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NaturalNines

Communicating with Programmers

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From my experience, English and Japanese are the most efficient means of communicating to programmers. Next would be French, but last would be Thai. Generally even Thai people prefer to use English and read English books instead of Thai books when it comes to programming (too many of their words are literal descriptions—for example, their word for “traffic” (?????) literally means “car stuck”, so you can’t use it to describe Internet traffic unless you want to say, “Internet cars stuck”). I have heard Chinese is somewhere in the middle but I have no personal experience with that.

In the world of game creation, each discipline has terms unique to itself. Artists know what “bevel” means while musicians know what “accompagnato” means.
While it is true that the world of programming is the most “sectioned off” from the masses and the most bewildering to outsiders, all people from all professions know what words have meaning only to them and what words have meaning to the rest of the world.

In other words, programmers know how to communicate as well as you do.
Just as you know a few words from the world of art, programmers know at least a few words from the world of design (in fact, many programmers are designers in sheep’s wool).
Generally there should not be a problem unless you, the programmer, or both of you have a problem with communication in general, in which case that is another issue.


L. Spiro

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You artists have the benefit of working on a constrained environment.

That was actually the basis of my concern, so I'm glad you mentioned it. I can look at a picture, an animation, scenery, whatever, in a game and get a pretty accurate idea of how the visual aspect was completed and the time and tools it took to do so, but I won't know if there are 10 or 10,000 lines of programming behind it. The good idea fairy must be a pain in the ass for programmers.

Again, thank you all for the continued assistance.

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Just make sure you know that something that may seem simple to you is not as simple in practice. They will probably tell you if you are asking for something that is too complex

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I particularly agree with SoTL.

Beyond that, clarity. Some things are very simple, or well understood in the industry. You won't know which things. In that case let them get on with it. If you want something more custom, it gets tricky. Some programmers you'll tell to do something and they'll just start. Sometimes that's a danger sign that they're making lots of assumptions. Or you'll tell a programmer what you want. They'll ask you to explain in more detail. You will. They'll look puzzled and ask for more detail, etc etc. For example, if you say you want a character to act cute:

Artist: Make the character act cute.
Programmer: What do you mean by cute? Big eyes and cute noises?
Artist: No, ACT cute.
Programmer: You have some animations you want me to play?
Artist: Well yes... but no. Like very happy but easily scared.
Programmer: Scared of which things? I can set up a system so you can tag which things it's scared of...
Artist: That's going to take an awfully long time tagging things... any other ideas?
Programmer: Er, scared of enemy characters and fast-moving objects? But we'd need to decide HOW FAST is FAST and if there are any exceptions. Also we'd need to add a sight system so it knows which enemies to be scared of... unless it's psychic? Psychic would be easier, just all enemies onscreen or within radius X. Hmm, but maybe disable this in cut scenes or things could get pretty trippy.

etc etc. Programmers have to (or at least should) consider all use cases, which is why the job can be difficult and pedantic. ;)

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this thread has moved from form of communication to content of communication. it also has indifferently talked about artist <-> programmer talk and director <-> programmer talk.
I hope just mentionning it will allow people to order all of that.

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Toystory-Kaj_ErlingFacebook120817.jpg

NaturalNines, thank you for asking. At least you inquire about it. I wish more people would see this thread as many great points were raised. Edited by UltimaX

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Feature Creep. Oh man, Feature Creep. "Wouldn't it be fun/nice/good if it did this?" Sure, but I didn't agree to that - You're piling straw on the camel's back, and sometimes what you're asking is just the last (and latest) one.

I'm using "you" in the general form of "the projects' client". Edited by Narf the Mouse

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I want to point out that it can also be beneficial to have only one person through which the majority of communication with the programmers takes place. It doesn't have to be an unbreakable rule but when you have one person who deals with the programmers most often, they will tend to get to know each others needs and methods better. Also, it's a good way to filter out a lot of the 'noise' that would otherwise be sent to the programmers directly and that issue that one end user thinks is critically urgent is properly classified as the medium priority item that it really is.

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