Tech Ninja in Microsoft's ATG group - we make entertainment better! Also used to be at X-Ray Kid Studios (Tech Director/Biz Dev Mgr) Midway/Surreal (Principle Tech. Engr/Lead Gameplay Engr/ Lead Tools Engr) Sierra Online (Architect/Lead Engr) ... and was very active in the SAM Coupe scene, and yes, I used to write for Your Sinclair.
Posts by Simon Cooke
  1. It’s Not Rocket Surgery–Managing Teams Across Disciplines and Under Pressure ( Counting comments... )
  2. $10,000 Is The Magic Number ( Counting comments... )
Advocacy / Business / Production /

I recently had the pleasure of presenting a talk at GDC 2012 in the Producer Boot Camp tutorials track on how to be a producer in the games industry. Well, that and the kinds of issues you’ll see as teams grow and evolve over time.

I’ve got the slides up online now, so even though you can’t hear my dulcet tones, you should be able to imagine Morgan Freeman narrating for you as you read the accompanying speaker notes. Except this should be a weird English/American Morgan Freeman, who isn’t half as sexy.

So what’s in the deck?

Learn a variety of battle-hardened tricks and tactics for building teams, keeping them running smoothly, and how to handle your team's worst enemy: the panic of shipping a game.


  • How to keep your team together under crunch
  • How to help teams not hate the producer, especially if their last one suuuuuuucked
  • Avoid crunch entirely – and justify it with research
  • Stop large teams across large companies from grinding to a halt where all your games – no matter how geographically disparate your studios are – end up shipping in lockstep
  • Why you need meetings, scooters, or both
  • Panic leads to blame, blame leads to anger, anger leads to the dark side…
  • That our brains have really buggy code/design limitations
  • What Sierra’s Carrot is, who invented it, and how amazingly well it works to ship on time, every time. (Warning: singular of data = anecdote).

This slide deck (with, theoretically, audio!* and better jokes than the ones in the speaker notes that I can’t remember because my forebrain was wiped by the adrenaline) should be available in the GDC Vault soon.

The Files

Download a zip file containing the slide deck (in PowerPoint format). Download the free PowerPoint Viewer here.

Next year? I’m thinking of going for the GDC “EGOT”, and doing a talk on game design and how your brain works. Probably called “Sticks and stickiness – Primal Game Design”.

*Note: Audio may have been processed and filtered by GDC staff to not actually sound like an English Morgan Freeman at all. It’s a conspiracy, I tell ya.

And time for a small apology... I’ve been meaning to write an entire series of follow up posts to my previous one on #AltDevBlogADay ($10,000 is the Magic Number), but I’ve not had the time – yet. But I do intend to fix that, so stay tuned.