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Why Game Developers should never write Game Code...

2015 talk

Respawn Gathering of Game Developers, Cologne

…but Tool and Engine Code instead.

When you are developing software for clients you have a choice: Either you understand the requirements in detail and code the software yourself or you provide tools for the clients to enable them to develop the software on their own (which is called Domain-Specific Modelling in some software development domains).

In Game Development, where the “clients” are game designers, producers and product managers, both approaches work: Coding without building specific tools works often better than in other software development domains, because game developers are usually very accustomed with the domain – gaming – themselves. On the other hand, game designers often have a tech background and are thus very open to using a variety of tools. So when a new project starts and a toolset is not already in place, building new tools might seem inefficient compared to just coding down the game, doesn’t it?

In this talk, I will make a case for building tools as often as possible – because they are an important, often underestimated, factor for efficient development, communication and knowledge transfer in larger teams. I will draw on my own experiences from game development and software development in other industries.

Respawn 2015