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KingNothing33

I've got a Feeling

13 posts in this topic

Alright so, I've decided to go ahead with the game i was planning earlier in 2012,

 

It's going to be RPG-ish and it will be simple 8-bit graphics.

 

The problem i'm finding is which side of the team do I want to be on, I've collected friends from my school to help me out, a Programmer and a Artist. I'm more of a design sort of guy, and I've been willing to help out with both of them. 

 

I love designing game levels and stuff, I lack the artistic capabilities of my friend (I have like 30% of his talent) and I'm 2 years behind the programmer buddy,  so is there a best of both worlds to this?

 

Cheers,

     KingNothing33

Edited by KingNothing33
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From the replies I've read on many similar posts, it seems like when a small group of people start developing a game everyone needs to have enough skill / knowledge in a field of game development to directly contribute to the project otherwise that person can become more of a hassle than an asset.

 

 

 

I love designing game levels and stuff, I lack the artistic capabilities of my friend (I have like 30% of his talent) and I'm 2 years behind the programmer buddy,  so is there a best of both worlds to this?

 

There is! Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think those people are usually called project leaders or lead [programmers / designers / artists / etc]. Even though knowing a little bit about various skills is important (especially to facilitate communication between group members), in small gamedev groups, "leaders" are usually non-existent since that power is shared by everyone.

If you don't have any solid knowledge in a specific field I can't see how you will be able to directly contribute to your game.

 

In the end it all depends on how you and your friends want to go about doing things

 

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I'm more of a design sort of guy, and I've been willing to help out with both of them. 

 

I love designing game levels and stuff, I lack the artistic capabilities of my friend (I have like 30% of his talent) and I'm 2 years behind the programmer buddy,  so is there a best of both worlds to this?

 

Don't be the "idea guy". :D

 

Seriously, you could use this opportunity to learn either programming or art. No one really makes 1 "big" game then quit or make 1 "blockbuster" movie then leave the film industry. Each project should be a learning experience for your next project.

 

Good luck!

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I'm going to list some of my own experience, in hopes that you find it helpful and insightful. Use it as you will.

 

I've always acted as more a design lead myself, in terms of  game mechanics/logic (game levels, characters, combat, etc.), so I understand that side of how you feel. A clear vision for each game and extensible concepts that fit within the overall vision are necessities.

 

That said, you don't want to define your role that way. I wouldn't say you shouldn't be the "idea guy", but you definitely shouldn't expect to be JUST the "idea guy". Find a way to contribute on one end or the other. I generally focus on software architecture in projects I work on (lately many non-games), and enforce software engineering principles, etc. but that is also my academic area of expertise. I also contribute more than my fair share of the actual programming. I have a background in 3d graphical applications as well, and understand enough of the concepts of the artistic side to be able to use/incorporate the models and art that is provided, as well as make reasonable requests.

 

This background normally puts me into some form of lead role since I have knowledge in multiple areas, I like to think that I have a good head for game mechanics, and I pull my own weight (programming) so that the necessary respect is there.

My advice? Decide which role you would rather fill in your team from a product point of view (code, models, etc.) and excel at it. The other roles WILL have to be filled as well, but on a small team they shouldn't define the core role of any single team member. Be a programmer or an artist that additionally contributes heavily into the concepts you feel you excel in. Success will just grant more opportunities to do so again within the team.

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One obvious thing is that you take the role you love.  

[quote name='KingNothing33' timestamp='1358265082' post='5021824']
love designing game levels and stuff
[/quote]

Designer and Artist are two very different positions.  Let me know if our vocabulary is different here:

 

Artist (Assuming Graphic Artist) - someone who is working on images to use in the game.  often this will also be a 3D Modeller, musician and other art requirements.  They might be the ones who set the tone of how the game looks, and share with the programmer as to how the game feels to play.

 

Level Designer - someone who looks at the skills and abilities that the player has, and introduces them in gradual ways to the player, so they become well versed in it.  suppose you have shooting as a standard, but you also have a grappling hook.  The first levels will just be target practice, then moving targets, then popup targets.  After that, they are given or find the grappling hook.  In a safe way, where if they fail, it brings them right back to try again, they try the grappling hook.  Then shortly after, are presented with another need to use it, but this time if the fall/fail, it will hurt or worse.  next, they are presented with needing to shoot one monster while still on the grappling hook. - The Level Designer is responsible for making sure these features and ideas are being presented to the player in a fun and effective manner.  - you can start right away too.  if you know the general idea of the game, and some of the types of monsters/weapons, etc...  you can start designing out the first few levels.  

 

Story Designer - Establishes a plot, particularly requiring engagement for the style of game play provided.  They will work with the Level Designer to make sure that each level is either progressing the story, or working with it.  A game designer will usually write in episodes, splitting the story into sections that play out certain modes of game play and focus that works with the features of the game.

 

System Designer - when outside of the game play portion of the game, this designer takes over on the look/operations.  I.e. this might be for a level editing tool, or a character editor, or even menus.  This person designs the flow and processes that the user will go through.

 

UI Designer - This person designs the look and feel of HUD's, and menus.  Not necessarily the flow, though it can be.  But what do the menus look like, what borders and placement are used for the in-game on-screen controls, etc...

 

 

The point here is not for vocabulary, but to point out that there is a LOT of design work that goes into a game, and you might have a full time job just with that.

 

However, a happy medium might also be to create a task list with your friends.  I presume they have a general idea of your abilities, and how it relates to what they do.  Ask them to come up with a list of tasks that need to be done (good for a team anyway), at least the things that can be reasonably worked on now.  And mark off things they think you could take on with little help.  Or better yet, ask them to come up with a few tasks that you might not use in the game, but will help get you to a more useful need soon. 

 

These kinds of task often relate to busy work, such as learning SQL, so you can pre-populate NPC stats.  This could be learning to do some basic event coding, so you can start tying events from AI, or NPC's into the main game engine.  Its especially helpful if one of the others can figure out what kinds of things the expect to be more common, so they can focus you training on that.

 

 

Another thing I often like to institute in game teams of mine, is a Master/Apprentice mentality.  A lot of other trades have it, but Programming doesn't formally carry those titles, at least not in the same way.  everyone on the team knows that the apprentices are still very much in a learning stage, and will typically be helpful to them.  Essentially, you could work as Apprentice to them.

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Thank you all for your replies.

 

I understand that most small teams don't have a set of roles, everyone sorta helps out a bit. that's where "I've been willing to help both," comes in.

 

I don't plan on being the 'idea guy' because then it won't feel like it's my own game, and that doesn't accomplish anything but alienate the rest of my team.

 I do realize there is a lot of design that goes into this sort of business, and I want to do a good portion of the Designing part to the game.

 

I'm barely getting back into programming (Java mainly) so I feel like I won't be much help in that field.

 

my artistic ability isn't bad, but its nothing compared to my artsy friends.

 

the problem is; I don't know which side to lean without feeling useless, I'm a great design guy. but I don't want to feel like i'm not pulling any weight. 

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...I'm barely getting back into programming (Java mainly) so I feel like I won't be much help in that field.

 

my artistic ability isn't bad, but its nothing compared to my artsy friends.

 

the problem is; I don't know which side to lean without feeling useless, I'm a great design guy. but I don't want to feel like i'm not pulling any weight. 

 

Well, if I were you, I would work on designing levels and story while letting your artist friend take lead for art and you creating other art assets that he might not have time to work on. Like if he's creating a fire-breathing dragon character with a complex animation, you could be creating the fire it shoot from its mouth or the creates that lay scattered throughout the levels.

 

Most games have a ton of art assets, so taking some of that weight off of your buddy will help expediate the game development.

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[quote name='KingNothing33' timestamp='1358359314' post='5022248']
I understand that most small teams don't have a set of roles,
[/quote]

 

Not sure where you'd get this idea.

Having watched Bastion's developers at the latest GDC Online, they were pretty strict about their successful philosophy: decisions were not taken as a vote, but by capabilities.

There was a sound guy, a programmer, an artist, and they were pretty strict about this...

Personally, I don't know whether "most small teams" have (or don't have) specific roles, but I'm surprised you seem to have such a clear idea about this...

Care to quote sources?

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Um, the people who have already commented....?

 

I don't really have a source for that except for the 4 or 5 people that have commented above my previous comment saying something along the lines of that..

Not saying that it's definite.. 

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King, if you draw up a detailed GDD with a list of assets needed and a list of features needed everything might start falling into place. Your programmer and artist friend might be willing to join you and even follow you if you can present them a clear, clear, clear vision of your project. They'll want to know exactly what they're signing up for. 

 

Personally, I disagree that most small teams don't have set roles. Dividing labor up properly is the way to go, imo.

 

As for you- there's always room for a person with a plan. Scheduling, marketing, level design, character concepts (even bad art can be very helpful to your artist), recruitment, budgeting, enemy design, story-boarding, etc. 

 

But again- don't start anything until you have your GDD. Shoot for 5-8 pages at first. I suggest Googling GDD examples and basing yours off whichever one best suits your style/abilities. 

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Personally, I disagree that most small teams don't have set roles. Dividing labor up properly is the way to go, imo.

 

Have set roles, divide up the labor, certainly. But each team member needs to be flexible.  Sometimes it's useful, enjoyable, or necessary for someone to put on a different hat for a while to get something done.

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Oh, definitely. Everyone should be talking about everything, all the time. 

 

Sorry I misunderstood smile.png

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