Jump to content
  • Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  
Norman Barrows

Team makeup

This topic is 789 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

I recently came across a team of about 1-2 dozen in size, with the following approximate breakdown of positions / members:

 

artists: 50% of the team.

managers: 28%

coders: 11%

audio: 5.5%

writing: 5.5%

 

seems a little high on the management end, and kind of light on coders. How does this compare with the make up of most teams?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement

I don't really think percentages are very informative here. What are the actual numbers? What constitutes "management" here? I can totally see a valid scenario where the role of the "management" types is to wrangle and serve as a production role for the high volume of artists, to make sure nobody is duplicating work and everybody is producing art that is actually relevant what will ship in the game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What are the actual numbers?

 

 

looks like my original numbers were off a bit.  i thought it was team size 18 with 4 or 5 managers.  looks like its 17 with 3-4 managers.

 

in this particular case...

 

team size: 17 

 

due to some ambiguity in titles and job descriptions the breakdown is either:

 

10 artists, 3 managers, 2 coders, 1 writer, 1 sound guy,   or

 

9 artists, 4 managers, 2 coders, 1 writer, 1 sound guy,   or

 

9 artists, 3 managers, 3 coders, 1 writer, 1 sound guy,   or

 

8 artists, 4 managers, 3 coders, 1 writer, 1 sound guy.

 
Its unclear if their "art director" is primarily a manager or an artist position. its also unclear if their "UI guy" is a programmer or an artist position.
 

What constitutes "management" here?

 

Lets see here...  we have:

 

producer, project manager, art director, and business guy.

 

in the way of non-management duties that actually produce code or content, the project manager and art director seem to double as writers.

 

BTW: its a volunteer team. no pay, no cash up front, success only.

Edited by Norman Barrows

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That doesn't seem too bad. I generally think that ten people is about the upper-limit of one's ability to effective directly manage a group, so to that end having one person serve as the "art director" and primarily oversee and coordinate the artists in various ways seems reasonable. Having one person focused on business and legal issues is also not entirely uncommon.

 

I would expect at least one more producer/management role to both interface with the art manager and to manage the "other" development roles remaining (programmers, etc). So three management positions seems totally fine. Four, where the extra is another production role, seems like it might create a bit of overlap but it isn't egregious. Especially if these production roles are also contributing in other ways.

Edited by Josh Petrie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have a Project manager (PR and marketing included), 2 programmer, 1 artist, 1 sound, and .5 writer

For most games I would think there needs to be more artists than programers, or programers end up waiting on assets, unless there was a good lead time for asset creation. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To my experience from a small (~15 people) and a medium (~200 people) developer body size, the ratio of artists : programmers was always around 3 : 1.

As Josh Petrie mentioned, it's impossible for one person to manage more than 7-10 people, so there have to be at least some lead roles + managers (producers). Even for 15 people you'll have to have at least one or two managerial positions. I, myself, am a programmer, so this is a bottom-up perspective :)

Edited by pcmaster

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

we have: producer, project manager, art director, and business guy. in the way of non-management duties that actually produce code or content, the project manager and art director seem to double as writers.

its a volunteer team. no pay, no cash up front, success only.

 

If it's a volunteer team then all bets are off. Usually you're lucky if people will give up their time for free so if you end up overstaffed in certain areas, you're in luck. What are they going to do, turn down an extra artist just because they don't have enough coders? You take whoever you can get, if they're competent and you have room for them.

 

In a commercial team it would be strange to have both a project manager and a producer - a producer is a project manager in every game studio I've worked in, that's their exact role - but they presumably have 2 people with similar skills and perhaps one is operating at a higher level than the other. e.g. The project manager is deciding overall direction, scope, and feature set, and the producer is performing all scheduling, bug tracking, etc.

 

Not sure why they have a business guy considering they don't have a business. Sounds like the idea guy, just wearing a suit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For most games I would think there needs to be more artists than programers

 

Yes. Depending on the tile, i'd put the ratio at something like 5:1 or 10:1 artists per programmer. Of course that depends greatly on how much the artists and programmers must roll-their-own from scratch.  


Not sure why they have a business guy considering they don't have a business. Sounds like the idea guy, just wearing a suit.

 

the managers, the writer, and i think the business guy too, are all "designers". nobody else has that in their job description.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've worked on games that run the gambit from nearly even 1:1 programmer/artist, games that are heavily skewed about 5:1 artists to programmers, and games that are heavily skewed about 5:1 programmers to artists.  It all depends on the needs of the game.

 

Generally there are more sub-disciplines in the art department, each needed at different times.  Concept artists, character artists, environment artists, UI artists, modeling and rigging specialties, character animators, generalist animators, etc. Programmers are generally more versatile, but still sub-disciplines of client and server programmers, engine programmers, gameplay programmers, tools programmers, etc.

 

Then don't forget about leads and management.  Good leaders enable their teams to be incredibly productive. They'll figure out the right things in the right order to get best value quickly, and at the same time they'll buffer the ever-shifting requirements and requests so the individual developers can do what they need.  They'll talk to each discipline to see what the issues are and work with each other to smooth the rough spots; better tools for an artist here, different art bones there, enabling people to do great things.

 

The people listed above as "writer" and "sound guy" are important, too.  Usually one "sound guy" who is skilled at composition, foley, and effects, can support around 20-50 main developers depending on what they're building. Otherwise you may need multiple people, maybe a short-term composer, maybe another who works with voices if you've got that, another working on environment sounds, another making sure all the button clicks and UI sounds, your explosions sound sound effects, and all the rest make your game sound compelling.

 

Usually there is a constant battle (in a good way) between producers who have schedules and budgets, designers who have amazing ideas and concepts, and developers who have to implement those ideas. 

 

Then there is QA, often the unsung heroes, who bump into every wall, run every animation on every costume, and struggle to find repro steps to bugs like the server crashing every Thursday around 10:30 AM, which happens to be the first time a player completes a game immediately after the weekly logs were rotated. 

 

It takes all the disciplines. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

10 artists, 3 managers, 2 coders, 1 writer, 1 sound guy,   or

 
That's a bit art-heavy tbh.
A 'working team' unit would likely be something along these lines:
 
1 Producer / Project Manager
1 Coordinator / Assistant Producer / Assistant Project Manager
1 Art Director (at this scale, most likely produces work)
4-5 Artists (spread across disciplines such as 2D, 2D animation, 3D, 3D animation, UI, and any overlap being key/desirable)
2-3 Programmers (3 if the platform requires it, or if the game is relies on a server infrastructure (read: multiplayer))
1 Writer (wouldn't personally have the writer onboard)
1 Sound 'guy' (assuming he does the integration as well)
 
Missing:
1-2 Game/Level designer(s)
1 UX Designer (Assuming the UI artist is just an artist, though would favor a multi-talented designer, or would consider assigning some of the wireframing work to the game designer if able)
1 PR/Marketing/Bizdev guy (could also take care of community management for a game while the team is building up).
 
One of these would likely double up as a CEO, which would add some business/legal duties which could require an extra pair of hands (most likely the PR/Marketing guy while the team is just getting started, and later, a dedicated person)
 
That's my 14-18 ideal team. Of course, my REAL ideal team is 4-5 people at most...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

GameDev.net is your game development community. Create an account for your GameDev Portfolio and participate in the largest developer community in the games industry.

Sign me up!