A question for game developers on feedback

Here’s a question for any developer who handles game outsourcing or works with writers. In my experience working with game developers, the kind of feedback I receive ranges from the helpful and thorough to the virtually non-existent. The single common denominator on all the games I have worked on has been the speed of the feedback we receive: it is almost always slow in coming. 

The reason, it would seem, is obvious — developers are busy and writing is not a priority. Yet even when working with a developer who cared deeply about the story and the production could not commence until the story was set, I had to wait weeks for any sort of feedback. In television, executives earn their pay by giving feedback and shepherding the project from concept to script to episode. For better or worse, their entire job is to give feedback.  Game developers who manage writers or outsource don’t have that luxury. You wear many hats and cannot or do not devote that much time to giving feedback to the writers. 

Here, then, is my question.  How can we get feedback from you in a timely manner?  We have implemented a few strategies thus far: 

1.  Put feedback in the contract.  In a recent contract, the developer agreed to give feedback on our deliverables within a set period of time.

2.  Ask for feedback and explain the urgency.  This strategy has been hit and miss, mostly miss.  While working under contract, we asked for feedback on a concept that required approval or denial before we could complete our milestone. Even with reminders, they did not give us any feedback, so we were forced to make a decision on our own on as to what to submit.

3. Ask for feedback by a certain deadline. This strategy has been much more effective, but for some reason does not sit right with me, probably because it feels like I’m telling someone how to do their job. How do you feel when this happens to you?    

Which strategies do you approve of? If you know of another way to get speedy feedback, now’s the time to share. In fact, please answer by Tuesday, January 22nd at 2pm EST, or the world will explode. 

Question Mark Guess that game dialog! What game did the following dialog come from?
Manny: Any messages for me?
Eva: Besides the one about the poisoning?
Manny: Yeah.
Eva: I only have one other message for you, Manny… I’m not your secretary! I don’t take your messages! So get it through your thick skull, and stop forwarding your phone to me!
Manny: All right, but that sounded more like FOUR messages to me. In my heart, though, you’re still my secretary.

Check back next week to see if you guessed right!

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Published in: on January 17, 2008 at 2:20 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Grim Fandango.

  2. […] Last week’s game dialog came from GRIM FANDANGO. John Green guessed it right! Stay tuned for more Guess that Game Dialog! […]

  3. […] systems, of course, is a part of game design.  And game development itself also has systems and feedback loops.  For a while now, we, like other writers, have advocated including the writer early on in […]

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