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Project Update 3 - Management

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Estimate Work

Like my other RTS project that is fully on hold at the moment, I finally made a full roadmap of my new project. The current scope of the roadmap is up until prototype. I started to slack a bit (since I'm building this at home and not full-time), I noticed I wasn't as productive again as when I've planned projects in the past. Playing games with friends or whatever you do to kill time, is fine as long as you are sticking with your schedule. I finally laid out my schedule as a cost and hour estimate. If you don't plan, your project is probably already failing because every day you are winging it. Amateur mistake. Know your numbers. Also, estimate more task hours than you think just to be safe. Finishing early is better than falling behind. Right now I'm at about 350 hours of work to get my prototype done.

Team Management

I started working on game ideas when I was 16 (15 years ago). When you meet people online (modders, other interested young people), everyone has their own idea of the game you are collaborating on. What happens wrong with this is you empower everyone to feel like they are a creative director. Not everyone should comment on other peoples art (especially if they are programmers). Let the art people do it. Let the design people design. Concept people concept. You end up with a team forum of postings that are too indecisive or not fitting to their personal vision. This guy likes that, this guy doesn't like that. Everyone chimes in on all aspects of the game and it does. not. work. Also, not how a game company works for the same reason.

With my current project, I actually pay artists. I had brought on a few people that liked my initial game idea into an online forum. People that might contribute more than just some 3D art. Today those few people are gone. I'm not 100% sure why, but I feel it comes down to being more attached to the project, than just enjoying doing 3D art. Because when you are brought onto a team in such a manner, you have been promoted from 3D artist to creative director. My other external artists however are still around, and happy to be doing what they want to do 2D/3D art. Completely different dynamic. It also shortens the amount of things I have to type and hours wasted in managing the team. I just receive work via email, suggest changes, email back. It isn't a whole discussion on what we are looking at, how it could be better. If someone thinks the gun design has a piece on it that looks too big.....this leads to a lot of my time being wasted writing on forums. If you want to update people on project status, do so 1 on 1.

Anyway, here's a few of the new art assets.



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"Not everyone should comment on other peoples art (especially if they are programmers)"

Funny thing is I was just about the say I really like the robots, then realized I'm not a great artist.  I hear where you're coming from.  Just for clarification, when you say that not everyone should comment on other peoples art, do you mean not everyone should say if they like or dislike the art? or not everyone should offer advice on improvements to the art?  Big difference in my opinion.  As consumers we all have equal merit in where we spend out buck, but not all of us, myself included, have the artistic touch to offer guidance on artistic direction.

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Note that publicly commenting on a final product, versus commenting on hundreds of concepts, or iterations to some gameplay feature, is much different.  Judging art is fine, however if I posted the 10 references images to get to these final pieces and 90/100 people liked a different concept.... who cares. The point is you can't please every person on your indie or mod team in every opinion they have. So don't ask everyone their opinion on everything. Either keep people segregated completely, or to a smaller subsection of skillsets.

The point is about managing a team. First, loss in time. This blog took me maybe 30 mins to complete. If I have an online team where I have an open forum communication, that means multiple people posting stuff that you have to read ad reply to.... could be 5-10 hours a week just typing stuff. Secondly, if 5 people like 2D character concept A and 5 people like concept B because you allowed an open vote, then 5 people on the team "lost" in a sense. They are losing their creative input because again, you have 10 people that you basically gave creative control by allowing an open discussion on literally every aspect of your project. And when you give that much freedom to believe they hold weight on every single decision of the game, they take things personal and could lead to them leaving. If you just have an artist you give concepts to and he completes them, he will be happy 100% of the time. He has personal connection with his work, not his own vision of a product.

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