Jump to content
  • Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  
mbosticky

Organising game design team

This topic is 4844 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

Hi everybody, Do you guys have any views/hints/tips about how to construct a game development team? I am a professional software engineer and I have decided to create a relatively simple 2D game. I have never done this before but I have worked in software development teams (not in game industry). I am mostly interested in how the team is best structured and organised. Which roles must be fulfilled? Here is a brief game type description: Linear story, 2D with 3D like graphics, 3 to 5 levels, character controlled by keyboard mostly. Can attack enemies with projectiles or hide. Movement left to right without any puzzles or obstacle course. Music and graphics will have to be decent and story line and character well designed. My past projects which were not in gaming industry have failed primarily because of luck of time and financial resources but not for luck of trying I assure you. It's just that I was doing them on my own and with a full time job and a wife. I underestimated the effort. So I am trying to break this trend by designing something that is simple. For that reason I am choosing Java as a development language. So far I came up with the following roles for my team: Story writer, Graphic Artist, Music Artist, 2 x Java Programmer, 1 dedicated Tester and incidental testers, Website designer(s). The team would be supported by well written specifications and design documents and effort plans in place. The weakness: members will do it for fun and share in the project. i.e. no cash unless it gets sold. Reading this, I get the feeling that I am under-estimating the effort again. Only this time I would collaborate with other people to make it happen. Can you make further recommendations? Do you think this is too complex for a beginner? What are your experiences with putting game design teams together? Is looking for team mates on www.gamedev.net a wise strategy or is there a better way? Do you think I should add a 'project manager' or 'director' or something like that to the team? I hope this makes sense and this is the right forum to post this question. Regards, Martin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
I highly recommend reading the article Working With Teams, by Steve Pavlina.

Try to make sure that you get people you can get along with, and be sure you check for previous experience and/or a good portfolio. Also prefer candidates who are excited about your idea over those who are not - a slightly less skilled team member who stays with the project to the end is better than a highly skilled member who leaves half way through.

Make sure that those you bring on board understand that there is very unlikely to be any payment from that start, you don't want an argument over it later. Try to keep your team motivated throughout the project by releasing the latest screenshots/music/other media, giving the team downloads of the latest playable version, etc.

By all means present a well structured plan and know what it is you want, but you'll still need to allow for at least some creative freedom within the guidelines you've set up, particularly for the non-programmers.

Making a Help Wanted post here can work out well if you structure your post properly (follow the template, and make sure you include all the information) and sell your idea well, in a professional manner, but it can also sometimes backfire, and it's worth also looking elsewhere.

Hope that helps somewhat, I'm sure some of the others will have more excellent advice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Kazgoroth
Also prefer candidates who are excited about your idea over those who are not - a slightly less skilled team member who stays with the project to the end is better than a highly skilled member who leaves half way through.

Try to keep your team motivated throughout the project by releasing the latest screenshots/music/other media, giving the team downloads of the latest playable version, etc.

By all means present a well structured plan and know what it is you want, but you'll still need to allow for at least some creative freedom within the guidelines you've set up, particularly for the non-programmers.


These are three extremely solid pieces of advice: heed them well.

Quote:
Original post by Kazgoroth
Making a Help Wanted post here can work out well if you structure your post properly (follow the template, and make sure you include all the information) and sell your idea well, in a professional manner...


I don't consider myself a professional PR manager, by any stretch of the imagination, but I can say that I've done quite well on the Help Wanted boards (I've recruited the majority of the volunteers for Sanctus Legacy Online from there), and I recently wrote a short article on some PR tips and tricks I like to adhere to when recruiting:

http://www.sanctuslegacy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=12039#12039

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by TheArtifex
I don't consider myself a professional PR manager, by any stretch of the imagination, but I can say that I've done quite well on the Help Wanted boards (I've recruited the majority of the volunteers for Sanctus Legacy Online from there), and I recently wrote a short article on some PR tips and tricks I like to adhere to when recruiting:

http://www.sanctuslegacy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=12039#12039


I just read over that, and I'd have to say it's excellent advice that I'd highly recommend taking on board when posting a Help Wanted notice, be it here or elsewhere.

Just because I feel they make excellent examples of making of post within the template guidelines that really stands out, I'll also link you to a recent HW thread by The Artifex as an example: Sanctus Legacy Online :: Audio Artists: music AND sound, please.

If you do decide to make a post in Help Wanted, following an example like that is an excellent way to be particularly productive, although you may still have difficulty at first before you have much content to show off.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Kazgoroth
I highly recommend reading the article Working With Teams, by Steve Pavlina.advice.


Excellent read. This makes me want to join a group with an experienced leader. Now do you happen to have an article/advice on determining which group to join? Or do you just join and see how things go, observe and bail if management is lacking? I looked through the articles section here and couldn't find an organising team / teamwork section.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Rasm
Excellent read. This makes me want to join a group with an experienced leader. Now do you happen to have an article/advice on determining which group to join? Or do you just join and see how things go, observe and bail if management is lacking? I looked through the articles section here and couldn't find an organising team / teamwork section.


I'm afraid I don't know of any articles on the topic.

As for advice, look for people who seem to have realistic goals, and who know what they're talking about. An experienced leader will generally be employing the methods described in that article and described by TheArtifex when they recruit, so look out for well presented Help Wanted notices that seem to be using similar techniques.

Oh, and if you enjoyed that article, there are additional ones here on various related topics, and the same author publishes free personal development articles here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Kazgoroth
I highly recommend reading the article Working With Teams, by Steve Pavlina.

This is an excellent article. I have to say that my approach was the 'common one' described where game is defined and team members are found second.
Quote:
By all means present a well structured plan and know what it is you want, but you'll still need to allow for at least some creative freedom within the guidelines you've set up, particularly for the non-programmers.

Yes. I see what you mean. In terms of planning, I was mostly thinking about time and resource estimations. i.e. making sure the game can be completed to a reasonable deadline. In was expecting to write the story and incorporate their ideas and amendments when it makes sense. With graphics, I was going to select an artist with a portfolio that would match my expectations. Similarly with music.

It all 'makes sence' to me but the article disputes this approach. What are your experiences?

However, it seems to me that creating a very small game is probably a good idea at first. A: to discover if i like doing it, B: to train my self, C: to meet and find people for more ambitious projects in the future

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by mbosticky
However, it seems to me that creating a very small game is probably a good idea at first. A: to discover if i like doing it, B: to train my self, C: to meet and find people for more ambitious projects in the future


Most definately, I'd highly recommend this approach. A smaller game will still have complications, but shouldn't have so many, and won't be as much of a time commitment, so it's a brilliant way to learn about what's involved, make some contacts, and as you mentioned, discover if you actually enjoy it. [wink] It'll also give you something to prove you can finish a project when you're hiring for something more ambitious.

Definately plan to make sure you can meet a deadline, and set milestones within the development process so that you can make sure you're on track throughout. Reaching or approaching milestones can also be a valuable motivational tool for a team. Make sure you leave some room in your plan for things to go wrong though - if nothing does, you can use the extra time for additional bug-testing/polishing, but if something does happen to go wrong, you won't have to rush too much to fix things and try to meet the deadline.

You don't need to completely form the team at the beginning. A lot of people have a lot of success with an approach of forming a core team at the start, and then adding additional people as required. Exactly what positions are in your core team is your decision, and will depend on your projects specifics, but a good core team may be:
- 1 Programmer, 2 for a larger project
- Additional programmers if specialists are required (e.g. a network programmer for an MMO)
- An artist (should preferably be capable of producing some concept art as well as in game content)
- Possibly an audio artist

You can then add to this core team at a later stage, using the people you already have as the directors of specific areas. You may be able to attract higher quality help once your project is off the ground than if you'd hired everyone from the beginning, although that doesn't so much apply to commercial teams where people are being payed and should be expected to be at a minimum standard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Kazgoroth
You can then add to this core team at a later stage, using the people you already have as the directors of specific areas. You may be able to attract higher quality help once your project is off the ground than if you'd hired everyone from the beginning, although that doesn't so much apply to commercial teams where people are being payed and should be expected to be at a minimum standard.


I agree. In fact from reading the articles you have mentioned to me before it seems that commercial and 'communal' projects probably require a completely different approach.

Last night i was inspired by the article How To Build a Game In A Week From Scratch With No Budget featured on this website. So i decided to create my own 'quick' game. I have written a plan which consists of about 50 lines. However it is still missing time scales and deadlines. Due to my tinkering in the past i was able to copy/paste some code and create a java applet with a background and an image that moves with the mouse in about 2 hours. Surprisingly long actually. I won't go into the details here. I think this will be good for me just to prove that I can finish anything at all.

I have spend last 5 years working on 4 different projects on my own. From my experience, perfectionism has been the major cause of my failures because it effected my planning so severely that the plans were never realistic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

We are the game development community.

Whether you are an indie, hobbyist, AAA developer, or just trying to learn, GameDev.net is the place for you to learn, share, and connect with the games industry. Learn more About Us or sign up!

Sign me up!