Three Tips on Game Design From Area 51’s Jim Stiefelmaier

area 51 ps2 review 1 sESERs

Jim Stiefelmaier, known for his work on the Gex series before getting involved in the PS2/Xbox version of Area 51 and the sequel Area 51:Blacksite, shares some tips for anyone looking to build a team to make a video game.

1: Surround yourself with excellence and surrender to it. Too often I creatively fought with the core team directors, especially over trivial matters. Over the years, I have learned to only work with the best, committed teams and when you disagree with them, unless it directly violates a core pillar of the game (and very, very, few issues do), to trust in your teammates and let them run with it. As our industry matures, I find the very best in the game business aren’t unilateral dictators, but world-class collaborators. 

2: If you wake up and don’t want to come into work, something is very wrong. If this persists, find another project to work on. Life is short, you need to be passionate and 100 percent engaged, and if you aren’t – then you are wasting precious time. 

3: Don’t underestimate the difficulty and value of fostering a creative culture. We drank together, we played games together, we ate together. When tragedy struck, the team cared for each other. This culture was not created by accident but was the direct result of the team leads spending significant time on team-building efforts and countless hours interviewing and hiring teammates that were an excellent cultural fit. If the leads weren’t 100% engaged, then they wouldn’t have built such an amazing team. Amazing teams build amazing games.

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