Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

20 June, 2016

Management vs. Leadership
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 7:43 PM

First, some news: I finished the bulk of the work on the DLC writing for March of the Living. It still needs to be debugged and playtested, but the majority of my work is done. I had hoped to get this done sooner, but the writing took longer than anticipated and interviewing took a chunk of time out of my schedule. Keep in mind that Dave has his own schedule for releases, so you probably won’t see the DLC released tomorrow.

But, I skipped my Saturday post in order to finish the writing over the weekend.

Anyway, today I want to look a bit more at leadership and compare it to a very similar, but distinct, concept of “management”.
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15 June, 2016

It’s the marketing that kills your game
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 7:53 PM

A lot of people have incorrect perceptions about making games. For example, people on the outside of the industry think that making games is like playing games. This is obviously pretty far from reality.

But, even indies have a lot of wrong ideas about game development. Let’s take a look at another recent example.
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6 June, 2016

Should leaders do hands-on work?
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 9:23 PM

I’m currently reading Team Leadership in the Game Industry by Seth Spaulding II. This isn’t a full review, but I read something that got me thinking: in the book he advocates that leaders should not do work tasks in addition to leadership tasks. In other words, lead programmers shouldn’t be doing programming, rather they should be leading: working out schedules, assigning tasks, and so forth.

I thought this was interesting, so let me share some of my thoughts on this.
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4 June, 2016

Persuasion and game design
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 11:20 PM

Leadership has many dimensions. While the naive view is that leaders give orders and subordinates follow them, the reality is much different in many situations. Particularly in the game industry, where you have many employees who could be making more money in another industry or field of work. Barking orders at game developers is likely to have the experienced ones running for other companies.

This has interesting consequences for game design. Sometimes it’s not the objectively best game design that wins (even if you could objectively measure design to compare them), but rather the game design from the person who is the most convincing. So, persuasion becomes an important element in how to deal with others as a game designer and as a leader. Let’s take a look at one view of persuasion and how it affects leadership.
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30 May, 2016

Review: It’s Your Ship
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 7:12 PM


When I mentioned an interest in leadership, one of the super-cool people I follow on Google+ recommended this book. He suggested it might be interesting because I the military is likely quite different than the game industry. (That’s actually a fairly deep topic, something that I might write about in the future. Let’s just say that there were two former military people at my last job, and they fit in just fine.)

Anyway, I ordered the book on Amazon and read it. I’ll give it a review on here for those who are interested. As an aside, this is one of the first books I’ve read about leadership, so I’m judging it based on my personal experience rather than how it stacks up to other books.

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28 May, 2016

The multiple hierarchies of the game industry

The game industry is a strange place sometimes. I was musing about the nature of the industry the other day, thinking about this. Part of my motivation was to think about my own place in the industry, and another part was thinking about my slowly developing book Thinking Like a Game Designer. When I really thought about it, the one term I’d use to describe the game industry, particularly the triple-A side, is “hierarchies”.

Interested in a closer look?
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7 May, 2016

How much control should a developer have over others?
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 7:00 PM

A friend of mine sent me a link to a clickbait article talking in breathless tones about how kids are gambling with game skins. To be honest, I’m a bit hesitant to even link to such a brazen bit of clickbait, but there are some interesting issues here. I’m not quite brave enough to discuss the legal ramifications here, but this did spark an interesting question: exactly how much control should a developer have over players?
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2 May, 2016

My development of my leadership skills

Over the past few years, I’ve taken a keen interest in the topic of leadership. Part of it comes from my time running Near Death Studios; I think having more leadership training could have helped me grow the business better. I would like to start my own company again in the future, and so I’m looking to build my leadership skills for the next company I start.

Let me share a bit of what I’ve been looking at, and perhaps you’ll have a few suggestions of your own.
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29 April, 2016

Creative ownership and its associated weirdness
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 6:52 PM

Game development is mostly about creativity, about how to harness and manage creativity to create these wonderful fun works of art. But, there’s often some weirdness that comes along with that. The “ownership” of creative ideas tends to be a bit strange when it comes to some people, and this is even before we might start delving into the legal aspects!

So, allow me to take a look at creative ownership in game development.
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28 April, 2016

A call for more diversity of games
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 8:20 PM

Another reader-suggested topic today:

Imperien Cypher suggested:

With the notable exception of Eve-Online, every new MMO I’ve played since the late 90s has felt like a glorified tutorial meant to teach players the ropes before the competition actually begins… Which, sadly, never seems to happen.

On that basis: Are gamers today too “soft” to handle an MMO with the kind of PvP which was the norm in the M59/UOL era? By that I primarily mean tangible death consequences in the form of “exp death” and/or “full looting” appropriate to a given game’s mechanics.

TLDR Version: Is the MMO genre doomed to remain a “Sacred Haven” until the end of time?

I think there’s two answers to this question, although they are related.
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