The Making of LifeSpark – Lead Producer Collin Helstien

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Lead Producer on LifeSpark Arena – Collin Helstien

The making of LifeSpark is meant to highlight the team working hard to make this game every day, and get to know about their back story, development practices, interests, and hobbies.

Hey Collin! So, for everyone at home, what do you do for LifeSpark Arena?

Well my name is Collin Helstien, I am the Production Lead here at LifeSpark. My day to day tasks include setting up and maintaining cross-department functionality. This means making sure that the needs of the team are being met, and making sure that week to week, we are on par with our project goals and milestones.

You have worked on more traditional business teams before, correct? Can you talk a little about those?

Yes, so I’m working on a couple applications that are much more traditional (the teams) and I like the fact that I can balance those two lifestyles because, for example, my class schedule means I can be going from a micro economics class to an animation one, and it’s a really nice balance because it makes me into a very cross-functional game developer.

What is your favorite part of video game development culture, versus development on more tradition products?

Specifically I find that the most engaging element for me as a producer, and why I chose to be a producer, is the team building element. Going from this raw, conceptual idea that didn’t really exist and then iterating on that, ideating on that until it becomes something that you never really imagined is kind of like raising a child as a family, and over time it ends up becoming this thing.

Sometimes you are really proud and other times you feel like you can’t believe it turned out this way. At the end of the day it’s something that you built together and that you helped grow. It’s something that you walk away with and you are overcome with the fact that you were part of this process. I would say that growing that idea from start to finish has got to be one of the most mind boggling experiences from anything I have ever done. That’s the reason I love working as a producer.

How do you feel about working with a video game team itself, and the people in it?

The team itself, engineering, art, they are like two different ballparks, they speak completely different languages entirely. Getting them to work together itself is a really fun challenge that I actually got to tackle early on as a producer for LifeSpark. It’s something I am very happy that I get to do day to day as well.

In dealing with all of this, what is something you have taken from working on LifeSpark? Something that has enhanced your abilities as a producer or as a game developer in general.

Well LifeSpark Arena specifically allows us the opportunity to work with an internationally massive team and it teaches me a lot about staying on task and managing my own expectations. In doing that you really learn people, and you learn what exactly you can rely on in order to not undershoot your goals. You realize as you get more experience that one of the most important tools you could ever have is being able to gauge specific expectations.

That may not sound like a glamorous answer. Yes, I’ve gotten more familiar with development tools, yes I’ve learned about building a MOBA, but specifically what I’ve gained is the ability to look at a handful of people and really be able to narrow down who I can count on, and for what, and that really helps find a balance in a team early on and helps me really know what everyone can do.

Thanks Collin, great talking to you! 

There will be team updates coming every week, with interviews from team members coming up as well. Stay tuned to our Facebook page and Twitter handle to follow LifeSpark Arena and not miss any of the content.

– Dominic