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  • Writer's pictureWalter Hill

The Unknown Dangers of Scaling Up

This past Friday was the big day. My team presented our work from the past two weeks to the entire Production 2 cohort. Last night, representatives from our section had a discussion about which games would go forward for the rest of the semester. After the talk it was determined that Reboot would be one of the two games to move forward. To say I was excited would be to understate things. I told everyone who cared, and probably a few people who didn't, that my team's game would live to fight another day.

But after the celebration and elation, I was left with a nagging question. Because our class is going forward with two games total, (trimmed down from a set of five) our small team of four is going to be growing a whole lot really quickly. We will likely double in size. I've been left wondering what this will mean both for our team dynamic and our game itself. Consider this post talking it out. I want to ask the questions now, and hopefully, I will find/learn the answers as I go along.

To start things off, I've never worked a game that scaled up at any point during its development cycle. This is uncharted territory for me, and that unfamiliar space is part of why I took the Production 2 course in the first place. How will scaling up affect our team's dynamic? Will we have a harder time communicating? Will we lose that intangible something that got us this far with a minimum of interpersonal friction?

My three teammates and I have discussed not only our desire to keep our current team dynamic, but we've also discussed wanting to scale up that team dynamic and culture with whoever we add to the team. We've acknowledged that we'll have to scale up our team culture just like we'll have to scale up our team's logistics and development pipelines, and that without both, our game might not reach its full potential.

How do we manage the workflows and work schedules of roughly twice as many people? How do we ensure that each aspect of the game from design to programming to art is being produced to specification across a team with multiple people in every department. How do we facilitate a workflow that allows for all team members to feel inspired to express themselves in the work of their craft instead of just checking off tasks?

These questions are some of the more difficult ones, and they are unlikely to be solved after week one with our bigger production team. These questions will require answers, input, and honest feedback from every member of the team. They are daunting questions, but they don't have to be answered alone.

I'm not quite sure what the future holds for Reboot, but I do know the boat is about to get a whole lot bigger. Here's to hopping we can learn to steer it as a effective team.

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