Content out of the wazoo
Content management tools and techniques have existed in game design studios for decades. Since the introduction of personal computers, people have been creating, modifying, deleting, and filing digital media on floppy drives, disk drive, tape drives, and CDs. Heck, I still have all my 5 floppies for the games I wrote for the Commodore 64.
This article will outline a framework for evaluating a Digital Asset Management (DAM) system and look at the process involved in reusing, repurposing and hopefully turning digital asset into a digital product.
In today’s game, it’s not unusual to have hundreds of assets that make up the game — from wire meshes models, textures, storyboards, rough sketches, design documents, MO-CAP (Motion Capture) clips to various formats of the character. This raises the challenge of classifying and indexing material to allow individuals to search for and find digital content.
For many working in the media industry, the terms “media asset management” or “content management” are familiar. However, these terms are often used loosely to refer to various systems ranging from a view pieces of paper tacked to a wall, to analog media content stored in tape vault, to a system consisting of complex programs and tools that manage huge archives of digital material in an online environment.
For our purpose, I will refer to “digital product management ” as the web-based process of digitizing, cataloguing, tracking and managing digital media assets for reuse and repurpose from a single source.
There be dragons
Figure 1. The hero Blackwood and the Wizard
We had a great artist that was freelancing for us and working offsite most of the time. Being a creative guy, he would work all sorts of crazy hours, which made it hard for us to have regular creative meetings. So he would send us his designs, it’d review them and make suggestions like “make the beast look meaner” or “can the fog in the forest be less dense?” and so on and so forth. He’d go back, redesign them and come up with four or five versions with different levels of fog densities.
Pretty soon, our assets were multiplying like Captain Kirk’s Tribbles. — We had the rendered versions, the BMP version and GIF versions for the website promo etc.