As a part of our Into Games Career Fair happening 29th July, we're conducting Twitter Q&As with team members from the studios who are taking part at the event and last Thursday we had the amazing opportunity to interview Steven Golding, a producer at Avalanche Studios Group.
In this interview, Steven discusses his experience getting into the games industry, some of his best practices when it comes to being a producer in games and how to keep your stress levels down during production.
What games inspired you to get into the games industry?
All the old Bioware RPGs (Dragon Age, Jade Empire, KOTOR, Mass Effect) really loved them when I was younger! The Final Fantasy's, 10 specifically was my favorite and loads of others! GTA, Half Life 2 and any of the mods that came from it!
Which game was your favourite to QA?
RESOGUN was my favorite to QA, I enjoyed playing it until i finished on it. I even got the platinum on it when it released at launch! It was an awesome game and still is, really loving Returnal at the moment from Housemarque too!
How does it feel being a producer for a large part of a game’s life cycle from late prototype to master?
It has it's ups and down and on the whole its great. Seeing a thing you've been working on go from a grey box, unpolished prototype to a full fleshed out game with working systems is awesome.
Although i'm not directly involved with the creation of assets/code, there's a great pride that comes from helping to plan something and then seeing it come to fruition months later. Knowing that you've helped in the process for that and, hopefully, made the lives of the dev team easier to reach the best possible quality is great.
What skills do you use on a day-to-day basis, and did you learn any of these skills from your peers? (from @itsbrismi)
Soft Skills are the main things I use on a day to day basis, having emotional intelligence and the understanding to know when people are not acting themselves and how properly to talk to them is important. Ultimately having a happy team will lead to making good games. Organization and spreadsheets are also super useful and day to day, i would recommend learning how to use excel or google sheets! I remember being in college, learning excel and thinking "When will i EVER need this?". The answer is: All Day, Every day. I learn from my peers every day i'm working, there's always something to learn from people, if the way they're doing things is better then i'll adopt it, if they do something cool and interesting i'll ask them about it and try to understand why it works!
Do you have any advice for coping with the stress and pressure that comes with being a producer?
Don't be afraid to make mistakes and ask for help, if you're feeling a bit overwhelmed then it's completed fine to lean on your colleagues to help you out as you know they would do the same for you if the situation was reversed.
For me personally, it helps to have a list of what I need to do and keep that as up to date as possible, each morning I will try to write down what I need to do for the day and give it a priority order. That allows me to focus on the important things thing and if other stuff slips, which it will, at least it was a lower priority thing which didn't demand my immediate attention.
Finding good ways to switch off once work is over, it's very easy to want to logon for a few hours in the night to get a few bits done, especially now we're all working from home and the workstation is right next to us.
I like to run/exercise as it helps me de-stress, but finding other hobbies/things you enjoy outside of work helps you switch off easier, even just socializing with friends is a good way to switch off and not think about work.
What impacts the pandemic have on video games producers. For example, I watched Mythic Quest Pandemic Episode and they were on Zoom well their own version. Will you be the person who arranges technology to be delivered if they don't have any? (From @DanTheManNW)
I've not seen mythic quest, but I've been meaning to watch it! The pandemic has had a massive impact on how we work as producers, specifically because you can't talk to people face to face. So it's harder to properly gauge how people are feeling and it's easier for us to miss things which is not what we want to do. We want to make sure every is happy and comfortable and having a screen between you and the other person makes it harder to build that relationship.
In terms of technology to be delivered, it's a job between IT and Producers. As a producer i generally try to understand what is required and then i communicate with IT to get it delivered/built and also make sure it comes from the correct budget.
Who in the industry do you look to for inspiration?
This may be a bit of a mushy answer, but everyone in the industry inspires me to be better at my job and makes me want to make games. Specifically the people I work with everyday; seeing the work that they produce every week and every day gets me excited about working with and seeing what’s next. Making me want to make sure they're as happy as possible so they can continue to do the work they love and produce more awesome stuff. Further from this, anyone who takes the time out of their own personal life to create a project is a massive inspiration, having the drive to create something in your own time, no matter how small it is, is inspiring!
Nareice is a perfect example of this, she works her butt off in the day but then takes time in the nights to work on her own amazing projects - I think the dedication to be able to do that is really inspiring.
Thank you so much again to Steven Golding for spending time with us! If you want to learn more about Steven's role and Avalanche Studios, then make sure you sign up to our Into Games Career Fair on 29th July 2021! Also keep a look out on our Twitter for our next Twitter Q&A.