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The basics of a development team are there, but what do I need to learn?

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I've wanted to be a game designer for a while, but I always knew there'd be more to the job than just coming up with an idea, and detailing it. That's why I'm trying to see one of my ideas through to completion as an actual game. Honestly, I thought that it'd be impossible to assemble any talent, considering that my only ability is to write. However, I have managed to get an excellent concept artist, an excellent musician, a strong programmer, a good designer all interested in working on my project. But there's one gaping hole (besides a need for a 2D artist, but I hope to address that soon). We don't have a project leader. Nobody who knows how to manage everyone on the team, and make sure that everyone is producing. I was hoping to fill that role, but when I considered that all that could possibly attract such a person is the concept of my project, I figured I'd have to learn how to fill that role myself. Of course, I know very little about how to manage a product. I sort of know how to work with writers, as that's my area of expertise. But even in that, I'm sort of making things up as I go along. But otherwise, I'm totally clueless. Now, I'm not expecting anyone here to give me a crash course on how to manage such a project. What I'm hoping is that someone will be able to point me in the right direction. What do I need to learn? Where would I learn this? How long will it take to learn? Considering how clueless I am, I wouldn't be surprised if you're just as clueless as I am. So feel free to ask me questions. I'll try to answer you as best I can.

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To be quite blunt with you, I'm not sure anybody would want their project to be managed by someone who doesn't know anything except how to manage a project. How will you:
- accurately plan a task or group of if you don't have a good idea how long it will take?
- know when one of your programmers, artists, or designers is being over-ambitious?
- recruit new team members without having some familiarity with the skills you're looking for?

I respect my manager because I know he did my job before I did. He knows what it takes and won't make unreasonable demands of me. I couldn't say that about someone who was just brought in to oversee the project but who doesn't really understand the key processes involved.

So, I would say to you, before you go any further, you may want to start at the bottom like most people do, rather than moving straight into management, which is essentially what you're suggesting. If that doesn't satisfy you, then I suggest you take steps to learn more about the different subject areas so that you have a better idea of what tools and processes are used. Consider buying books like Game Architecture and Design to get an overview of the process. In fact, all the books in's game design section are worth considering.

Finally, get yourself some organisational tools. Some people use Microsoft Project and stuff like that. Personally I find that a wiki (DokuWiki is good for programming projects) coupled with something like FreeMind for generating charts is good enough for the documentation and planning. Ensure everyone has the same instant messenger so that online conferences can be held. Allocate some shared web and/or FTP space for files. Consider source control like CVS or Subversion.

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