We’re about halfway through a very long day at the D.I.C.E. Summit 2010 today. Our own Richard Lemarchand kicked off the sessions for the day with his talk, “Uncharted 2 - How to Fly By the Seat of Your Pants Without Crapping Them.” His talk presented an overview of how Naughty Dog operates as a studio and an inside look at what our development process is like. I hope it was interesting to many of the developers and business folk in the audience, because I like to believe we have fairly unique and unorthodox development process, but one that at a glance may freak many people out (especially producers) used to more rigid development processes.
Richard can put it far better than I could ever put it, even though I’m seen him speak about our process a handful of times already. In a nutshell, he explained how we value a highly collaborative and iterative process that can seem to outsiders extremely chaotic and on the verge of falling apart. But that doesn’t happen—instead through incredibly passionate and talented people, who have an incredible amount of trust and mutual respect of their co-workers, work together to produce games with a high level of quality and technical innovation. Richard mentioned that when he was listening to Weta Digital co-founder Richard Taylor speak about how they were able to produce a their high level of quality and success from their employees—that Weta sought out individuals who presented the following four attributes, in order of importance: Passion, Enthusiasm, Tenacity and Talent. Having experienced how Naughty Dog operates for just over a year and a half now, I can tell that those same attributes are highly valued when it comes to prospective new hires.
There are a ton of interesting ways our studio thinks differently from some of the more traditional styles of game development that I believe contributes to our success in games, and I hope that Richard’s peek into that was insightful to many of our colleagues at the summit today.
So far, the rest of the day following Richard has had a lot of incredibly interesting talks and insights from speakers Jesse Schell discussing how Facebook surprised a lot of people and game design (even if it hasn’t been designed by a game designer) lives in a lot of things around us; Bobby Kotick discussing his personal background in games and personal history with Activision, including some lessons learned about how they do business and work with studios; and Brian Reynolds, Chief Game Designer at Zynga discussing social games, what they’ve learned about making them successful and how the genre differs from traditional game development.
There’s more sessions for the rest of the day, as you can see on the D.I.C.E. Summit schedule. Matias Myllyrinne talk on Remedy and the development of Alan Wake over six years and Jamin Brophy-Warren’s panel on diversity in games should be pretty interesting.
As you may have seen from Evan Well’s Twitter update earlier today, several of the Dogs are heading into Las Vegas today to attend the 13th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards. I noticed late last night that IFC.com will be streaming the awards ceremony LIVE, starting at 7:00 PM PST (what time is that in my city?). Head over to the site in a few hours to check it out.