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Opinion: Dealing With Change
In this reprinted #altdevblogaday-opinion piece, Volition Inc. design director Jameson Durall talks about how to handle requested or needed game design changes that you might not initially appreciate.
The worst thing you can do is take the attitude of "They are making me do this, so everyone around me is gonna know it!". While this may be true and that info is a small part of what you communicate(for context), this can't be your justification for the changes going forward. You need to take a step back and re-evaluate the new direction for this part of the game and get on board with it… even if you might like the other idea better. This isn't an easy thing to do sometimes, but keep in mind that as a designer you are the beacon holder for the fun of your game and the rest of the team count on you. If you are not, at least seemingly, fully behind the new direction for the game then no one else will be compelled to put in the kind of work necessary to make it the best it can be. I'm not suggesting you fool others here, just saying that you need to get on board and make sure others see that you are. Justify The Idea
We've developed a process at work where we create a Design Brief for every feature that not only talks about it's function in the game, but also it's emotional goals and justification. I've found that whenever changes are necessary, I can go back to this document and use it as a measuring stick to see if the goals are being achieved. I've even found that a new decision ended up supporting the vision of the game better once I was forced to rethink it. The Design Brief is also a fantastic tool for relaying the vision and getting the entire team in sync about what you are trying to create. Discussions can get passionate at times and everyone has their own preferences which they push for. The Design Brief really helps minimize heated conversations and make sure that you are all narrowing toward the same goal. The most important thing to keep in mind is that there will always be situations out of your control, but you can control how you deal with it and the message you send to your team. In the end, you may feel like you are compromising with an inferior feature but you have to put everything you have into making that work as well as it can for the game. The entire team is going to be looking to you, do you want them to be bummed they have to work on something or focus on how great the new thing can be if everyone works together? [This piece was reprinted from #AltDevBlogADay, a shared blog initiative started by @mike_acton devoted to giving game developers of all disciplines a place to motivate each other to write regularly about their personal game development passions.]