Thursday, February 14, 2008

Getting Bigger

I often find that what eats up most of my time working is managing people and their projects. As the endeavors for both of our games get bigger and bigger, more and more people are added to the mix. This year we added Gesslar to our coding team for Threshold, and as with any change or addition to a game, things never transition smoothly. We increased the size of our workers on Threshold by 50%, so of course, that adds an even bigger impact. With change, obviously, you always get players who complain. Gesslar's come under a lot of fire, but it's depressing to witness players cut their own throats. MORE coders are always a good thing as long as they're hard workers, and Gesslar is an extremely hard worker. Even if they break a few things along the way, you always have more content in the end. It's amazing what players will complain about, but I honestly think that's a huge issue with ID ("I deserve") generation. Having said that, I often think a huge part of running a game is saving the players from themselves and protecting your gaming environment from people who will constantly try to nerf it.

Anyway, I digress. The hardest part about having more people is simply that I have to spend a lot of time getting our styles to match. Having a seamless world is very important to me. I don't want a place where someone can go into an area and say, "Well, Dalaena definitely coded this." We also don't want 7 weapons with similar names and descriptions but greatly varying powers. This used to be extremely common in many, many muds. It still is! You can go onto some of the older muds or stock muds and find 4 different long swords, all with the same descriptions, that differ in power based on where they drop. It's crazy, and that's definitely something I can't have on our games. That means, of course, that you basically have to have one person overseeing everything. That person just happens to be me, and honestly, I enjoy the creative side of game design a lot more than the managing side.

I'm sure this is simply part of growing pains and finding a team that fits well together. Sooner or later, someone will step up who is much better at managing than I am, and I'll go back to being a creative director and coding!


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