Anatomy of a game company

TelltaleGamesTelltaleGames Telltale Staff
You may look upon the company pages of this site and wonder "What part do these intrepid individuals play in the creation of the fantastic pieces of artistic achievement that they will one day bestow upon us? What organs and tendons cause our favorite company to run freely and remain unblighted by disease?"�

Indeed, you are a curious lot. So I will today peel back the skin, as it were, and show you what lies beneath the pasty exterior. These are the important positions that make up our company.

Lawyers -- If ever you decide -- perhaps in a fit of madness -- to start your own game company, the very first people you must bring on board are lawyers. Lawyers know all the right papers to sign and not sign, the right words to use in any given contract, and the favorite drinks of many big investors. They tell us what games we can and can't make, and when we get to announce things to the public. These people are the heart of any business. Getting anything done without them is pure folly. Getting things done with them is just time and money intensive.

People with Money -- The next thing you will need is people with money. In a perfect world, we would simply be able to make our games free of deadlines or restrictions. We would spend mornings sitting around drinking whipped soy mochas and discussing the state of gaming and what brilliant ideas we were going to undertake today. At lunch we would have a picnic out in the beautiful Marin County air and play board games for inspiration. Then, in the afternoon we would settle in to work, pausing now and again for a lively session of foosball. Alas, the world isn't so simple. Rent must be paid and people must have money with which to buy food and video games. This requires people who have money to invest in you, and it can often be quite the chore to convince them that this is something they really do want to do. People seem very protective of their money for some reason.

Chief (whatever) Officers -- Dan, Kevin and Troy all have distinct titles and specialized duties, but here's what's important: They're who to go to if you need to know what to do next, if something has "accidentally"� blown up, or if you need someone to restock the fridge with Dr. Pepper. They also spend a good deal of time convincing People With Money (see above) to share some of their wealth. This makes them indispensable.

Creative Director -- As the person in charge of making our games look lovely and picturesque, Graham A. spends most of his time doodling pretty pictures in blue pencil. Occasionally, he stretches his legs and tapes these pictures to the walls so everyone can admire them. And then he may request a meeting where everyone can stand and gaze at his handiwork and applaud his artistic vision. Before you quit school to become a creative director, I must warn you that he is also in charge of animation and keeping artists in line -- neither of which is an easy job.

Director of Production Technologies -- You may be curious what "Director of Production Technologies"� means. To be honest, I am not sure either. It seems to involve staring sullenly at your screen and tweaking character models (the characters that are going to appear on screen in the game) to beyond perfection, jumping up for spontaneous games of foosball or nerf basketball, and complaining about where everyone else wants to go for lunch. I think it also has something to do with programming tools that artists can use to make their lives easier, or at least lamenting that one is spending too much time tweaking character models to perfection and so cannot program tools. Hmm....I suppose I should ask Jon one of these days instead of just inventing notions of his job in my head.

Programmer -- Randy and Graham G. (also sometimes referred to as "McGraham"� or "MickeyG"�) have the most fascinating job. They sit in front of their monitors for hours on end, typing in arcane numbers and phrases that are incomprehensible to mere mortals such as you and I. Then they may say something like "look what I did!"� and things -- happen. It is much like sorcery, only sorcery that is contained by little electronic boxes.

Environment Modeler -- Kim is a magician of a different sort. She examines Graham A.'s blue doodles, and translates them into reality. Well, virtual reality. From a vast nothingness of empty black space, she sculpts the beautiful terrains and architecture of our games' worlds. Her creations have the effect of making one sigh and think to themselves "I need a vacation."�

Game Designer -- So many misguided youths think it would be "cool"� to become a game designer when they finally set out into the world. Little do they know what we designers must endure. Working late into the cold night, updating documents until our cuticles separate from our fingernails and blood clogs our keyboards. (I go through a lot of keyboards). Staring into the glow of the monitor until our eyes ache and our shoulders cramp, the utter concentration on some unsolved problem causing sweat to bead on our brows and our heads to pulse in pain....

[Editor's note: I had to trim a couple paragraphs here, because she went on this way for awhile more and we were running over our word limit. Suffice it to say that Heather is sometimes prone to melodrama. Also, please be assured that even though she does in fact update all of our documentation, these have been subjected to a strict screening process ever since the subliminal message incident. Thanks -- Dan

ps. I have never once seen Heather work late into the cold night. Ever.]

And there you have it, boys and girls, gamers all...these are the integral parts that make up a young and thriving game company. As I replace the skin and put down my scalpel, I am now willing to take questions.
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