Here are a few things that I lay awake thinking about last night, and in the hope that I may get a good night’s sleep tonight, unbothered by such thoughts, I wrote them down.
In no particular order…
1) PLAN TO MIX
Planning is good, it is healthy, it let’s other people on the team know what you are about to do AND it means you aren’t scrambling to get something unscheduled crammed into the dying light of a project. This is the most simple element, yet the easiest to forget and to get caught out by. Having some dedicated time built into the overall project schedule to sit down as close to the end of the project as possible, is the best chance you have of getting a final mix pass done on your game. Scheduling this time is simple, but requires some deft political manoeuvring, particularly if your team is not used to running things past a Beta date. Being open and up front with PM and Producer resources from as soon as you get involved on the project is the only way to get anything like this scheduled. If you are doing the mix out of house, or using contractors, this becomes more evident to the PM world, however, if you plan on doing it in-house, it can quickly become overlooked, so constant reminders to everyone on the team about the upcoming mix is usually required. We usually try to schedule a 3 week period after production Beta, called ‘Sound Beta’ in which we do nothing but a mix pass on the entire game. This isn’t plausible, or even necessary, for every game, but the amount of time you need is scalable, usually dependent on hours of game play, and complexity of game mechanics – even if you have a couple of days to set overall levels, this is more than you’d get through not planning.