关于任何合作团队项目，我最喜欢的便是第一次头脑风暴会议，大家一起在黑板上写下某些内容，成员们一大声说出自己的理念和计划。在这已开发阶段，所有的一切都是可能的，这对于任何团队来说也是双刃剑般的存在。团队领导者会发现自己总是尝试着去阻止“一辆脱轨的列车”或“放猫（游戏邦注：指试图去控制 或管理 一群无法控制或者出于混乱状态的个体。代指不可能完成的任务）。更复杂的是，团队头脑风暴会遭致一些派系的形成。幸运的是也存在某些方式能够帮助制作人和游戏设计师去缓解甚至阻止这种情况的出现，即通过明确混乱局面的结构并赋予团队中的个体成员权利去传达自己的想法。
我便在我们现在的游戏项目中使用了这一方法（即一款以禁酒时期为背景的第一人称射击游戏《For the Family》）。对于游戏的每一个新架构，我都能看到来自每个团队成员的特殊贡献，这也是我一直引以为傲的东西。所以我非常推荐制作人和游戏设计师能够尝试这一方法去进行头脑风暴会议，这将推动你去设定界限，不断推动团队的发展，并且能够帮助你提出一些有效的问题，这 也是任何领域的领导者必须学会的内容。
A Method to the Madness: How to Facilitate the Brainstorming Process
by Andrew Curley
My favorite part of any collaborative team project is that first brainstorming session, watching the walls turn multicolor in a shower of sticky notes, people furiously scribbling on whiteboards as others shout out ideas and plans. Anything is possible in this stage of development, and quite often that becomes a double-edged sword for teams. Team leaders can easily find themselves trying to stop a runaway train, or herding cats, or whatever management metaphor with which you prefer to describe chaos. To make matters even more difficult, the anything-goes nature of team brainstorming can give rise to cliques and dominant personalities. Fortunately, there are ways for producers and game designers to mitigate or even prevent these dynamics from occurring, by giving structure to the chaos and empowering individuals on the team to champion their ideas, often without them even knowing it.
Setting the Stage
Brainstorming, in many ways, is like playing in a sandbox. The team is free to experiment, improvise, and dig deep into their imaginations, but every sandbox needs boundaries. For development teams working within a larger studio or company, new projects likely have some requirements dictated by upper management – the nature of the IP, the game engine, genre, budget, etc. Having a structure already in place gives the producer and game designer the definitive boundaries they need to contain the rapid exchange of ideas.
For independent projects, the team leaders must create their own boundaries to the brainstorming sandbox. I’ve found that a top-down approach works best here. Start the discussion by asking the team about their skills and broad interests – genre, tone, style – and write them down on sticky notes. The team leaders should participate in this exercise themselves, but more importantly, they must watch the situation unfold. The game designer should be looking for patterns of repeating ideas and preferences, and the producer should take note of both the dominant and reserved personalities of the group. This information is vital to the health of the team in the pre-production phase and beyond.
The project leads should time-box this discussion to thirty minutes ideally, and certainly no longer than an hour. Wrap the session up by organizing the sticky notes into correlating groups and focusing on the areas of most overlap. With any luck, the team will have arrived at a big-picture view of what kind of game they want to make.
Shrink the Sandbox
At the end of this initial session, the producer should give each member of the team an assignment to do in preparation for the next meeting. Using the newly established project framework, they must write down three game ideas, no more than two sentences each, to pitch to the team. This empowers the more reserved members of the team by giving them a platform, and it challenges the more ideaphoric members to focus and choose only their strongest pitches. But here’s the twist: when the team meets again to discuss their concepts, they are only allowed to pitch one idea. This forces each person to put their best foot forward, and only the very best ideas are up for negotiations.
During these pitches, team members in the audience can ask general clarification questions, but this is meant to be a rapid process. The producer should be writing all the ideas on a whiteboard in view of the team while the game designer facilitates the pitches, or vice-versa. After the last pitch, the team may freely discuss the ideas with the goal of arriving at a single concept, either through process of elimination or by incorporating elements of multiple ideas into something new. Suddenly, the sandbox becomes much more manageable!
Of course, since this is not a truly democratic process, certain individuals are bound to feel unrepresented in the team’s final decision for the project concept. As with the initial brainstorming session, take note of teammates who appear quiet, uninterested, or frustrated with the pitch proceedings. In the first few days after the team forms, I like to hold department meetings to get a better sense of the people I will be working with. In these meetings I ask my teammates three questions:
What are your strengths and weaknesses as an artist/level/designer/programmer/etc.?
Were there any experiences in your previous project that you’d like to repeat or avoid?
How can the game designer and myself best help you succeed?
The last question is the most important – it is the first step to building trust with your team, and the faster you can build that trust, the better your game will be.
I used this method in my current game project, For the Family, a capture-the-flag first-person-shooter set in the Prohibition Era. A level designer pitched the idea and the team rallied behind it in a single brainstorming session without any bruised egos, and we have met every milestone expectation thus far. With every new build of the game, I see the unique contributions of each of my teammates coming together to form one cohesive vision, and that is something I am very proud of. I highly recommend that producers and game designers try this approach to the brainstorming process – it will force you to set boundaries, empower your team, and ask the right questions, all essential parts to being an effective leader in any field, especially one as chaotic as gaming.(source:gamasutra)