So, who are you and what do you do?
I’m Katharine, and I’m the Production Director at Netspeak.
What does a Production Director do?
As a producer, I make sure that everything runs smoothly. I make sure that all the development teams and disciplines, including art, design, tech, and QA, deliver what they need at the right time in the right order. Games are a really interesting business because they live at the intersection of being highly target-driven and commercial, but at the same time extremely emotionally-driven and creative. So as a producer, I need to help the teams marry the two. While we're creating really interesting, delightful content, we also need to ensure we're actually shipping worthwhile stuff to our players. Producers are the glue that holds it all together.
Can you tell us a bit about your day-to-day routine?
A normal day starts with a stand-up. I work with the design team a lot because the design team sits in the middle of everything. Then, I'll be checking in with my other producers, Sam and Blaire, and my manager Moran to discuss our plans. Most of my days have me talking with team leads, running retrospective sessions to learn from our mistakes, and making plans for the future. I'll also be updating JIRA tickets.
What do you do to keep the working environment positive and stress-free?
That's such a good question. One of the things we're really strong on at Netspeak is having fixed working hours. We don't work late, and we don't crunch. Working hours may vary for different people depending on their time zones and personal priorities, but we always aim to complete work within an eight-hour working day. That's a limit we constantly put on ourselves. We also ask people to estimate their work delivery times based on what they can realistically achieve. Deadlines and projections are always based on the time it will take to complete the task. We don't set arbitrary dates and then work backward from there. If we need to give people more time, we do that.
Another thing I do which matters a lot in a remote company is to develop good relationships with the team, actually getting to know them and asking questions about their lives. It’s important because that way, I can sense if something's off or if they're feeling stressed, and I can personally check in with them. I do that all the time.
Have you done anything recently that you’re particularly proud of?
We’ve recently started releasing houses for each of our NPCs. Players can build furniture for each NPC and help them furnish their home. Each house is totally unique and based on the NPC's personality and backstory, which means we have some really cool ones. For example, there's an Art Nouveau-style house for a transgender otter who lives in Flappyfin Waterway, which I think is excellent. But what I enjoy most about that feature is that it was a cross-disciplinary team effort involving tech, art, design, UI, and narrative to set it up. So I feel particularly proud of that one.
What do you like about working at Netspeak?
Honestly, it's the people. Working with the people at Netspeak is really enjoyable. Somehow, someone who hired us has done a really good job of hiring an interesting set of people. That, in turn, makes me feel better at my job, because I'm surrounded by people who I think are legends.
What’s your favorite thing about Sunshine Days?
I love the lumberyard. I think it's one of the best places in the game. The vibe and tone of it are great. I also really love the general tone of the game - it's so sweet and so funny, and there's a certain uniqueness to many of the little jokes and details in the game that really appeals to me.
And last but not least, what’s your friend code in Sunshine Days?
I live at 8769-9215-7556. Send me some gifts!