Sheesh. Today has been a bit of a day. My team are currently working on some fairly dramatic, last minute changes to a couple of gameplay mechanics. It’s not a great situation to be in but we’re responding to some late user testing and it’s better to get this right now than not attempt it at all. Today however, it’s all come to a head and people have got fed up with scrapping to make quick changes and want clear and accurate direction.
The issue we’re facing is that these changes have thrown our (best laid) plans out the window and we’ve spent the last two weeks running around like headless chickens trying to work out what we need to do and what knock-on effects they’ll have. As a management team this is painful enough but with a full team of coders, artists and designers underneath us there’s pressure from them to get it right so they don’t end up with a load of wasted work. Clear and accurate direction is desirable, but when you’re dealing with a last minute curve ball it’s not always easy or practical to do – sometimes you do need to be iterative and sometimes that’s going to cause people some rework.
There are no easy answers really. I need to do a better job with the direction so people feel they know what the next few weeks hold but I also need to give us space to work on the new mechanics to make sure they’re as good as they can be in the time remaining. It’s going to be a case of doing a chunk of hard work trying to make sure all the tasks are captured and tracked whilst making sure the people working on them have space for some input. Not pissing too many people off in the process would be nice too.