The video gaming industry has gained prominence over the years, even more so after the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic. With people looking for new ways to stay engaged and entertained during the pandemic, the online gaming trends have only accelerated.
From artificial intelligence (AI) to virtual reality (VR), cloud gaming, and online casino game services, these technological breakthroughs are also influencing the future of video games. Therefore, it has resulted in a demand for a highly-skilled workforce.
Notably, video game development is growing increasingly complex and competitive. Therefore, to scale up the game production process, the gaming producers (referred to as project managers) should invest in a resource management solution. The advanced capabilities of the tool can help in managing resources effectively and fast-tracking the development cycle.
This article elucidates the importance of resource management in the gaming industry and how using the right tools and strategies can complement its success.
But first, let’s talk about different essential gaming disciplines and roles;
1. Necessary resources in the gaming industry
Game development is a sequential process, and to complete a gaming project successfully, requires a highly competent team of niche-skilled resources. They can be from any technical domain with specialized expertise such as programmers, developers, testers, etc., or from a creative field such as animation artists, SFX artists, etc.
The Game Producer is responsible for ascertaining that the right resources are working on the right development tasks and leveraging their expertise to maximum potential. The first type of resource is the art & animation artists who are highly skilled in 3D graphics and can integrate texturing into gaming systems. Similarly, the designers (gameplay designer, UX/UI designer, etc.) employ their creative skills to bring users into an alternate reality.
Other resources include programmers who develop codebases for video games. Their codes are tested by QA lead Analysts and QA Testers who are responsible for finding bugs or glitches in the game. Then some audio engineers also work on the game’s unique sound effects.
Given the vivid roles and technological advancements involved, it is necessary to use resource management solutions to maintain and utilize a diversified resource pool, implement cross-training, etc. It also guarantees quality game delivery and keeps the resource talent progressing.
Now, let’s look into some benefits of using a resource management solution.
2. Importance of resource management in the gaming industry
Without the right tool and strategies, planning, scheduling, and managing resources to deliver the game on time and within budget can be challenging. Therefore, below are some of the advantages of adopting resource management solutions:
1. Facilitate estimation & requisition of all gaming resources
In the planning stage, project managers or gaming producers estimate the total number of resources required during the game development cycle. He then initiates the requisition process. Accordingly, the resource manager will analyze the project demand and identify resources whose skill set aligns with the project requirement.
Depending on the project’s scope, both human and non-human resources may be required. For human resources, it is necessary to identify the skills and availability. For a non-human resource such as assets, tools, etc., determining the specifications before assigning it to a task is essential.
2. Ensure capacity planning in the pre-production stage
The primary aim of managers in the pre-production stage is to ensure they have all the resources required to fulfill the project demand. For that, they can evaluate the demand and check the capacity of the existing resource pool. Then, in case of any shortfall or excess, managers can proactively implement resourcing treatments to bridge the capacity vs. demand gap.
For example, excess resources can be mitigated by bringing forward projects, adjusting timelines, training or selling excess capacity, etc. Conversely, when there is a shortage of resources, it can be eliminated by hiring a permanent or contingent gaming workforce depending on the project timeline, etc. Therefore, forecasting and gauging the gap proactively removes the risk of last-minute hiring and helps optimize the workforce for all gaming pipeline projects.
3. Allocate & schedule competent resources to the right tasks
To ensure productivity, it is vital to allocate the right resource to the right job. For instance, if a less experienced game developer is assigned to fulfill a skill-intensive task, such as developing codes for any technical functionality of an action-adventure game, it can affect their performance. On the other hand, if you keep assigning BAU or admin work to highly skilled game developers, they might lose interest and feel their potential is not being leveraged optimally.
To combat this, using a resource management tool is ideal. It will help ensure competent resource allocation by using appropriate filters that select the resources based on qualification, skills, experience, cost, and availability.
4. Maximize productive utilization of gaming resources
For timely project delivery, it is essential to track each resource’s performance diligently. This will help to check if the resources are over/underutilized. For example, if a critical niche resource spends more time on admin work, then he can be mobilized to critical work.
With resource management solutions, managers can view real-time utilization heatmap and forecast vs. actual reports and get visibility about the utilization of resources. These data-driven insights help in implementing remedial measures. Thus, it facilitates managers to improve productivity and optimize the resource health index.
5. Helps manage game assets effectively
The crucial and fundamental components of game development are UI and UX assets. It includes game and pixel characters, game symbols, explosion packs, virtual currency, and other items that add to the aesthetic look. Since manual asset management is tedious and can be chaotic, especially when multiple teams require the same assets.
The resource management tool, with its multi-dimensional visibility, will help you make a single schedule for all assets without double booking. In addition, it helps to regulate assets, saving time for many developers.
6. Provides real-time reports to ensure successful game delivery
Project managers can get forecast vs. actual reports for multiple metrics using the tool and take necessary steps to eliminate the roadblocks well in advance. The early warning system also helps gaming producers check quality metrics and make informed decisions.
For instance, if the costs of a gaming project exceed the budgeted amount, then managers can take corrective action before the project’s progress is hampered. Thus, the insights from real-time reports help managers to monitor task progress, team performance, and projects’ health index seamlessly.
Resources being the most expensive investment for the gaming business, it is essential to utilize them effectively. The above-mentioned best practices paired with the right resource management solution will help you optimize production methods and utilize the workforce productively. It also aims to improve operational efficiency to deliver immersive experiences for the end-users.