Communication with remote team members.
Solution: We have evaluated several software packages and found that Groove Virtual Office has the balance of features and ease of use we are looking for. Groove creates a private network between all team members and allows sharing of files, whiteboard features, chat, private messaging and bulletin boards. The only thing it does not handle is versioning of files and for that we will be using a CVS tool called Subversion.
Dissemination of information from the project leads to various team members.
Solution: We've added the position of Creative Assistant someone who reports directly to the project leads and has the authority and extensive knowledge of the project to advise team members.
Clarity of the game design and communication of design vision.
Solution: The art director has no schedule freeing her up to manage the art team in a hands on and flexible fashion, meeting regularly, creating style guides, problem solving and working personally with members of the team, keeping everyone on the same page.
The unlikely event that our Middle Ware company, Act-3d, fails.
Solution: The current version is sufficient, SDK allows extensions to be built by the programming team
Exporting geometry can be time consuming and tricky.
Solution: Dedicated and reliable exporter software will be developed to suit our particular needs.
Data sharing, storage and backup.
Solution: We will be using a combination of peer-to-peer network, local file server, internet server based versioning server and off premises automatic back ups
Finding available and knowledgeable programmers.
Solution: The Quest3D forums are filled with eager and talented contractors.
Animation and sound systems with in Quest3d are inadequate.
Solution: Act-3D is hired to solve this
Programmers don't understand the engine design concept.
Solution: Our Lead programmer will teach them, simple tasks first to "get the hang of it"
Cut-scene movie direction is unclear.
Solution: Koen Van Mierlo is our dedicated animation director.
Acting style is unclear or not realistic enough.
Solution: We will use motion captures (Animazoo's Gypsy Motion capture System that we have used in the past to great effect.) and rotoscoping (via video) to ensure the animators can achieve the level of realism needed and understand clearly what should be done.
Unfamilarity with software.
Solution: only experienced contractors are hired
Too much work for individual team members.
Solution: Good planning. Realistic scheduling. Great management.
Solution: Many team members work at their own location, Regularly scheduled group meetings where game progress is shown and problems discussed (both online and in person when possible), Parties (to celebrate major milestones)
3D artists discipline.
Solution: Hire experienced outsourcing companies with own managment structure
Concept artists discipline.
Solution: Smaller workload for less disciplined (less experienced) artists, hired experienced ones for the bulk.
Lack of computer skills in concept artists.
Solution: Groove and personal tutorials.
Slow response time
Solution: Make a rule that emails need to be responded within x hours and that team members check Groove regularly.
Compatibility with future technology.
Solution: Do not use newest features of graphics cards.
New collaborators are underskilled.
Solution: Use collaborators with whom we have experience for key positions, give candidates test assignments, start with a trial period before hire.
Solution: 30% lag time is added to most tasks on schedule
Solution: Everyone speaks English, native speakers take care that they use simple and clear phrasing. Non-native speakers make an effort to improve their english communication skills. Belgians on team speak four languages (Dutch, English, French and German) so communication in other languages is possible. Outsource studio directors communicate with their own teams in their native language.
Design conflicts during production.
Solution: Resolve before production, seperate authority (Auriea=art, Michael=interaction)
Lack of good junior animators.
Solution: motion captures, start looking early
Animators bogged down by technical issues.
Solution: Dedicated staff for skinning & rigging as well as for exporting.
Art director needs to see assets in game.
Solution: Programming team builds viewer application.
Unsatisfactory asset delivery by team.
Solution: Management team combines all skills required to make the complete game, so they can fill in wherever needed
Tale of Tales are first time developers.
Solution: Experience through extensive pre-production (almost 3 years), hire experienced project manager, work with capable publisher