must be remade.

    The best way to prevent this kind of miscommunication is to have organized and up to date sources of information. Good examples are game design documents, concept art, script, screenshots and early game builds. This is especially relevant to team members coming in later in development and also to those working off-site. 

    If you are new in the development team, never hesitate to ask for more information. If you are a developer bringing someone new to the team, be proactive to provide it. This will for sure prevent misunderstandings and unnecessary reworks. 

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