We interviewed our Game Production Programmer, Alex, to give you an inside look at what it takes to create a Nancy Drew adventure game.
HI: What do you do as Game Production Programmer?
Alex: “Responsibilities include implementation of game logic, game play and puzzle scripting/programming; sound and video file conversion; asset integration; add/test in-game sequences; find/research bugs and enter into bug tracking system; additional testing tasks; managing game builds; research and schedule maintenance as well as other duties as assigned.
So, the quick answer could be “a little bit of everything.” Essentially everything flows through a pipeline before it gets to me. Art develops all the pretty pictures and we process and integrate that into the build. Design and Script write out all of the logic, and we in Production implement it. Ideally, as we build the environments, we would catch all of these localized problems, thereby minimizing the bugs.
On top of that, we also mine our sound library for all of the sound effects in the game, build puzzles, and run test passes on the game towards the end of the development cycle.”
HI: What sort of projects are you currently working on?
Alex: “Currently I am implementing logic for a large environment for the next game. It’s a rather complicated location, as Nancy will be spending quite a bit of time in there, so it will probably take me several days to get everything in. I spent most of last week working on puzzles and finishing up one of the smaller conversations.”
HI: What happens to your work once you are finished?
Alex: “Once I finish a project, I inform Testing and they go to work hammering at it from every conceivable direction.
Any problems Testing finds get sent back to me in the form of bug reports. I fix them, send it back to Testing, and we repeat this process until Testing can’t come up with any problems. At which point, the game is finished, we send off the build to get disseminated to the public.”
HI: What is fun about this work?
Alex: “The most fun part of work is definitely building puzzles. Navigation, game logic, even conversations, are pretty much done the same every time, but each puzzle is often a unique challenge. Building a puzzle is kind of like a puzzle unto itself; there are all of these separate pieces and they have to be put together to form a larger system. There is rarely only one way to go about it, and it’s fun building puzzles that push you, force you to think of things in different ways to accomplish tasks in the most efficient methods possible.”
Thanks Alex for taking the time to share with us!