The Senior Capstone class at my college (Champlain College) is set up so that after the first semester half the teams working on games are cut and added to other teams who are also working on their own games. My team was unfortunately cut however I was given an offer to work on a game called Space Dunk. The team liked the level design work I did on Korku and wanted me to do level design work for them, I accepted their offer but it got me thinking about what its like to join a new team and work on another persons creative property. I would like to use this blog post to talk about the integration process to hopefully give people in the same situation some ideas about where to start .
Meeting the Team:
The first meeting we had as a new team was very helpful, we talked about what the original members of the team wanted the new members to focus on. I had the advantage of going to class with many of the members of my new team so learning everybody’s name was easy. I asked the team to see their design documentation so that I could familiarize myself with the game systems, if I want to design good levels I need to know how the game works inside and out. After everyone was acquainted we decided to hang out as a group to get to know each other better. We went to a bar and talked for a while, it was a very friendly environment and I really recommend doing something similar to this (although it does not have to be in a bar). By meeting everyone in a non work environment it was easy to get to know each other without the pressure associated with a formal environment. The meeting was a very helpful way to get acquainted with the team and I am super excited to work with them further.
I have had experience with getting new members on a team that I have been working with. The last game I worked on was originally a team of five and grew into a team of ten. The biggest tip I can give to teams that are getting new members is to be open to changes they want to make. New members of a team are always worried about making too many changes and stepping on the original team members toes, however a new set of eyes on a project can open up doors the original team did not even think about. Even if you don’t like an idea show them that you are grateful that they are trying to help make the best game that can be made, if you make someone feel uncomfortable about speaking early on they may not bring up good ideas later in the project. When I had new members join my team last year I was worried that my vision for the game would be changed but I was pleasantly surprised with the awesome ideas they contributed to the game. Working on new teams can be a scary experience but it will help you grow as a designer and as a teammate.