• Andersen Pinckney

How Can Roles Change at the End of a Project?

Eira: Echoes of Adventure is scheduled to be released on Steam exactly one month from this post. As a result of cut content and marketing scope/budget, we plan to release the game for free. Maybe it's remote work, maybe it’s the project coming to a close, but our developer roles have started to change towards our end product. As some developers have fewer tasks, they start to transition into a more market-oriented position. Artists seem to be picking up more work, so I’ve personally had to cover both UI and VFX--something I didn’t initially plan for. How have your roles changed in a project? What do you think caused these roles to change? I am going to discuss a little further what is currently happening on our project and talk about how the transition to remote work has gone.

The biggest change to the team has obviously been remote work. Last blog I mentioned that we cut lots of content to adjust for the scope of remote development. So far it feels that team members have been in the range of unaffected to no motivation or anxiety. Like myself, many members are struggling to work in their own home since we are all used to working in a studio-like environment at school. I have personally lost motivation, and I know others can feel it too. We are trying our best to push through in the final stages and are really honing in on making things polished.

So what roles have changed on our team? As workloads change; designers seem to be focusing on marketing the game, programmers tend to be focused on QA, and artists are just doing more art. From what I see as a product owner, I feel that artists are behind the other disciplines. We should’ve seen this from the start as we only have 3 artists compared to 6 designers and 5 programmers. In the past week, I found a first year artist interested in working with us. We ended up contracting her to help with hand drawn cutscenes in our game. These cutscenes have been planned from the early stages of development, but our artists had other resources they were tied up with. Having the extra hand in development is really helping out. Below is her sketch work on a cutscene from a concept one of our designers made.

To help with more art, I’ve become somewhat of a VFX and UI artist. I’m definitely not making content to the standard I initially held the game at, but I think it’s better than nothing.

Now I suppose I should leave with a question. Is changing roles good? Personally, I think it is good to adapt and help cover areas that need help. Alternatively, if people stay in their roles the work is theoretically going to be better in each discipline. Maybe this is the line that is drawn between an indie studio and something as large as AAA. We fall somewhere in the grey zone around large indie and small AA if I were to guess. Having roles is important in a team as large as our own, but it’s hard to have everything covered--especially with the size of our project.

Next post I will have a retrospective of the game. Be prepared to learn about our overall struggles and triumphs. Thank you for reading. Until my next post!