Journal Entry, Week Seven

When I started this research analysis I already knew a little about both project planning and some game development practices, but I didn’t know small game development would be such a different animal. One thing I didn’t realize was that incredibly bad working environments can still breed successful games. I just assumed successful games would be the product of good teamwork and upper management practices and I found it odd that it even worked out at all. Some notions I held to be true before I started turned out to be accurate, like small teams work best and open communication is a strong part of the successful small game app model. Another notion I didn’t consider was how incredibly powerful and necessary marketing was to the success of so many of these companies.

There was one thing I never anticipated to see and that’s the amount of addictive features that the games are designed with intentionally. I know that they would never say they used people who specialize in behavioral psychology or that they focused their efforts on features that were morally questionable at best, but it was definitely evident in their project plans. This would explain part of their success, but it does make me slightly uncomfortable knowing that they employ these practices on unsuspecting children. My initial assumption that games are designed to be fun and the term addictive was always taken with a grain of salt, but ever since the smartphone came out, it has been decided that in order to be successful addiction was more important than game-play.

Oddly enough I never expected budgets to be so low, even from the high end gaming companies it only passed 1 million dollars a few times. Many of these games never even had one, because it was formed by a team of friends that relied on each other to complete the project. Lastly communication styles seemed to be exactly what I predicted, a majority of them used very little top down hierarchy structures, instead choosing a more molecular approach to team communication. Sharing of ideas frequently and little oversight was the highlights of most teams communication plans, but I figured that this area wouldn’t diverge much from most modern small programming teams since its just a better way to work in general. So far its been an interesting adventure with some things confirming what I already knew and others surprising me with refreshing insight into how these games come about.

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