This game is the first experience for me to work as the director on a project. I’ve discovered a good analogy to the feeling – being the captain of a warship. Your programmers are the gunners, your artists are the sailors, and the director is the captain.
A great programmer / gunner can do a lot of damage to the enemy with well-placed, accurate shots. A bad programmer / gunner can sink your own ship if you don’t court-marshal him in time.
Great artists / sailors can get you to your destination even through strong winds. Bad sailors can set you off course and make the programmer miss and make you late to your destination.
The captain is the most important – a simple decision early on about which ship to attack can win or lose the war, no matter what the gunners and sailors do. Picking the right crew is paramount, as in throwing overboard those who can’t manage on the ship.
I also understand now why directors / CEOs make so much money. It’s not that they provide that much more value, but the cost of failure is so great it’s worthwhile to pay 10X more for someone who is 10% better. It’s the same reason why lawyers make so much money. You’re not going to bargain hunt a $100 an hour lawyer over a $500 an hour one if failure means you go out of business or go to jail.
Just to illustrate the magnitude of the effect small decisions can make.
Good decisions I’ve made
Used Ogre: Saved about 40K and 3 months
Used FMOD: Saved about 5K and one month
Used Aria for billing, instead of writing my own solution: Saved the company
Setting up billing 4 months early: Saved the company (it didn’t get finalized until last week!)
Base decisions I’ve made
Used oFusion: Cost about 10K and one month
Used CEGUI: Cost about 2K and one week
Hired from India: Cost about 30K and 4 months
If you had somebody with the power to make decisions that important, money isn’t really an issue.