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dtg108

Can a Design Person Effectively be Part of a Team?

16 posts in this topic

First off, I've been wanting to post this here for a while, but AI've never gotten the chance to. I am not saying this to bring anyone down, and I am not doing this for personal reasons (I animate), I just want to see what you guys think. Do you think that someone who does things like create a design document/some other documents and comes up with ideas could or SHOULD be part of a team? Would they be effective? What do you think? I hope to see other peoples' views biggrin.png.

Edited by dtg108
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Why are you asking this, since this Game Design forum is dedicated to, and populated by, people whose job title is "Game Designer"?  Perhaps you should rephrase the question, or state your premise -- your own views on this topic.

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Do you mean an "idea guy" who has no experience working in the game industry?  Or do you mean an "idea guy" who's worked for a couple years in the industry and has earned the title of "game designer"?

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New Idea guy who thinks he can sit back and throw ideas at people while they work hard :D

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New Idea guy who thinks he can sit back and throw ideas at people while they work hard biggrin.png

 

Of course not. I still don't understand what you're trying to find out.  If you are just trying to start a heated discussion, this belongs in the Lounge.  If you're trying to learn about how to become a game designer, this belongs in the Breaking In forum.  If you want to learn about what it really is to be a game designer, this belongs either here or in Breaking Into The Industry.  What is it you're trying to accomplish with your question exactly?  Are you having discussions with a would-be "idea guy" and trying to figure out how to handle the situation, how to manage the guy?  Maybe this belongs in Production / Management.

Edited by Tom Sloper
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No, I'm an animator. Sorry, this should probably belong in the lounge smile.png.

 

I still don't understand what it is you're trying to find out.  But okay, I'm moving it to the lounge.

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Do you think that someone who does things like create a design document/some other documents and comes up with ideas could or SHOULD be part of a team?

 

Like Tom Sloper said, it all depends on what kind of skills and experience that person have. And what exactly does he do when he creates design documents and comes up with ideas.

 

Someone who has years of experience working in the industry with a proven track record, knows what is going on and participates in the development process so that he/she can revise the design/ideas...is very useful in the team, probably leading the team.

 

On the other hand, someone with no experience, no track record, no technical skills/knowledge, and does not participate in the development process to revise design/ideas is completely 100% useless.

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At my studio, game design is an entire department ("discipline" in local parlance). So yes, designers are important members of any sizable team.

 

Game designers are people with a specific skill set. People with merely lots of "ideas" are useless [b]in every field[/b] without corresponding skills; that's nothing specific to games.

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I have never really worked in a team where there's a designated "Game Designer", so my view could be a bit uninformed.

 

I have worked, however, in a small team where there's a specific designer, such as a Level Designer, or an Enemy Designer.  They are not idea guys.  They need actual scripting/programming skills to make levels, or actually able to draw to make enemies.  They don't just pull ideas out of thin air, write docs, and get all the credits.

 

In a non-gaming professional setting, which I am now, there's probably the equivalent of a Game Designer, and that is a Product Manager, a person who foresees the conception of a product.  I personally think that a Product Manager is a useless and bloated job that a company can ever have.  Although, in a large company that employs more than a couple dozens people, it's kind-of needed to have somebody to run around writing and passing documentations around so that everyone is working and understanding the same thing, and not deviate from the original plan.  However, in this case, he's not really the idea guy, but merely somebody in the middle of the communication web.

 

Can an Idea Guy be part of a team?  Yes, but usually somebody with enough power or money or connections (i.e. the CEO).  He will start the project with the initial plan, but this is just the skeleton.  Then the rest of the team takes it from there and added the meat, the skin, and the polish till the release of the product.  Of course, the question if all the credits should be given to the CEO or the team really depends on the company's culture.  Minecraft creator, Markus Perrsson, gave a whopping $3 million to the Minecraft's team because he knows, that without the team, Minecraft wouldn't be where it is today.  Other companies may not be so, and some greedy CEO might say "Yeah, I created that!", and took all the credits and bonuses.

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In every field that I have worked in, there are always people with ideas but no ability or drive to implement their ideas.

 

Example 1

 

I briefly considered making a commercial web application with a business guy (he has connections to investors) with lots of grand visions of what our app will become once its done. But its not as simple as "I design a app, you make it".

 

You need to register a business before building the app - its all pointless if after you build the app you realize the business isn't feasible (e.g. gambling, file sharing). This means having a business model. Also, you need exact details of the functions your app is going to have. Vague concepts like "user gets an account and can upload files" is useless - nobody can program an app based on that. There is also the logistics of sourcing for artists, figuring out what kind of art/look fits with the app, licensing/copyright etc.

 

The business guy had lots of ideas of the far future, but he couldn't contribute to any of the above. So the project was canned.

 

Example 2

 

I work in scientific research. This guy had an idea to merge two distinct fields of mathematics by finding some commonality between them. Unfortunately, this is 100% worthless in science. The mathematician who actually implement this idea will get the final credit as originator of the idea.

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An "Ideas Man" and a "Game Designer" are two total different concepts, and are not involved in how much experience a person has.

 

An Ideas Man has many ideas, but does nothing with them. IN affect, he digs his own grave, because he is too lazy to contribute to his ideas success yet expects everyone else to without complaint. None of them end up getting their idea to work, or its stolen because they partook in literally none of the development stage.

 

A Game Designer, on the other hand, takes their idea and turns it into a feasible game. This means Game Documents, Coding preparation, What does what, who goes where, Why and How. They handle almost all of the Theory stage, with input from other members of the team. These are the guys that work tirelessly in order to make their idea into something that others can work with.

 

So yes, an Ideas Man is worthless, but one who takes their ideas and turns it into something is worthwhile.

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The fabled "idea guy" is always completely useless -- they need some other contribution to make themselves useful to a team.

 

A skilled designer however has almost nothing in common with an "idea guy" and can potentially be very valuable.

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An "ideas guy" is fine, if they have genuinely excellent ideas and some technical skill to back it up (in some field, not necessarily programming).

 

There was a "valve employee handbook" going around a while ago. I'm not sure how real it is, but one of the concepts they mentioned was T-Shaped People.

valve_handbook_02.png

 

I thought this was a really good idea. 

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