February 2011
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Day 02/01/2011

What Makes a Design Team a Team?

Game design is an endeavor that becomes more fun and more effective with a team, yet good collaborative environments seem relatively rare. That’s unfortunate. I think approaching design as a team sport can have a big positive impact on design quality.

Our company has one of the largest dedicated game design/development departments in the business. A chunk of them sit in an open cube area called ‘The Pit.’ These cubes don’t have walls, and in the center of the area is an open gaming space. Designers move freely between their workstations and the center tables. Frequently someone will call out “Anyone available to help try out this new build?” Usually several people will step up. The company culture rewards open debate, argument, and brainstorming. People feel comfortable being open with their thoughts, and aren’t afraid of being pilloried for dumb ideas. I believe this culture of collaboration is extremely powerful and very rare in game design and other creative fields.