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Game Dev. From Concept to Game.

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Ok here's a problem, I'm going to start learning C++ even though I have not signed up for the class yet, or know which direction in computers I want to go. My question though is bassed on Game Development. Now, I started a small project (just me alont) that I was never able to finish with the main reason being that I was probably the main working staff member in the entire project. I had to do the music, the program, the graphix, the interface graphix, and since it was a free project, hack all the characters :http://sor4uei.tk . It was comming out good, but for 3 years +, it just didnt seem like it was worth it. So I had the project halted untill I could find more resources. My plan with this project is to go fully 3D with it this time and use another programming language like C++. It'll take awhile considering the highest programming language I know is Basic style programming, but I think I can do it if I put the effort. I would like to avoid a similar problem in the future by having a few members of a staff so I dont have to do all the work. I would mainly like to do just music and project design, but I seem to be going into other areas as well. My question is, what's normal in a game development staff? Do you have like the programmers, the concept designers for the modelers, the texture artist, ect ect. I would like to get my hands on a concept designer and a modeler for my projects. I have great ideas, but I just need someone to help me out considering that I'm not a very good artist.

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When I start, I'll be shooting for OGRE. The rendering capabilities see like it keeps up with current generation and a touch of new generation capabilities. I just need to learn C++ first lol. But yeah again about the question with the staff, what's a basic compilation. I would much prefer that not all the pressure weigh down on me lol.

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It depends a lot on the team and what you're doing. Hobbyist teams vary a lot, and usually end up forming based mainly on what people are good at and what they can contribute to the effort. For instance, myself and my flatmate are working on a couple of spare-time projects; I'm doing all of the technical work, and he's doing design and such. We're still missing someone who can generate decent art and sound, but we also don't have anything for an artist to work on at the moment, so that's OK [smile] The trick to coordinating such a team is that everyone has to be kept happy. At a job, people are (more or less) kept happy with money. In a hobby project that's probably not an option, so keeping a team together can be a real challenge. There's some good articles here on GameDev (and more at Gamasutra about dealing with that.

Professional development houses tend to fit a more deliberate pattern. At Egosoft, we've got a team that works primarily on programming, one for artwork and visual design, one for balancing and other design-related tasks, a couple of people working on high-level management (and odd jobs), and some outsourced work as well. This kind of segmentation is pretty common. The management/design team will coordinate the efforts of all the other groups, and make sure everything comes together in a final result. The size of each department will vary based on the project and the funding available to the developer; in some smaller groups, some people may do more than one job, whereas in large groups (e.g. EA, Rockstar, etc.) each group will probably have many people, and sometimes subteams (character art, level art, texture art, tools programming, engine programming, etc. etc.).

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It all depends on what you are aiming for.

If you are talking commercial quality, then you are talking about a huge number of people. If you are talking about a hobby project, then it's usaually more a question of making the design fit the resources.

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I would like an in between. Like right now a few of our project can be home based, but have the option of being commercial you know? So like a medium staff would probably be about right. So in the sence, we'd have a bunch of hobbist, who after a few projects develope into a comercial org if all possible.

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Sounds like a good target; I'd say something in the 3-6 person range should work nicely for you. Just be aware that you're going to face some significant challenges; a lot of people start the hobbyist route and end up not being able to follow through with it, and that's a shame.

Some quick and dirty tips:

- Read everything you can about managing teams, especially hobbyist teams. There's a host of great articles on various sites, and some poking around with Google can turn up a lot of things. Try to get as many viewpoints on management as you can, and consider them all. Find out what suits you best, but be careful not to discard good advice out of hand because it doesn't sound like fun.

- Expand. Take every opportunity that you practically can to increase your own knowledge and skills. You'll probably be very glad you have them at some point in the future. Just don't overload yourself, and keep priorities in focus.

- Teams are best built if you can prove you know what you're doing. Volunteers, especially when not paid, are going to generally have a "put up or shut up" mentality when looking for a project. A portfolio, no matter how small, that demonstrates that A) you are good with your skills and B) you can get things done on a team will be essential.

- Be honest. A lot of small-time shops like to try and invent this "we're a huge company and we're awesome" atmosphere, and it is invariably destructive. A small-time team can't compete with a genuine, multi-billion-dollar empire, and if you try to convince people that you're an empire, they'll be pissed when they learn the truth. I've seen this take apart several prospective businesses (including one of my own), and very nearly tank a few others. People will understand that you can't answer tech support calls at 10:30 PM on Saturday nights if you're upfront about being a small hobbyist team. They will not understand if they think you're a division of EA.

- Pick your battles. Know when to fight for something and when to give up and move on. Be careful of the extremes; it is just as easy to get into trouble by never taking on a challenge as it is to exhaust yourself stubbornly attacking every Goliath that walks onto the field.

- Think things over carefully. Snap decisions can be disastrous, especially when picking team members. It's a very powerful temptation to take the first volunteers that come along, but resist it; always make sure the team you put together is up to the job, and that you won't bring in someone that will give you serious problems later on. People will expect you to have everything together when they join, so expect the same of your team in return.

- Have fun with it. If you're reaching a point where you're just pushing on for no clear reason and everyone is miserable, pull the plug. Remember that an incomplete project isn't a failure if you can learn from it.


When you're ready to start putting things together, our very own Help Wanted forum should be a good place to start recruiting. Good luck!

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Thanks alot! :) That was very inspiring. I have alot to do because of that. I'll do some research and post anything I need help on. Again thanx!

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