I started at Glowing Eye Games six years ago, starting as a greenhorn intern and climbing the ranks to producer. It’s been an absolute pleasure discovering the wonderful world of producing with Glowing Eye Games. My career and experience have very much been shaped by my lovely colleagues, a variety of interesting projects, and trial with the inevitable error.
I’m often asked by family and friends what exactly it is I do. They’re aware of my job title and that I work with mobile games, but what does that entail? It’s difficult to sum producing up in a single sentence, but I also don’t want to bore them to death by delving into the niggling avenues of game development. I’ll try to keep it brief here as well, lest your eyes roll back as you fall into a blissful, boredom induced coma.
I quite often think of producing as keeping hold of the big picture. While everyone else on the team is busying themselves creating beautiful art, perfecting that gameplay, and finding those pesky bugs, you must make sure that everything created is helping form the envisioned final game. This means lots of meetings, reviews, and a lot of playtesting. There’s a great satisfaction watching all these individual departments come together to create a fantastic end product that’s the culmination of everyone’s hard work.
I have very much learned on the job. I came into Glowing Eye Games as a bookseller, with absolutely no knowledge of game development except a great interest in video games. My gateway was marketing, managing social media, writing copy for the games and website, and helping create the marketing material. This is still very much part of my job, but I now have the luxury of delegation. Glowing Eye Games really encouraged my career growth, letting me find my path by giving me both marketing and production tasks, and supporting me when I ultimately decided production was my preferred track. Thinking back through the years I have tried to boil down six years of experience into three important points.
Being flexible is incredibly important in a small company as you often step in and fill in gaps in moments of slack. While I’m first and foremost a producer, I also find myself doing many of the marketing tasks from my intern days or if there’s a QA backlog and someone needs to do some LQAs then I’m happy to pick that up. This can make work quite fractured at times but becoming a jack of all trades is never a bad thing. My organisational skills are now top notch and being able to use the full Adobe Creative Suite is a huge bonus. Pick up those extra tasks you may not feel comfortable with; you don’t have to be an expert for all jobs, and it never hurts to add more skills to your arsenal, especially as a producer which has you working with all different departments.
Being flexible also helps when working with your team. It quickly became apparent that different people prefer different management styles. Some prefer to be given a task list with check ins when needed and others prefer to brainstorm and discuss before the ultimate review. All are valid and as a producer it’s your job to make everyone else’s job easier, so adapting to their work style is invaluable.
Good communication is always in job descriptions as one of the core soft skills desired, but it rings especially true for producing. I said earlier that being a producer is all about keeping the big picture in mind, and to do that you need great communication. I would be lying if I said I was on the ball all the time, but I always have the best intentions. This means meetings, emails, instant messages, and screen shares that make sure you’re all on the same page and that things are heading in the right direction. This can be off putting, but it’s all about balance. For example, you don’t have to have an hour meeting every time. A ten minute text meeting might be all you need, or sometimes an email will suffice. This goes back to the be flexible point; you don’t need to do things by the book if there’s another solution that better suits the situation. Just always make sure to take notes. They will be invaluable when you need to follow things up and figure out the status of a project.
Good communication also means accepting responsibilities when things don’t go to plan. As soon as you realise things aren’t going right, talk to your teammates and get it fixed as soon as possible. Things will inevitably go wrong, and the sooner you get on top of things, the sooner you can right the course. It always feels horrible to be the bearer of bad news, but it also shows that you’re able to work under pressure and own up to mistakes.
You are a team
The wonderful thing about game creation is that the game wouldn’t exist without everyone in the team pulling their weight, and that’s very important to remember. Everyone is playing their part so it’s vital that no one charges ahead to take credit but make sure to acknowledge individuals’ hard work as well. Credit where credit is due always.
Listen to your teammates and they will listen to you in turn. Their expertise is extremely important, and you are the point of control herding everyone in the right direction. Work together and not against each other, and always be ready to step in to help or boost your teammates up. Everyone needs support sometimes.
There’s more to it
The art of producing is ever changing and growing, especially with new styles of project management coming through all the time. It’s hard to sum up the job in a single blog post but I feel like these three points are important aspects. I think it all comes down to respecting and listening to your colleagues. All people are different and it’s important to remember that. As a producer you are captain of the ship while every specialist on the team is doing their part. Keep an eye on the end product and keep pushing forward, but always be respectful and kind.