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Game Developer Flashcards: The Gamasutra Community Edition
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Game Developer Flashcards: The Gamasutra Community Edition

September 24, 2012 Article Start Page 1 of 3 Next

In August, Epic Games design director Cliff Bleszinski submitted a list of "game developer flashcards" to Gamasutra -- a taxonomy of personalities and situations he's encountered over the course of his 20 year career.

"I've learned that while developers are incredibly intelligent, they can sometimes be a bit insecure about how smart they are compared to their peers," Bleszinski wrote. "In short, this article identifies communication techniques that are often used in discussions, arguments, and debates among game developers in order to 'win' said conversations."

The article garnered a tremendous response -- 71 comments, as of this writing -- and after taking a look at them, we decided to round up the best into a second installment of the article. Below, you'll find a second set of "flashcards" contributed by the community, with fresh illustrations by Juan Ramirez, who provided the art for Bleszinski's original article.

Your Design Chocolate is in My Art Peanut Butter. When an artist is disagreeable to incorporate a meaningful player feedback device, such as a visible wall or some other element, because they fear its incorporation will upset the visual composition of their work -- even though both in concert should result in a superior gameplay experience. - Ara Shirinian

Agile in Name Only. The producer who misuses Agile terminology, but never uses Agile development. The project ends up with a traditional waterfall dev cycle, but everything is horribly mislabeled. - Matthew Henry

The Do Nuthin'. Someone on the team that does nothing other than pass along your reports. - Aaron Cassillas

That's Not What [Blank] Is! A designer who would disagree with a non-Newtonian gravity mechanic because that's not what gravity is. - Matthew Downey

Trust Me, I'm the ____. When an artist, programmer, or designer uses their superior knowledge within their own field to avoid adding an element that may grow the scope within their department. - Tyler Coleman

The Box Dweller. Someone who immediately dismisses an idea because it wouldn't work within some other (often easily changeable) current constraint in the game.

Example: "We could never let you throw more than one grenade! The explosion overdraw would kill the framerate!" - Aaron San Filippo

Responses to Cliff

Some of the comments, of course, built directly upon concepts introduced in the original article. The following four, in fact, describe personalities -- and their techniques -- that specifically counter some of Bleszinski's examples.

Dying on that Sword. The dev who refuses to back an idea, no matter what. Passively (or actively) works to prevent its success, even when the rest of the team is moving forward. Is often a response to ideas from The Prophet or The Gardener. - Curtiss Murphy

The Pesticide. The person who did not like The Gardener's idea in its earlier stages, and will now do anything they can to keep it out. - Tyler Coleman

The Anti-Prophet. The evil opposite of The Prophet who simply knows -- but has no reasons -- the idea won't work. If you ask why, (s)he'll reply with "You didn't think it through enough," when the truth is (s)he hasn't thought it through at all. - Matthew Henry

General Patton. The opposite of Analysis Paralysis. "A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week." Though it's always good to think things through, too much thinking can be harmful. It's good to ask yourself: "Am I thinking about this aspect too much/little?" - Jan Stec

The Puppet. This particular developer has a role with responsibility to the game, but allows him or herself to be pushed around by people above them (who haven't played a game since Minesweeper.)

Their team implements designs that no one agrees are even the slightest bit decent. Sometimes they've got a hand so far up their ass the design team can't even suggest alterations to improve an idea without getting snapped at. - Sean Watson

Article Start Page 1 of 3 Next

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