Game Development Reference
used for any batch file processing tool needed in the future, drastically reducing
development and debugging time.
The time saved thanks to reusability can allow you to build more tools of decent
quality, or the time can be spent improving the user interface or accompanying
documentation so that the stakeholders have an easier time understanding and
using the tool.
Well written and fairly bug-free tools can make everyone's life easier on the devel-
opment team, whereas poorly documented or written tools can hamper develop-
ment or even jeopardize the success of the project.
Who Builds the Tools?
There are five main models a game development studio can be classified into in
regards to the creation and support of tools. Keep in mind that the models described
are generalizations, and some studios can use a hybrid of multiple models. The
different organizational models for tools development are shown in Table 1.1.
Table 1.1 Organizational Models of Tools Development
Dedicated Tools Team
This model is based around a team that takes a tool from
inception all the way to supporting it. This model works
extremely well, though it generally requires a liaison with both
technical and design skills to help facilitate effective
communication between the tools team and the target
audience when discussing features and workflow using the tool.
A strong example of a game development studio following
this model is BioWare Corp.
“You build it, you support it.”
This model is where the individual or team responsible for a
particular game system is in charge of creating and
supporting the tools that interact with it. This model works
reasonably well since the developers creating the tools are
the most knowledgeable about how the game system works.
There are some issues with this method; the team does not
generally put a lot of care into the accompanying tools, so
the usability, documentation, and user interface typically
suffer as a result. An example of a game development studio
that successfully uses this model is Raven Software.
Tools are sometimes developed by one individual or group, and
later end up being supported by another individual or group.