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Metalbreath

Game Designer vs Team Arguments

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Hello everyone,

 

*(Im not sure if this post is for Beginner Section or Production&Management, so feel free to move it if you think I ve posted it on the wrong Section)*

I ve worked with couple of indie teams as a Game Designer/Team Management. 

Before I join a team, I always let them know that I will argue with ideas they have and I eager them to argue with my ideas.

 

I think as a Game Designer its crucial to listen what my team thinks about what I write and what ideas they have because,

through the arguments many small and unexpected ideas may pop up.

 

But when the team hears the word "argument" they take it as a negative attitude. Which is not what I am intended to project.

 

I personally think that its important aspect for writing the GDD. 

 

What are your ideas on this matter?

 

Should I eager my team to feel comfortable to argue with me? Should I not use the word at all and expect them to react when they dont like something?(Although this may cause "shy" members to never express the dislike for a feature and a great idea may goes to waste)

 

Should I use a different approach?

 

How do you deal with this matter with your team?

 

Thank you for taking the time and reading my post.

 

Regards

Andreas

Edited by Metalbreath

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I spent a year working at Exient, the company who produced Angry Birds Go! for Rovio.

 

We had 3 or 4 designers there and more often than not, they produced a design document. If we disagreed with something we spoke up. 'Are you sure this wouldn't work better?' or 'I think this could work well' was either met with agreement or a good reason as to why the idea can't be used. The designers were very open to suggestions from everyone else and the 'what we look for in a potential designer' is, as you say, someone who can take ideas from the rest of the team.

 

Use more positive terminology than 'argue' mind you! As Lactose! said, 'discuss' is better. Or 'feel free to suggest alternatives if you disagree with the design'. 

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But when the team hears the word "argument" they take it as a negative attitude. Which is not what I am intended to project.

 

The word [I]discuss[/I] is the standard.  "I want to encourage us to discuss anything that you may feel needs it,"  and similar words are welcoming.  Most people do not want to argue.  Argue is NOT the same thing as debate.  I suggest that you not even use the word debate because that will happen naturally.  You can not force issues or use unique jargon which you solely prefer and expect yourself to have good leadership.  A leader talks the talk of the team and if need be will adapt and drop own preferences to do so.  The team will at least subconsciously discern that and you will gain respect.  Be colloquial and friendly.

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Thank you for your replies.

My intentions are to project a friendly image.

I was using the word "argue" because yes it means you trying to convince someone something. But as well that you provide facts about it.

I didn't want my team to start saying.... "i want an elephant on the tree" - "why?" - "i like it".
I would prefer fact as " I think an elephant on the tree will good because he will attract player attention and he will notice the hidden treasure" (example)

And visa versa. When I suggest a feature to have a constructive argument(discuss)
On why they don't think it will be a good idea.

My aim is to create a playable, fun and selling game.
That is why I focus on facts that can gelp the game.

I guess you are guys are right. I will have to use a more friendly tone. Throw few smilies every now and then heh :)

I will follow your advices.
Much appreciated!

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Design, production, and development all are moderately adversarial.

 

A good designer *CAN* write designs that are beyond the scope of production resources and beyond the scope of development talent, but also *CAN* write game designs that push the envelope of both.  A good design uses all the resources completely without going over.

 

A good development team will both be adversarial and offer constructive improvements. They'll review designs as they are made, make realistic and accurate estimates, essentially turning the designer's dreams into a shopping list.

 

A good production team will work with the designer so they know all the resources available to them, and give them all that is reasonable. They'll tell the designer how much budget they have for each resource, so they can pick and choose from the shopping list.

 

A designer might have 14 programming days and 8 modeling days and 17 animation days and 4 audio days and certain requirements from QA and from localization, then they'll need to pick and choose from the shopping list to find features that use them all. So they'll pick something that takes 4 hours here, and 7 hours there, and 2 hours somewhere else, and ensure all the hours are spent.

 

All three groups should be constantly pushing back against each other, but also pushing themselves to make the best game possible. The developers (programmers and art folk) should look at the grand designs and say "I cannot quite do that, but I think I can meet the spirit of your design by doing something slightly different.". The developers should also suggest extra content as appropriate, "I think this extra feature might fit the theme and it only takes two hours, but I don't see it in your design, have you considered adding it?"  The production folk should try to fill up the the schedule all the way and use all the resources, and only push back when something is over scope to get it down to scope. 

 

 

When all the groups are working together the designs will be discussed and reviewed so everybody understands and agrees with the project going in. Sometimes there will be good designs that don't survive the process (we have called the process 'drowning puppies') and it can be painful for everybody who has a stake in it. 

 

If any one of the groups (design and design lead, production and production lead, developers and programming lead and art lead and QA lead) have difficulty pushing back on the other groups there will be problems. Conversely, if any of the groups give in too easily there can be problems.. It can mean products are over scope and need features cut late. It could mean features are not good enough or you have underscheduled; of all the problems this is the easiest to deal with, but it can be frustrating especially for designers. Using too many or too few resources can frustrate producers who need to keep schedules coordinated. It is an important system to balance.

 

Good teams that are generally cooperative but assertive enough to constructively push back are wonderful environments to work.

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*(Im not sure if this post is for Beginner Section or Production&Management, so feel free to move it if you think I ve posted it on the wrong Section)*
I ve worked with couple of indie teams as a Game Designer/Team Management.


For Beginners is a technical forum, so I'm moving it to P&M.
 

Should I eager my team to feel comfortable to argue with me?


I'm guessing English is not your primary language (thus you may not have appreciated the connotations of the word "argue"). As others said, don't refer to their ideas and suggestions and comments as "arguing." And certainly you should never argue with their ideas and suggestions and comments. You may not adopt all their suggestions, but always react gratefully to all input. If someone says he thinks it would be fun to have elephants in trees, he ought to say why, but if he doesn't, don't demand a reason - you can just say, "that sounds fun!" That doesn't mean you're going to add elephants in trees. Edited by Tom Sloper

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@Frob

Thank you for the long description suggestions and tips. :)

 

@Tom Sloper

You are right. English is not my primary language. Even though I use it more often than my primary language (Greek).

 

I understand, I should always respond with  positive and friendly answer. 

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