Week 7 - Joining a New Team
Integrating with the Team
Normally in our production classes at Champlain, all of the teams are new for each project. Once my team was cut, this was the first time besides sports when I was joining a pre existing team. While I had worked with some of the members previously on different projects, joining the team was still a little nerve-wracking. Every team has their own dynamic and with 10 members all on the same team--5 old and 5 new--nobody knew how we would integrate.
Luckily, everyone on Team Perfect 10 has been really concerned about being a good teammate, working hard to support each other through constant communication and create a great game. With those common goals, it has been easy to work together although we sometimes have disagreements in the development process. When these arise, we each discuss our concerns, the reasoning behind our decisions, and what we can do to move forward. With this process, the dynamic stays professional and friendly and we all better understand each other in the end.
As soon as we got into our new teams, we started the on-boarding process. Team Perfect 10 had few documents describing the pipeline and their conventions, but did have a general design document that we used to become familiar with Gaze of the Abyss. After meeting with the lead team to discuss the current state of the game and understand the core vision that they want, the other two designers and I spent much of the first week deciding the direction of the game. We knew we wanted the game to focus on environmental horror and coop puzzles. With this in mind, we narrowed the vision and designed the mechanics around the asymmetrical gameplay and the levels around fear.
Moving Forward - Things to Remember When Joining New Teams
Joining a new team is much different than people joining your team. When people join your team, you still have a core group that you are familiar and comfortable working with. When joining a new team, you are coming into a completely new environment with a group that already knows each other’s habits and work patterns. I consider myself an easy person to work with, so I rarely come into problems when working with new people but it is still good to keep to general habits to integrate into a new team.
When joining a new team, it is important to get to know each person individually as well as how they function as a team. The best way to do this is having lots of in-person meetings as well as keeping constant communication. This helps to show how people themselves communicate, what they value in their work, and their thought processes. Also, jokes and memes arise and one of the easiest ways to get to know someone is through their humor. It is a great way to connect and become friends, keeping the project fun to work on because you like who you are working with.
Although these are not the only methods for integrating into a new team, they are the ones that I start with. Gaining personal connections leads to trust and when you trust who you work with, you not only become excited to work with them and on the project, but you gain lifelong relationships and a large network of friends that can help each other out in the gaming industry.