Great people will make a great game

Posted: February 28, 2009 in Games
Tags: , ,

Once upon a time, as a bright eyed and over eager developer, I thought I could make a hit game all on my own.  If I worked hard enough, learned all about every aspect, then I could make the bestest game in the whole world.  When someone wiser than me said “You need a great team to make a great game” I said to myself it was just a catch phrase and they just hadn’t seen how awesome I was.  I can’t even describe how wrong I was.  I mean, if there’s a bright centre of being right in the universe, then I was the thinker it’s furthest from.

It’s come slowly.  And I do mean slowly.  Glacially in fact.  It’s come slowly, to an otherwise intelligent person, that you can’t get done in a realistic amount of time, what a team of  people can do in the time frame of game making.  I mean, if I wasn’t blind or crazy, I would have figured this out a lot earlier.  Or maybe I did (I worked for other companies) but I never was honest with myself.  Not only can you not make the game, but it will be suckier.  

Even if you partner with someone, it will be better.  That person will likely bring a perspective to add and refine ideas.  Yes, your ideas are amazing, wonderful and precious, but they can always be better.  So what about adding another few people?  If you add the right people, with the right skill sets, it becomes a team.  A team capable of so much more than the sum of their parts.

I’ve been a part of teams before, most people have.  I’ve been a part of healthy teams and I’ve been a part of dysfunctional teams.  When I tried to build my own team, it was a challenge greater than any other single challenge in game making.  Harder than the initial concept, harder than the key ideas or technology choices, it was even harder than making spread sheets.

So, armed with this knowledge, after watching the latest team I’m a part of be built and grow, I’m now a believer.  If you want to succeed, put great people together and help them work and you’ll get more than you ask for.  If I direct them in the right ways, sure things will be better but without those people working together, I have much less hope of getting something good, let a lone something great at the end of it.

So, if I were to do it all over again, sure, I’d start learning this skill much younger.  But without so much of the experience of trying it the hard way, I think I wouldn’t have such an appreciation for what everyone else brings to the table.  So if you are running a team, love thy team.

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