Humility as the key to success -- Game dev


Staff member
Proud Citizen of Dawn

Now that I've been leading game development teams that are sourced from the internet from mostly volunteers I feel something important needs to be said.

Game development is a difficult and complicated discipline.

Modern games can cost as much as $300,000,000 to create and take as much as a decade or more to make.

To put that into context, the Falcon 9 rocket from Space X costs 62 million dollars.

Most of the games that you might have played today are made by top tier engineers with decades of experience.

We can often think it's easy simply because we hear about games that are created by one or two people. We don't often realize that these are the exceptions and that thousands of games that attempt to do what those people did failed.

To be successful in this field I really believe that you have to have a respect for the difficulty of the discipline and humility to learn from those who know more than you.

We have some wonderful mentors in our community and they have taught us an incredible amount but it can often be difficult to keep quiet as they absolutely destroy deeply held beliefs and practical designs which we spent hundreds of hours making.

It can feel like a personal attack when something you worked on so hard it is exposed to be as bad as it really is. What's important is the flexibility to learn and grow and to know that when you feel that pain it's a good thing and not a bad thing.

So how do you know who to listen to?

Because a lot of gamers are watching YouTube videos on game development these days they can often think themselves experts in whatever field they've been arduously studying. In reality practical experience is much more valuable than everything you can get out of a YouTube video or learn from a book.

Listen to those who have published games and have experience in their field bringing products to market.

The best way to learn from these people is to keep your mouth shut. Let them talk, let them bring the goodies from their storehouse of ideas and don't cut them off. Listening is really important.

Age really matters also. In fact age, more than education or experience is the number one collated factor with success on our team. If you are 20, don’t speak more than 10% of the time. 30, 15%. etc. That’s my rule of thumb.

Another very important thing is to treat ideas lightly.

Ideas are like eggs if you push them too hard they're going to break and unfortunately they'll break teams also. Being flexible is really important to being on a team and if you have an idea that you feel is important the best way to see your ideas succeed is to give it space and to give it time. Don’t push it.

Another important thing when working on a team is to understand the huge difference in difficulty in the different disciplines within the team. You may be an expert in a particular field but whenever you comment on another field it's really helpful to preface what you're saying with “I am not in (FIELD NAME) but…”.

This will help give voice to those who are experts well reminding you that you might not know everything that you think you know and that particular field.