The Sims 3

What does a Sims 3 Producer do?

What does a Sims 3 Producer do and a Development Director? SimGuruGraham gives an answer.

Yesterday I found this interesting video on Penny-Arcade, explaining what in general a producer does in the game-industry: http://www.penny-arc…o-be-a-producer

However there were a few things that I wondered about, it mentions producers being less emotionally attached to the game but more to the game development process itself. But from what we have seen on twitter, the gurus are beyond emotionally attached to the games. So like I always do, I just asked @simgurugraham how it works with them and he replied with an essay-long tweet (who needs 140 char limits.)

Very interesting to read, I recommend that you read it:


.@swwSims Thanks, I meant to watch this awhile ago and completely forgot :)

It’s accurate in many ways, but I do disagree with a few points. One thing they nailed is that production is different at every studio… I’ve heard this especially in relation to EA, where we’re less schedule focused and more closely tied to the design side.

He said producers would balk at the idea of not being emotionally invested in the product, and he was right ;) I’m absolutely emotionally invested; I care a *great* deal about the quality of games we put out. I think the point he was trying to make was right, it was just worded poorly… you can still be emotionally attached while recognizing the need to make the right decisions to keep a project on budget and within scope.

He talks a lot about production being a connection between other disciplines, and being the person that enables other developers to have the right info to do their jobs efficiently, and that’s totally correct.

The other aspect that’s just as important to me though is being an advocate for our consumer, and making sure that the game we release as a whole is held to a certain quality standard, in addition to being on time and on budget. That might very well mean cutting a feature we all really love because we know we can’t deliver it in the way that we should.

Those decisions have to be carefully made to do what’s best for the project as a whole, and not from the perspective of features you’re emotionally attached to, and that’s the point I’d distinguish. Overall though I absolutely love being a producer. It’s challenging work, it’s constantly engaging, and it allows me to be involved in all sorts of different aspects of development rather than one specialized niche.

The point about not just loving games, but loving game development really struck home as well. I’m fascinated by the industry and the overall process; I can’t get enough of it. One thing that’s really striking to me though, is that five years ago before I’d worked professionally in the industry, I had zero concept of what a producer actually does in game development. None. And this coming from someone who had made it a goal in the previous 15 years to learn and read and work in this industry one day. It really is one of the least understood roles of development amongst the general public.

RT @swwSims @SimGuruGraham Does this describe your job well? I cant imagine the gurus not being emotionally involved with the game!

A while ago I read a breaking into the industry article by lead development director Berjes Enriquez (@simgurubatman).

So now I wonder myself, what is the difference between producer and developer?


.@swwSims So, @SimGuruBatman is what we call a Development Director. Amusingly enough, a lot of what he does are the types of things Producers do at other studios.

DDs on our team have a heavy focus on scheduling and making sure that we have the man hours available to match the work that we’re trying to do. If you ask him, perhaps he can go into more detail. When producers get involved with the schedule, it’s more about looking at the time we have available, and making decisions about what we should do with that time to make the best game possible. In the end, producers and development directors are both part of the dev team 🙂

RT @swwSims @SimGuruGraham what makes the producer job different than developer? I believe@SimGuruBatman does development?

That sounds like a Development Directer is like the overal manager and Producers more like project managers, apparantly this was a wrong conclusion:


.@swwSims Actually, DDs mostly oversee individual disciplines. Perhaps a better way to think of it is that Development Directors here manage people and their schedules, and Producers manage features and their schedules. Whereas a DD has a group of people who all work in the same area that they oversee, a producer works with every discipline on the team because we make sure each feature is shippable, and each feature is contributed to by a wide variety of people across multiple disciplines.

RT @swwSims @SimGuruGraham translated to non-game companies, sounds like @SimGuruBatman is more the overal manager and producers are project-managers?

If you have any questions about how they make The Sims 3 I suggest you ask @SimGuruGraham on twitter, he is amazing at answering questions.