Today I want to say something about starting a project which aims at make a game by a small and inexperienced group of people.
This entry is not too large but it’s sharing honest truth.
Do not start from…
The biggest mistake that can make a small, young and non-commercial developer is aiming at too large target. Ambitions and initial enthusiasm for work kill the project sooner or later.
I understand that everyone wants to make a game of their dreams which takes hundreds of hours to beat and months to explore.
Unfortunately, the truth is that you need luck because only one project per hundred will survive to the end. A good example can be a Polish project “Gloria Victis” (previously called “Ether Fields”). At the beginning it was only one man who built an engine and then gathered a team to complete the game. Of course, you can get much experience with this kind of project but the question is: Do you want to sacrifice a year of your life for something that would probably be cancelled? Sure, you can but there is an alternative path…
Do something small :)
The better way is to make something small but complete. You only have to have a month of time to gather few people, get them together and learn their strong and weak points. Your first game can be a puzzle, crossword, tetris-like production or whatever thing that can be finished for a month or two. The project manager and the rest of the team will get much experience and have their asses kicked (positively) before working on another, bigger project.
I want to spend my last words on the subject of people. People in your team. I know – small project needs only a small number of them but you can have a desire to recruit new members because bigger team = stronger team = better team. That is not true! Avoid this because you can burn your project from inside. Just one person that loses motivation can destroy the motivation of a whole team. Firing one man can be like throwing a grenade in the middle of a project. It is worth to find right people who want to make something like you do.
– work freely and experience new things step by step;
– set the first project as something small but doable;
– limit the number of people in your team, make them indispensable and universal;