Developer advises: Don’t listen to developers

David Noonan comments:

That’s the curse of being a game designer—you see so many versions of things that sometimes you can’t remember which things actually see print, in which books, and under which names. If a game designer answers a rules question of the top of his or her head, be a little suspicious. Those heads are crammed with previous versions, playtest versions, and Versions That Should Not Be.

This makes sense to me. At work, once a project is inexorably out of my hands, I sometimes flush it from my mind so that I do not worry about what changes six people down the line are going to make; if I am asked for input later, I can recycle those synapses. Other times, I am the mental archivist who explains that we did that project two years ago under another name, or we changed it half-way through and they are thinking of the old version, or we have yet update the documentation to reflect reality, or…

When you hear a dev make an off-hand comment, he may be thinking of any version of the game starting in pre-beta up through things on internal test, planned for the future, or designed and then scrapped. They may have a different internal name for whatever it is or use some hodgepodge of technical meanings. Really, they are trying to give you the right answer, but you may want to double-check in a more structured environment.

: Zubon

2 thoughts on “Developer advises: Don’t listen to developers”

  1. IME it’s often the powergamers who have the right answer as to how the game actually works – the item you’re asking about may be buggy, and only the people who’ve reverse-engineered it have the right answer.

  2. On one project I was on the project manager came to me and told me to stop answering questions :) I was the go-to guy and used to have all the answers, but one team was working a newer version and I didn’t really know the differences, and so I got some wrong and that’s when people notices “hey what’s he talking about?”
    We finally found this great requirements tracking tool, it had version control, interfaced with just about everything. Then used it half the time.

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