Sunday, 23 October 2016

To Your Stations!

Having announced our first playable character - Captain Long John Silverside - last month, and with the second coming soon, we thought it we should introduce the crew actually making this thing! At this time, our crew comprises of:

  • Matthew Isteed: Graphic designer, artist, 3D modeller & animator
  • Paul Harman: AI designer & programmer
  • Ben Pritchard: Game designer, game logic developer & post-it note wrangler (we'll explain!)
It's early days yet, but we're hoping to add at least a sound/music specialist to the team as we progress.

Bullion is the first project for which we've had a dedicated artist. In fact, it's the first time we've worked on a project as a team - previous Leda Entertainment titles have tended to be almost entirely the efforts of either Ben or Paul (including the artwork), with the other helping out if/when needed. On top of this, it's also our first project in Unity, so we've had a number of organisational challenges to resolve.

Our solution (well, Ben's solution)? Cover every available surface in post-it notes.

This is relatively tame - there have been pub booth walls, train windows... pretty much every planning session has involved more post-it notes. Okay, there's trello and the like online (which we do use as well), but (according to Ben) "there's something really satisfying about being able to take down a post-it note and adding it to the 'done' pile"...

Mild obsessions aside, we've found that good communication and a "slow agile" process is keeping things under control pretty well - we meet up about once a month (excuse to go to the pub! Yay!), review where we are and plan the next month. Rinse, repeat. On top of this, we normally have a couple of one-to-one sessions per month (which generate the bulk of the post-it notes!), and anything on top of that is via email, skype etc.

Marshalling the actual game itself has also thrown up it's own challenges. Github is the weapon of choice for our developers - but we quickly learned that Unity does not play nicely when it comes to merging scene changes! Unlike code and other text files, the .unity scene files cannot be compared for differences (or at least, we've yet to find a tool that gets us round this), so it's either take version A or version B - fortunately, there;s very little crossover in these files, and good communication has meant very few problems so far...

In short - we've all had to learn a lot very quickly, but it seems to be working for us!