118 Things to Know About Running a Game Development Company 9 #83 If you're developing a new toolset, it may not be best to make the tools sequentially. Try building a prototype, which requires taking a first pass at most of those tools and will help you figure out how much time and money it will take to build those tools. #84 Eat your vegetables before dessert. Pre-production can make or break a development. Plan it out, make benchmarks, devise visual tools to track progress, give everything a contingency plan. #85 When pacing the milestones, put the hardest work up front. The back end is always difficult, so do what you can to make it easier. #86 Ask for a seasoned external producer, even if it means sharing him or her with another project. As one developer put it: "If the person you're negotiating with doesn't respect that desire, you're talking to the wrong publisher." #87 Prototypes beat 100-page design documents any day; it's hard to predict fun on paper. #88 Keep the timeline visual, with graphs. Video game developers hate to read and hate to read repetitive documents. Speak their language; make it visual. #89 Pre-production should articulate all of the assets and have contingency plans. If you've designed for 60 widgets, but it's taken you nine months to build 7 widgets, the pre-production plan should dictate that the widget count is cut or widget production is outsourced. #90 Keep an eye on other games coming out, and delegate this responsibility to your team. Don't get caught where your game is redundant. #91 Always make your technology modular and scalable. #92 Consider having an in-house sound studio when you can afford it. #93 Put in a high fringe benefit amount.