An overview on the responsibilities of a team project leader.

  • Neok
  • 07/14/2008 12:00 AM
I've always been a lone gunner when it comes to game-making, but I can agree that having more than one person working on your project is going to be more ideal than doing it solo. But at the same time, if you, or your teammates aren't prepared to work together on this, well that could potentially create a whole new set of problems. I like to look at it from two perspectives: As a team leader (the one who's project everyone else is helping with), and follower (the one who is helping someone else on a project not their own).

As a team leader, its your responsibility to divide up the tasks and ensure that the team stays focused and doesn't slack off. You're still going to have to do the brunt of the work, and if any mishaps happen, say a crucial part of the project gets corrupted, or a team member mysteriously vanishes, then its up to you to deal with it. You're also going to have to be prepared to exert your authority, even if that means getting on the bad side of your teammates. Also, when you're a leader, you've got a much greater responsibility towards your project. Meaning, if you lose it, or give up on it partway through, the repercussions will be vastly greater than if you had been working alone the entire time.

As a follower, you have a lot less responsibilities, and are generally tasked to do what you're good at. The great thing about being one, is that you only have to do your thing, and if all goes well, you've got your name on a really great game, and you only had to do a tenth of the usual work to make it there. The bad thing though, is that generally, you're unlikely to have too much say in the direction of the project (though that depends a lot on the leader). And chances are, its not going to be your project that's getting worked on, but someone elses. Also, you better make sure that your leader is someone worth following. If your leader loses the project, or just decides to give up on it, all your hard-work goes with it (not to say that you can't transfer it to another project, the point is, that work was meant to be used for your leader's project, and now that's not going to happen).

So you see, putting a team together isn't a simple matter of "You do this, I do that, put it together, voila!". You have to be able to manage people, and be prepared for the possibility of doing distasteful things to ensure your vision is met. It can go very well, but it can also go very poorly, and you may end up worse off than if you had just decided to solo it.

Anyways, if you're still insistent on building a team to help you do your project, here's some things to keep in mind:
- You'll be more likely to get a better turn-out if you're popular, or you have a good track record. Meaning, you've either got friends who'll help you out, or people are interested in your project enough to lend a hand. If you've completed projects before, that goes a long way to building your credentials (and will also teach you a lot about what you can or can't do).
- If the project goes under, you'll lose ALL of your credentials (even if its not your fault), and will have to go through quite a bit to get people to trust you enough to help you on your projects again.
- In the end, you're the one responsible for everything, and you'll be the one who has to bite the bullet and do all the dirty work. This also means that you should be prepared to take care of anything that may happen, whether its taking over a vanished member's work, or keeping everything backed up in case a harddrive failure occurs.

My advice? If you haven't already yet, build and finish a small project first, so that you'll both, know a lot more about what to do and not do, and to use your completed project to establish your credentials as someone who can actually finish a game (even if its a small one).