Thursday, November 3, 2011


The followings are notes on all of the talks that I attended that I found important or interesting. In bold are the ideas that were discussed, and it follows with impressions and my interpretation of what they mean or represent to me. Please feel free to add or edit anything in here, or comment to make this a better understanding of keypoints of what it takes to be a good leader and awareness in becoming a better asset to the company.

Strive for perfection.
Always take pride in what you do, it is your work and it reflects you and the company. Follow what motivates you! And do it for yourself. It might be really understated the reminder to strive for perfection, but as artists and in the game industry we want to deliver an experience that is entertaining, visually pleasing and fun! All of this comes through our experience, and that experience comes from our motivation to make awesome and great games.

To have the curiosity to learn new tools, techniques and skills that makes us better at what we do. With our hard work we can inspire the team to achieve greatness. Influence the team by allowing them to see the game come together. That as a team you review the game and give out ideas in other disciplines as well. Don't be secluded to only your discipline, it will confine the game and it won't reach its potential. After all, we are all working together to make a game. Remember that your work reflects you as an individual and the company.


-Friends, Educators, Family
Inspiration comes in many ways, and are perceived differently by each of us. But it is equally important that we know where we find it, and to always be in the look out for it. Whether its a tutorial, or a movie, a good book, all of these ideas are what define our drive and clear our path to make great art in a video game.

We leaders need to be devoted and hard working people. We have to be selective on what we work on and who we work with. Knowing who you work with is really important, knowing their drive and work style. When you take this into consideration then you can plan schedules more efficiently and make sure people are working on things that they enjoy and will make the best with their efforts. But encourage people to expand their horizons and explore new things.

When facing a problem we look for solutions, and if we can't find one we make a solution with hard work and research. Understanding, Purity and Passion are keywords that define inspiration or where I find feelings that drive me to strive for greatness.

Always look at other peoples work. Learn from what they do and always be open listening to their experience. Ask questions. Devote yourself to the team and the project at hand, always making sure that you are moving forward towards the goal that is completion.

Not only is this open in the workplace, but understand that we live in a community, and we can learn from a lot of people. Get new ideas from other areas and to always look at the world with curious eyes. The world out there wants to be understood and explored, and just like our work, it grows and evolves with our attention to detail and hardworking mindset.

When you look at other people grow with your through work you get a sense of inspiration. Trying to become better yourself to not let the game and the rest of the team down. Polish your ideas and try to get a sense of what works best. There is a lot in this area that we should be aware, and always recognize other peoples work. Which brings me to the next point.


To be a good lead you need to earn respect through example. By making mostly right decisions that earn the trust of the team.

Scope control.
Collaboratively defining a Bad-ass Subjective Shifting Unknown. - job of the Art Director or Art Lead.

In the beginning things in a project are very blurry. Lots of unknowns, and most areas of discipline tend to overlap. It is the leader responsibility to make sure there is no line separating areas of the game, that all disciplines merge together and work together in harmony and that people have a sense of ownership.

When we work outside of our discipline we make sure that we are aware of other aspects that the game needs. The experience in the game is more rich, and therefore the game will be better. Also, you'll be more aware of the needs of the project and you will gain a lot of experience from it, making you more versatile and allowing you to influence the direction of the game.

We need to plan things out and react better to improve decisions made or problems that we face on the journey that is game development. Remember that iterations of something eat time. But with iteration we find polish and balance. We need to educate the team with the Goals of the project. I can't emphasize this enough. It is really important to make sure that the team is in the same wavelength. Understand the needs, the scope and time frame of the project so that people are not indulging in tools and tasks that might not be benefiting the project and only costing us precious time. Identify is really important, and always check for peoples impressions, we need to adapt to these, change and improve upon this feedback. With that said, focus on the core elements, get them right. Iterate and find balance and then polish on them. There is always time for polish, and if you build on that mindset you will find a better game experience overall and a solid product.

Things that need to take priority is the experience that the player has with the game. Is it fun? If its not fun, then how do we make it fun? And as a rule of thumb know that Design will always drive the game, not art or code. Design dictates if the game is fun to play, and art and code support both design and ultimately the game.


Focus on tech and tools.
This is really important. We need to build on our tools to make them better, and aid everyone (and I mean all disciplines) in the process of development to make things better and easier. If we have a tool that works it increases our production. It also means that we have a better and more clear understanding of the tech and therefore be able to produce better games using them. Tools compensate for manpower. Better tools means we don't have to use brute force to accomplish something, which then helps us make better schedules to use the assets at our disposal in a smart way.

Review work in-game, peer reviews, style sheets and documentation are really important to preserve consistency and substance in the work being done. Make sure that everything is documented so that people don't waste time asking questions that they can answer themselves through them. If artists have a clear idea, style and understanding of the objectives then the art will come together in a seamless way.

Artists need to have a tech heart. They need to get into the habit of understanding the tools that they use within the game. If we learn this then we can produce better work for such engine, or game sequence. If we don't work tends to become sloppy, and has to be revised a lot more often. So keep a tight ship, and know that ship so that you can exploit what it can do to the fullest.

We need to be passionate about the games that we make, but we need to be objective to the needs and listen to the team. This will bring the work to a new level that has better communication and less confusion. Specially when we are working with publishers and their needs.

Crystal clear, there needs to be boundaries and liberties, and being very specific about them will allow people to be more creative within the scope of a project and within the studio. If we are clear from the start, then we can make sure no time is wasted.

If something doesn't work we don't give up. We look for solutions, if no solution is available we understand the problem and make a solution. If a whole level doesn't work then we take it down, dissect it, take what works and rebuild it so that it works. Being persistent doesn't mean stubborn. We have to let go of our attachment to work and make sure that we are delivering something that is worthwhile. If we can do this, we grow a lot more and we can learn from it, giving us tools and skills that will always be there at our disposal.

People need to be comfortable with the work and the people around them. This brings motivation and it allows for creative freedom that makes better work.

Always respect the workplace, the people around you and the game. Everyone is different and sometimes see things in a different light. We should always listen, but we should be aware that there are decisions that have to be made, and knowing when to draw a line is really important as a lead. Doing so in a respectful ways will earn the trust of your teammates, and this will let the project keep moving forward.

Like I mentioned before, trust is really important. People need to believe in the progress and direction of the work. You want to make sure people are honest and you can trust in them to accomplish a task. To know the strengths and weaknesses so that you can work on them to make yourself a better asset, and help those around you by teaching or sharing experience with them.

Along the same lines of trust.

Allow people to have one on one conversations. Allowing information to flow, and ideas to reach other people. We are making a game together, and there should be a free flow of information. This more often that not helps innovation and evolution of projects.

Making sure that people work together, and the right people are working with each other makes for better production. People need to be on the same page and have the same mindset so that we are well aware of the needs and demands of a project. This will bring less surprises and less conflict. Unity is what gets a game done.

Love for the company and for the project. There needs to be a passion to create great things. We need to work towards a common goal and grow with it. Do our research and ignite that curiosity that makes us grow as individuals and as a team.

~Overall be smart and keep to the principle that games should be fun, and that everyone involved in the development of it works towards that same goal. Even when we have separate disciplines in the development cycle that should not stop us from being curious and exploring them. An artist that posses more knowledge on the process will become a better asset and stronger artist. Learn to read code when necessary, understand tools and teach them. Education is what makes teams stronger, and sharing that knowledge will benefit everyone in the long run.

Things to consider in the workplace and for the company in general.

Know your co-founders, it is the foundation and mindset of what to expect in the workplace.
This is pretty straight forward, we need to understand and realize who we work for. Be involved to invoke the community awareness within the company. Understanding who we work for and the mission statement and such help increase the motivation that people have within the studio. Making sure that you agree and feel drawn to the foundation will make sure you are happy within the studio.

Always check references when hiring.
Not only do we have to follow up on references, but we have to do our homework and make sure that the potential candidate has what it takes in his/her field, but also to be a match to the goal that we have. Making sure that only people that are motivated and bring a lot to the table with their personality, and not someone that creates conflict and has a hard time following direction, or work with the team towards the same goal of making a game. In a few words, someone that can work in a team, gets along with everyone and can produce more than being just a distraction. There needs to be discipline and the curiosity to work and strive for perfection.

Make the office feel like home.         
People spend most of the day at the office, making the place comfortable will ensure that they are more productive, and that they are happy to come to work. Treat people well, and always ask for their opinion. Making games is FUN! So should the environment.

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