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How to Form a Solid Development Team

Today many people are jumping into independent game development. If you want to make a great game you need to have a good team. Here are some of the factors you need to take into account to build a solid team.

Today many people are jumping into independent game development. If you want to make a great game you need to have a good team. Here are some of the factors you need to take into account to build a solid team.

The scale of the team

The first aspect you will need to tackle is one of scale. If you only want to make a small game, using a big team is a waste of resources. Even if you want to make a bigger game, starting off with a small core team is usually better and it can grow as you go.

Traits to look for in team members

You will want team members who can work well together, and are hardworking and passionate. Game development involves collaboration between multiple disciplines so communication skills are vital.

For example, a programmer will have to communicate in a way an artist will understand in order to create visuals. Fortunately, the headsets available today allow team members to work without distractions and still communicate effectively with other team members.

The roles of team members

When you’re building a game development team, the type of games you’re going to make affects team roles. For a story-rich game with plenty of dialogue, good writers are essential. If you’re making a racing game where the narrative is limited, a programmer that can simulate car physics will have a more crucial role.

Scale also matters when it comes to roles. In a larger team, you will need more specialized individuals. In a smaller team, it may be better to find individuals who have more generalized skills and are able to fulfill various roles, whether it’s helping to design a game or program.

Programmers: Programmers bring a game idea to life by developing codebases and tools for a game. You may need more than one programmer, depending on the size and scope of the game. Programmers will do some testing to make sure the game works properly.

Designers: Many people in a small team usually contribute to game design. In a larger team, there may be a designer who has the final say on design decisions.

Artists: Artists perform a crucial activity in that they what they create is what players of the game will see. They have to work closely together with other team members to create their visuals. What they produce has to meet certain technical standards and capture the feel of the game.

Sound designer: Sound effects and music can make all the difference in a game. You will want to find a great sound designer with experience in the field.

Project manager: The project manager has to make sure the team is working efficiently. He will set milestones and see that they are achieved within a reasonable time frame.  

Quality assurance: It helps to have someone other than programmers doing quality assurance. Programmers may have a hard time identifying issues in code they have worked on for hours.

Producer: The producer manages the business side of things, including monitoring cash flow, developing marketing strategies and making economic assessments.

Writer: A game writer will create a plot, character, setting and other narrative elements to make sure a game is captivating.

What will you do in-house and what will you outsource?

Some aspects of game development are better to do in-house whereas others lend themselves to outsourcing. It’s common to outsource artwork and music.

Programming, on the other hand, tends to be done in-house. Deciding which elements you want to do in-house and what you want to outsource will also determine how many team members you need and the specific skills they need.

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