I own a small web dev shop, and in our down time, I plan on having my guys work on a game (I will be paying them anyway, right?). A few buddies and I started talking about this game, and have been going through the motions of talking/designing it out.

Only problem we are at an impasse, and can't seem to get passed it. The vote is at 50/50%. Compromising hasn't worked.

I have though about just making an executive decision since I am funding the development/design of the game, but I don't want to lose my friends support for the game, and their other opinions.

I don't know what to do.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ If half want to go one way, and half the other way, why not let them go their separate ways? Develop two prototypes and if the team is still split by then, the prototypes will help everyone decide which way is best. It might not even get to that stage, especially if you encourage the devs to work on either or both. \$\endgroup\$
    – MatthewD
    Commented Oct 15, 2010 at 23:25

3 Answers 3


Building games by committee is a bad idea, you end up with all the ideas watered down or not implemented correctly.

From the beginning you should have put yourself in the "Lead Designer" position, but now I think it could be a bit late for that.

You should start by having them work on some different 1 or 2 day prototypes to get some of the base gameplay down and then go from there. A lot of ideas that sound bad or too complicated on paper are actually really fun.

Have each group break off and make a small prototype to test the ideas. Then you have something tangeable to compare, instead of most likely poorly communicated ideas.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ In university I was forced to work in teams with up to seven people, and do commitee style stuff. \$\endgroup\$
    – speeder
    Commented Oct 11, 2010 at 21:46
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ The result is lots of conflicts, crap game, and lost friends. Even if they whine, it is much better to assign each person a leadership role in something they can lead. In my last project, we only managed to stop conflicts after nominating someone as art director, since this was the major reason for conflict, and since I was the programmer, I plainly would override other people decisions in game design when I felt the need to. But the commitee decisions were still clear to the teachers, and we lost 20% of our grade for that. \$\endgroup\$
    – speeder
    Commented Oct 11, 2010 at 21:48

Really depends on how central this issue is to the gameplay and how quickly you can get the two options up and running.

Big Central Issue

If you are talking something central, like half the team wants to make an FPS and the other half an RTS then there are no easy solutions. Look at the space you are going to be releasing the game in (web/phone/...) and go with the one that's more commercially viable if you plan on selling it.

Easy to prototype issue

If the problem is small and can be easily prototyped you can at least try both versions out. Unfortunately if there isn't a very clear winner in the prototyping it will suffer from confirmation bias and both sides will still think their side is right.

Avoiding in the future

You need to get out of the design by committee mindset, as mentioned by AttackingHobo, it's not conducive to making quick or coherent decisions. Unfortunately if no one of the team has experience making games it can be difficult to get everyone to follow one person since everyone thinks they can be a designer.

While you are learning the game development process I would suggest looking at other games similar to what you want to make for a lot of solutions. While you don't want to just make a carbon copy of an existing title you only need 1 solid new feature to differentiate your game. Outside of that core feature just copy what the market leader for your genre is doing. You'll learn a lot about what they are doing right and it's easy to justify a design decision by pointing at a successful title and saying we are doing it just like that.


Game design is an empirical science. Not even the world's best designers can design in their head. Slap together a prototype and try it out. In about five minutes of playing the game, you'll be able to tell if the idea works or not.


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