I might be exaggerating a bit here, but if I’d had to list the three factors that have caused most of the problems (and also have made the project possible!) during the Edoiki game development I’d say: people, people and people. It’s not so much other people, but the balance that team (including stubborn producers) must find and the things that happen in people’s lives.
Pretty much every technical problem can be solved one way or another (since they aren’t emotional problems) but the moment you put more than one developer in the same room, you can rest assured that there will be problems to solve.
I say “problems”, but I must point out that while people are perhaps one of the main reason for problems – they are also pretty much the main reason for solutions. I’ve been working with a great Edoiki team from where everything has been solved so far. This couldn’t have happened without great people (I’m not referring to myself here).
Indie game teams face the risk of losing team members (I’m referring to what happened yesterday) that can have big impact on the project, and since indies often cannot work with limited budget (we do this because of passion, not only for the profit) it’s a risk one should take care of. I didn’t see this coming, but I’m thankful for Michael for letting me know at this point. It would have made things even worse if I hadn’t heard about his situation now but months later.
I’ve been praising that producers won’t need game art in the beginning of the project, and I believe that’s still true today. You may easily use placeholders to prototype. What I would like to add is that even though you don’t need game art in the beginning, you have to find the right people in the very beginning who are going to work as long as possible: hopefully the whole project. Hiring and “firing” people takes time and effort, and would need to be minimized.
It’s the people factor that counts most.