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Development Diary 7 – The Joys of Tyranny!

The seventh entry of a development diary written in April 2013 by Daniel Bishop as he embarked on his first video game project - Necromancer, The Fight For Life - catch up with the rest at http://www.necromancergame.com/progress/progress.html

Daniel Bishop, Blogger

May 8, 2013

3 Min Read

In late May I am aiming to press the go button on my Kickstarter- it feels good to have a deadline, even if it is one I set myself for no concrete reason. It is definitely forcing me to line up my content, and make decisions that I might have left until later in development.

I have spent a lot of time following other video game Kickstarters, trying to work out what helps and what hinders. With that in mind I am trying feverishly to finish my playable prototype, so that even with early artwork, people can get a sense of how the game will feel. I do however want the prototype to be as good as possible, which is causing some problems of knowing when the prototype is ‘finished’.

I hear that professional game studios completely grind to a halt to prepare for a Kickstarter and spend months constructing their page. For the amount of return some of them are expecting I can understand that.

 Torment just recently finished at a little over $4 million, 465% to target.
However I am attempting to put all this together around a full time job and volunteering, so I have much more modest goals, and I am fortunate enough to have the assistance of some very talented people helping me provide content for the game and the Kickstarter. But right now the project is still all mine; I am the sole decision maker; a leader of a team of one.
I wonder if the speed of the project, how quickly the structure has come together, and how quickly the Kickstarter has been organized, is partly (or wholly) to do with me being the sole decision maker.

tyranny is much easier to run than a democracy.
Maybe the larger the team is the longer decisions take to make- because of the need for consensus (or at least some kind of majority agreement). Trying to please people, trying to keep up morale, trying to make other peoples feel their voices are heard, can be a real set back in terms of time frames.

For example, I can ask for feedback on how my witches look, but I decide what to do with the feedback and for better or worse, decide when they are finished.
  Other peoples’ input is incredibly valuable, and I am grateful every time I receive some, but maybe a downside to working as part of a team (especially a creative team) means that there is some polite obligation to give time and space to other views, which may not always be the best, and may slow processes down. I have decided to set my funding goal based on hiring a professional programmer, while I take care of the art, story, and design. I will however have stretch goals which will have the purpose of bringing in artists, writers, and other professionals, so that the more funding the game receives, the more talent I can bring into the project and make a better quality product. This will help keep the target realistic and achievable. Despite what I have already said in this blog, I am sincerely enjoying working with other people on this project and look forward to bringing more people on board. I just hope I can make good decisions and be a good leader; balancing what I believe is best for the game with honouring the talent and experience others bring to the process.


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