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Drew

Information management

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Games have a stack of information associated with them. When you start considering the amount of documents a decent design team can bang out in the first 6 months of development (before the real work begins), and the art resources of a modern 3d game, along with all of the sound files that go into a game, theres an incredible amount of information to keep track of. Im interested, what solutions have others in the industry come up with to handle this massive amount of data, and track what has been done, what hasnt etc etc. Any comments etc would be welcome. Drew "remnant" Chambers Game Designer Irrational Games

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Asset management is a nightmare! A friend of mine who''s working as sound designer on an independent title has well over 1000 audio clips and loops in the game - SO FAR. Trying to remember that ''this clip is the rocket launcher on this thing being locked, that clip is the launch, hmm... where''s the explosion?'' is quite exciting...

There are asset management databases out there - AlienBrain for one, there are a couple of others - that provide an easily searchable database (keyword, etc.) of assets (artwork, models, bitmaps, etc.). They are NOT cheap, last I looked. There is one that has a "lite" version, I think it was called Cumulus or something like that, that was affordable by mere mortals.

At a minimum, have a standard directory structure for your content, use long file names, and hack together a fast tracking database in Access (that''s what I do for my personal projects, and while I don''t deal with huge amounts of content it keeps things under control). The project my sound designer friend is on uses a custom-written database manager to track assets, I guess the lead programmer got bored and/or fed up one day and wrote one...!

As to tracking progress/to-do/etc. a lot of folks use Microsoft Project. It''s a pain in the butt to learn but it has its advantages, you can pull a status report quickly, it has critical path and milestone tracking, and lots of other neat features (many of which are actually useful).

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Developing something internally is what Im currently looking at doing, but I have a feeling its going to be a continual problem and something that needs to be addressed for more than one project.

Got any links to those asset management tools? I found the alienbrain one, and yes, that looks damn expensive

Drew "remnant" Chambers
Game Designer
Irrational Games

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