Design & Style, Sports & Gaming

Leadership and Collaboration

Will Wright

Lesson time 09:25 min

The lead designer sets the tone for the rest of the team and helps ensure a smooth production process. Learn Will’s leadership techniques and why he believes that creating a collaborative environment is so important.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Integrate Ideas From Your Team • Collaborate With Living Digital Documents • Embrace Criticism • Look for Outspoken Collaborators


A design leader on a team can take a number of different roles. You know, they can start the vision for a design. This is where I think we should go. They can be the one initially pitching the team members. You know, hey, doesn't this sound cool? Don't you want to come build this with me? At some point, you know, I think if things are running kind of nicely, you know, that's when I start feeling like a traffic cop. I'm like, you know, all the ideas are pretty good. And it's more just a matter of saying, you know, let's do that one now and this one later. Let's give these two-- let's build a prototype for that. You know, it's more a matter of that. Sometimes you do have to get dictatorial, you know, and you have to just kind of put your foot down. A lot of times you'll get stuck in this kind of standoff, stalemate, and you just have to make a decision. And that's where you just have to go with your gut, your intuition, and your instinct, and say, OK, look, I'm just going to resolve this now. You try to avoid that if you can. But at the same time, you're also-- you're not just leading the design of your product. But you're leading the process of your design team. You know, you're telling your design team, OK, look, this is how I want us to resolve disputes. Or this is how I want us to make creative decisions. And so you basically establish a process, or an etiquette, some kind of rules of the road for how these design decisions can get made, how you want them to work on your team, and what you want the team's basically philosophy to be for design. You know, I've always wanted to have design spread out through the entire team, if possible. And so that's a philosophy that you try to instill in the team. So I think that's probably one of the more important roles the designer plays that's kind of separate from the actual product. I've been talking about kind of like the design team, you know, almost like it's separate from the rest of the team, which it's not. And, you know, on a lot of the larger games I've worked on, you know, we had several people who were purely designers. But yet, everybody on the team was contributing to the design. You know, all the way down at some level any idea could bubble up from anywhere. So really, ideally, you want to start actually distributing a lot of the design tasks through the entire team. Because somebody working down here on the sound system, or that guy on the graphics system might have some really creative ideas. And they probably know a lot more about the way that thing actually works, and what you could do with it than you, as a designer, might know. As a designer you want to have a rough idea of the way all these things work. But you're not going to have necessarily the specialized knowledge of the way that particular cell shader works. Or something like that. Ideally, you want to find the design talent within your team. Learn to rely on it. You know, basically make it visible...

About the Instructor

Learn the art and science of game design with Will Wright, the mind behind SimCity and The Sims. In this game design class, Will teaches you how to create games that empower players and unleash their imagination. You’ll develop a tool set for understanding player psychology, as well as learn Will’s approach to generating and pitching ideas, prototyping, playtesting, and building a community.

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Will Wright

Collaboration, prototyping, playtesting. The Sims creator Will Wright breaks down his process for designing games that unleash player creativity.

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