What are some of the skills/lessons you have learned since you first started working in game dev that you are the most proud of? And which skills/lessons have benefited you the most?

I’ve probably learned enough lessons over the course of my career to write an entire book, and then some. In fact, thanks to your question I think I might try writing a series of “lessons learned” posts when the fancy strikes me. Today, I will answer both of your questions with the same lesson:

Everybody - player, artist, designer, engineer, QA, musician, writer, director, producer, executive, publisher, marketer, brand manager, influencer, interviewer, whatever - has a different perspective and different needs. If you want their buy-in, you need to show them the value in what you’re proposing and you need to do so in a way they understand.

The same general principle applies across the board. Over the course of your career, you will need to convince others to agree with your line of thinking. You might need to show a player how the content you’re creating is something they’ll enjoy. You might need to explain to your lead why your chosen plan is a good one. You might need to persuade a brand manager why your ideas will work with the license. You might need to convey the specifics of a character to the character artist so they can figure out the visuals for that character. You might need to convince an interviewer that you’re the right person to hire for the job.

Each of these people is looking for something of value to them within the context of the situation. Sometimes it is just about explaining the situation to them in a way that they understand, like how I often rely on using visual aids and diagrams to explain concepts at meetings to help the artists, producers, QA etc. understand the issues I am solving so they recognize it as a problem that needs solving. Sometimes it is about persuading the decisionmaker (e.g. a player, a licensor, or an interviewer) that your proposal is the best one. In those situations, you need to figure out what your audience wants and the best framing for how your proposal hits those notes. The better you are at figuring out how to do so and presenting it in a way that the audience understands, the more likely that you’ll succeed in getting their buy-in.

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