Game Development Reference
Once it's known, intent must be communicated clearly. Unfortunately,
the phrase, “That isn't what I wanted,” is heard far too often in game devel-
opment. What happened was the worker didn't understand the intent, so
he couldn't fulfill it. Communicating intent without micromanaging is a
skill that requires attention and practice. It takes effort to understand and
express the purpose behind a request instead of just telling people exactly
what to do.
Subordinates must communicate SUMMARIES of newly gained
knowledge upward to leaders.
Leaders iterate, too. They don't iterate on single levels or mechanics,
but they do iterate on level progressions, plot structures, or market posi-
tioning. And just like everyone else, in order to iterate they need to know
the results of their decisions. They don't need the details of exact moment-
by-moment pacing or individual gameplay decisions. Rather, they need
condensed summaries of high-level lessons that should feed back into the
broader structure of the game. If one key game system just isn't working,
they need to know. If playtesters are getting attached to a minor character
in one level, they need to know, because these kinds of results can motivate
changes in the broad structure of the game.
In a team with clear, condensed intent going downward and summa-
ries going upward, everybody knows everything he needs to know and no
more, and decisions are made by the people with the most relevant knowl-
edge and thus the natural authority over them. The leader doesn't have to
be everywhere and solve every problem, but development is still purpose-
ful and structured. Everyone iterates on his piece—the leader on broad
strokes, the workers on the details within those strokes. With everybody's
knowledge being applied so efficiently, you don't need genius developers
to make an outstanding game.
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