This post is the first in a series of “Dev Stories” aimed at offering you a peek under the hood of game production: while interacting with players in the last 10 years, we realised that little is known about our work, so the team thought it would be nice to share some development stories and behind-the-scenes facts on the production of this new instalment in the SBK franchise, as well as mobile games at large.
We really hope these stories help bring games creators and users closer, by fostering a mutually beneficial exchange.
THE ROLE OF THE GAME PRODUCER
Since no successful project can actually come to be without proper Project Management, no matter the industry you work in, we decided to kick off our Dev Stories section with the Producer role, and asked Eduardo Fernández—SBK Official Mobile Game’s Producer— to explain what that is about in his own words: “As a Project Manager, my main responsibilities include: time management/allocation, monitoring project progress, analyzing and managing project risk, and lastly, making sure the team has what they need to be successful”.
Game Producers leverage a wide range of project management tools to carry out their work, but their biggest challenge is to keep the whole team on the same page at all times: “My main tool/platform for managing the project timeline, resources, closed beta program, marketing assets and bug tracking is called Smartsheet. It’s sort of similar to Excel or Google Sheets, except it focuses more on collaboration among team members working on the same project”.
Another major issue Game Producers face on a regular basis is the need for accurate planning and timely execution: “An issue that can occur in any project is certain features taking longer to develop than originally estimated. When this happens I try to understand why it’s taking longer, troubleshoot with the respective members to see what they need to be able to complete the task, and lastly analyze how this delay affects the rest of the project”. And, when a project does not proceed as planned, the Producer is usually the guy who has to make tough calls: “Our original list of features for this new SBK game was quite extensive and ambitious. Although we are aiming to achieve everything we proposed, Rewind and Multiplayer will most likely not be ready for launch”.
On top of that, working on a licensed game adds an additional layer of complexity to project management: “Instead of the studio having all the creative liberty, we have to abide by the brand guidelines closely. Colors used in menus, logo sizes, and calendar/roster confirmations are some of the many things we have to make sure are aligned with the license. Communication is key”!
When asked about the importance of delivering an accurate representation of the WorldSBK motorsport experience, both on the brand and simulation fronts, Ed’s answer is: “Very important! A lot, if not the majority, of our player base are fans of the SBK events so we want to deliver something as close to what they enjoy seeing as possible! Our artists work hard to replicate all the different SBK riders, bikes and tracks as close to reality as they can”.
THOUGHTS ON THE NEW SBK OFFICIAL MOBILE GAME
If Ed had to describe the SBK Official Mobile Game in one word, he would go for “Thrilling”. His favorite new feature is the overhauled physics engine: “The revised physics based on a more realistic and fluid handling I think is the most exciting new feature, as it is going to allow both experienced and casual gamers to choose how difficult/realistic they want the game to be”!
If you enjoyed this insight into Game Production, get ready to know more about another foundation stone of game development in our next foray into Dev Stories, focusing on Game Design!