Gaining assertive control over your teammates is the largest killer of creativity I know. I'll tell you right now I'm going to program the way I want because I know how I program best. To think some project leader could know better than me is just part of the idiotic dogma preached by corporate America.
Why exactly are you automatically more qualified than the project leader?
You are assuming this. The project leader could have 10-15 years programming experience on you, you have no idea.
Also, just because you can program does not mean that you know whats best for the development of the game
over someone who has limited programming experience but plenty of games under their belt.
"Some" project leader could be Richard Garriott and you know what he more than likely would say to people who decide
right off the bat that they know best how things should be programmed and in what order? ...Goodbye!
That would make you an unreasonable person to work with.
In fact I do believe that for Tabula Rasa he required extensive planning and set out how the code was to be
done through various meetings before anyone was even allowed to start programming. There was no "oh just
everyone do what you think is best..you're the programmer!". They got together with their team, made up a
plan, and made sure it was stuck to. They took input from the programming team of course for the planning,but
ultimately, the final decision was his to make. No one was permitted to just "change" the order of things because
they didn't feel like working on what they were assigned to do.
If you're working on a game and you decide that making hello kitty a nail salon is more important
than adding something so that hello kitty Island adventure can be run for more than 10 minutes without crashing
it doesn't take a genius to figure out you're not right for the project (you may say "ha" I would never do that..but
there are programmers and artists who would do such things and indeed do so). The project leader is designated as such
because the team, or company believes they are competent in making those decisions with or without input.
If you did not agree, you would not be working on the project I assume. You either can trust your team members
or you can't, having your back up all the time because you believe that corporate America is putting people
less intelligent than you in charge to "bring you down" isn't going to be good for anyone.
A good "project leader" will provide rational arguments for all the things he wants done. The team members will see these rational arguments and come to the same conclusion as the leader. Any other system will hurt people individualities, egos and the quality of the game.
If the project leader is a good project leader, you would have received a design document before the project was started, and
if you didn't agree to it you wouldn't have worked on the project. I see no reason why the project leader should have
to waste tons of time that could be spent developing because "programmer knows best" when "programmer agreed
to project". Yes compromises must be made, agreements must be reached but I don't believe it is right or fair
for the person put in charge to have to argue for every little thing. It seems a little counter productive.
I have worked on plenty of projects where I had no control over the game, just did what I was asked and
my creativity was in no way stifled. Creativity is not always going to be a sandbox someone throws you into and says "do what
thou wilt". Sometimes being creative means working within given boundaries, and still wowing the client or teammate.
All this being said, I only work with sane and rational people. Because of this I do not need to teach rationality to my team. Maybe your advice applies correctly if you are working with irrational people.
The title of this thread/article is "Goblins
of the game industry". I would say that dealing with irrational people (or how to avoid problems from irrational people) is one of the major points of the article? If not the point entirely?
It easy to say you only work with sane and rational people, but people change under stress, people buckle, people break.
Assuming that everyone you work with will always be awesome and co-operative is a nice fantasy...but it is just that..fantasy.