Game Development Reference
How Large Are Tools Teams?
At Game Developers Conference 2005, 16 professional game developers were sur-
veyed on the ratio between the number of tool programmers and game program-
mers in their company. The results from the survey are listed in Table 1.2.
Table 1.2 Ratio of Tool Programmers to Game Programmers
* Six developers did not know the ratio used in their company or did not wish to discuss it.
The results indicate that currently only a third of the programmers in most game
development studios are involved with the production of tools.
This ratio has fairly little to do with the actual performance of the above teams,
though, as different ratios work for different companies. When it comes down to
it, if the company has put out great games, they must be doing something right! It
is interesting to see how much variation there is between companies regarding the
structure of their tools programming department.
This chapter covered defining what a tool and toolset is, and how the gaming
industry views tools development. There is currently a lot of variation in how tools
teams are structured in the industry, and it is unlikely that this will ever become
consistent and uniform. Different structures and techniques work differently for
various companies, and they will continue to use whatever approach works for them.
However, we can believe that studios will need to standardize how tools are
designed and developed in order to adapt for the next generation games driven by
a multitude of content.
No single technology or programming language is better than another, as each has
a shining role to play in different problem domains. However, it is our firm belief
that the .NET platform is best suited for tools development, and migrating to man-
aged code will bring a number of benefits to a development studio and its projects.