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  • How Not To Make A Game: An Illtide Postmortem

    [04.04.19]
    - Antoine Sarrazin

  • Part 3

    OK! Now that you've over scoped your game and nobody on the team listen to each other, this is when you realize the real problem behind EVERY SINGLE creative project made in team: Communication.

    If you want to make things as a group, you got to learn to communicate, and that goes through a few key points:

    Trust

    You are working, and will work with talented people that might still be learning about their crafts, but that might also have way more knowledge and skills in their work than you do. You are here to challenge them with your skill and knowledge but never denigrate their work.

    If you do, you will only trigger egos and create conflicts where only teamwork and professionalism should arise from this.

    And speaking of egos...

    Professionalism

    ...Throw it in the trash. You are here to work together, so work together! Worked in the same space (we had the chance to have dedicated workspaces at ENJMIN).

    It is possible to work remotely with online communication tools, but nothing will go quicker than turning your head around and asking the person next to you about this problem you have. Because any way to communicate online will only add noise to the signal, and in the worse cases, make you say "Meh... This can wait...", because it will get lost.

    So, to sum up:

    Communicate!

    You are humans, talk to one another if you have problems or if everything is going well!

    It might be difficult at first because you don't know anyone, or have worked with this person yet, but that shouldn't discourage you! Go eat together, plays some cooperative/fun games, grab a drink (responsibly), try to get to know each other. You are not to love one another, but you have to work together (again, be professional)

    Conclusion

    The reason I did this presentation, and wrote this article, is not to be haughty or to act like a "know-it-all". I have no rights to be after making so few games. But the thing I know, is that the game dev industry lacks these kinds of stories to be publicly told.

    We have great documentaries about game creation, the joy and passion that goes into making successful games such as the Noclip YouTube channel, or the "Double Fine Adventure" series, but you don't get that much stories or coverage about why and how some games fails completely.

    Because these failures represent days, weeks, or even months where everything goes to shit professionally and personally, because it will mess with you sometime both on a mental and physical level.

    And that's what happened for us. We hated each other more and more throughout the project, we were completely losing faith in our potential careers, we were failing interview because of it because try to sell your skills in a game company while your biggest project is awful. This was hell.

    But the thing is that, after a while, you will get it. You will understand what being professional means, and manage to go through this project. This is hard, but to reassure you,

    Everyone on the team is still alive.

    We managed to decide on a creative duo to take all decisions, even if some people are not okay with them, you stay professional.

    We worked hard on the universe, the design, the art and tried to hide as many flaws that were piling up over the last months.

    And in the end, we put together a playable prototype. Extremely flawed, but it exists. You can find it on itch.io or see how it looks like in the video above.

    Almost everyone on the team got an internship that turned into a full-time job (and we might be the team with the most people still having one at the time of the presentation)

    So if you think you are currently going through hell in development, maybe follow some of this advice. But be sure that, at some point in time, it WILL get better, and you are not the only one, nor the first one to experience this.

    This article was first published on my blog (and is also available in French): Find it here!

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