Importance of Being Organized in Game Development
Check out the various ways in which being Organized can help you in your Game Development process.
Game Development is a vast field including various disciplines of work. The job can include artists, musicians, programmers, technicians, and market analysts among many others. Especially, when the project at hand is big, it becomes practically impossible to manage all the various tasks and teams and can easily spiral out of control. This is where a well-organized workflow comes in to make the process streamlined. It may be about Asset Management, Task Management, or even Multiple Team Management, having a well-organized workflow can create the optimal and seamless work environment which will definitely boost the efficiency of the team.
But nothing comes perfect. Being properly organized has its own shortcomings which will be discussed later in the article. Here are the Pros of being organized, to begin with.
Being organized can help you in the long run by giving you the freedom to scale up your work hassle-free if the situations demand so. By scalability, we mean providing scope for the project to grow beyond the proposed boundaries and plans. A well-organized workflow can help you and your team to expand more with ideas and also with new team members.
It can come in the form of a proper folder structure for your assets and also having proper backups on the servers for future access. If the situation demands you can always access the files without going through the hassle of fiddling through different directories to find the right file which also helps if a new member joins the team. This also helps in pooling in newer ideas to the current structure designed without breaking the project which essentially helps you plan ahead of time.
Streamlining Project assets access for the whole team
One of the biggest goals in a Game Development Project is cutting downtime and shipping within the deadline. This is important both for being cost-effective and adhering to promises made to the potential players of the game. One of the most important factors contributing to delays in a project is bad asset management which wastes time due to the hassle of going through the bulk of files to find the right asset.
Without a proper organization system for files, most of the time, the assets are dumped into random folders and directories, and when, for example, a programmer rummages through the repository to find the right art asset to import it is most difficult to access and the programmer has to go through multiple backs and forth conversations with the artist to find the location he/she placed the asset at, wasting valuable time. A good organizational system could solve these types of issues by providing a set of rules on where to place a certain type of asset so that the entire team can access that without asking someone else.
Avoiding misplacing assets
Without a streamlined asset management system files are often misplaced because of either negligence of the asset creators due to lack of a set of rules about where to place an asset or because of improper naming of otherwise carefully made assets. This happens way more often than said and can sometimes lead to completely remaking certain assets because of the inability to find them to import into the project or at least waste time finding the asset.
For example, you need to make a vehicle model and send it out to the texturing artist but you name your model a “Truck” instead of a “Pickup-truck”. This would create problems as when the texture artist searches for a “Pickup-truck” there are no matching results and without any proper preview of files, he/she might not find it without your help. Also if you don’t recall what you named it then the asset is either lost or at least is going to take a solid amount of time to recover. A proper organization system can help you avoid this scenario altogether.
Saving time and Reducing Stress
As evident from the above examples being organized can help you save time on your projects and also reduce stress. When you lose the progress you made during a week or even a month only because of bad file names it can certainly increase your stress levels and hamper your performance. The last thing someone wants to have is a setback and remaking of assets for no valid reason.
In a Game Production workflow reusing assets is a common practice to cut down on redundant repetitive tasks and time. A proper organization of assets helps in accessing reusable assets with ease. Reusable assets can include art assets like Character Models, Base Sculpt meshes, Vehicle models, Shaders, Environmental Props, and also Recurring Scripts, and more.
Organizing these assets can prove to be one of the best things during the Game Development Project to cut down on essential time. You will be surprised to know how much time could be saved on reusing assets especially when you can access them easily.
Better Modularity during Development
Another great benefit of Good Organization is better modularity during any Development stage. This can streamline any future processes by providing easy access to various assets and entities like Code, 3D Models, Shaders, etc. If for some reason something is needed to be replaced the developer can find the assets to replace easily and modify it. It is also great for future planning of a project in which you need to add various new pre-planned features like skins or themes.
Being organized can help you provide future updates of your games hassle-free. No more going through the entire project just to find the exact thing to tweak or work on. It’s quite frustrating to come back to a project after a while for tweaking something just to find out you don’t remember where to look for it.
An organized backup can save the day in case something goes wrong. If you are familiar with the project’s organizing system and rules you can access a backup project and start working on it seamlessly without breaking anything in the process. This is especially helpful for larger projects where the sheer amount of assets can be daunting to go through one by one.
Takes time to come up with a proper Organizing System
Obviously, everything has its own flaws and shortcomings, and being properly organized has its own set of problems associated with it. One of the major concerns while getting an organizing system up and running is the planning and the time it takes to set it up. Even though a vast amount of time is saved in the long run, if you are starting out planning the organizing system from scratch, then a lot of time goes into setting it up in the first place and can eat away from crucial development time.
If the project is small enough, for example, a project for a game jam submission, it’d be suggested not to spend much time on organizing the project as that can waste your time for a project that might not be referenced again in the future. But that doesn’t mean not having any sort of organized system whatsoever as that can drag you down with even a small project. Always name your files properly.
Requires a Project Manager in the Team
It takes time to explain the organizing system to the teammates and this most often requires a project manager to ensure the proper upkeep of the system. The project manager has to make sure the organizing system is explained properly to all the teammates so that they understand and use the system appropriately. The project manager has to govern every single step and ensure that the system doesn’t break which could otherwise lead to messed-up projects.
Maintaining the System
Lastly, it’s extremely difficult to maintain the system, especially when rushing through the project or making any last-minute changes. The system can also be messed up when the teammates work remotely and don’t maintain the folder structure or naming convention. Also, it’s quite possible to miss something during the process and that could lead to misplaced files. Avoiding this is extremely difficult but is essential for the proper upkeep of the Organization System.
So, these are a few important aspects, Pros & Cons of being Organized. Being Organized is extremely important when done right and can help a lot in the long run. Even though it comes with some demerits, they far outweigh the benefits. So, be organized whenever required to streamline your workflow and prevent any possible headaches.