From the soapbox #4

For quite some time now, we’ve been talking about gameplay, features, art, and all the other fun things that you guys will see when you get and play the game.


But what about the people behind the scenes? How does game development works, and how do we succeed to coordinate the efforts on two continents, to produce this amazing sequel of The Guild 3? Our answer: a combination of technical and mathematical work, design and pure artistic creativity, with a little dose of marketing, all pooled together. By now, you surely know that we’ve done some interviews with the people behind the scenes here, at GolemLabs, and that we’re releasing a “making-of” documentary. But our egos aren’t stoked enough yet. So let’s get into more details on all our development process ;-).


As you know, the game originated in Vienna, established by the THQ Nordic team. Afterwards, they got in touch with the guys at GolemLabs to start pre-production, which is a general game design, art design, and production design of the project based on a broad outline that they had already. From this outline, we then formed a group of three designers to hash out the various questions to answer: how the game would be played, how it would look, how it would generally feel, etc.


The difficult part at this stage was to properly plan every single detail – which is impossible to do-, and then try to stick with this design as much as possible throughout all the following development. Which is not impossible to do, but very hard nonetheless. Sometimes, an idea we thought would be fun during pre-production turns out to be less fun when we tried it out in reality, with this particular engine or gameplay, or else. However, new ideas sometimes came along based on our development and testing experience. We then needed to go back to the design board, evaluate the costs in time and in money, because we needed to know if it would come into conflict with any other feature of the game. (And by the way, all of this has to consider the fact that when the game is designed, it’s planned for computers that don’t exist yet, so the engineers have to go at it blindly, until the final specs are known and we can test if everything we want to do fits inside the specs of the target box. Something that sometimes backfires big time 🙂 …)


From all this pre-production, we then got to start full production with a team of more or less a dozen developers, half artists and half programmers here at GolemLabs. The people at THQ Nordic also assigned a team to manage the project, to keep us on schedule, to finance and to make people talk about the game. Throughout this long process, we always needed to stay connected multiple times a week through Skype conference calls and several emails a day on what was happening and what needed to happen next. We then had to update each other and keep in close contact every day, at every hour possible in the world. Not an easy task… But we manage as best as we can.


Not unlike cinema, making video games now has become a large business with its soaring costs, its own stars, and its complex mix of technical and artistic considerations. The video game industry has been in full expansion for quite some time now and it’s still soaring! You just have to look at the participation rate and the attendees numbers at all the gaming conventions; it’s exploding! And that’s why we will continue (until the very last line of code) to put all our efforts in the development of The Guild 3!