For a team that's been working remotely for over 3 years now, we sure didn't put much upfront investment into our working environment. We use git to manage our source code, but our existing collaboration tools are a bit quaint: AIM for chat, email for files, and separately downloading any larger assets. For a small team that's been fine, but with a view to entering a more collaborative phase of development, it's time for an upgrade.
I researched 60+ products to find tools suitable for how we work, and while there are a lot of variants out there, in the end the simpler self-hosted open-source ones won out for us:
- Rocket.Chat for chat and group chat
- Kanboard for task management and planning
- OwnCloud for sharing docs, notes, and WIP screenshots
- git-lfs (git large file storage) for handling larger game development assets and files
Integrating these into our workday should help us keep up as the complexity of our tasks starts to increase. Honourable mentions go to Stackfield (nicely designed, but no desktop app/integrations) and HacknPlan (the best tool, but it is uncomfortable for us to share our entire business operations with a team also interested in game development. Maybe the self-hosted version someday!).
In other news, I had to update my OS to keep up with the latest CRYENGINE, set up a local development site again (good thing I keep notes), and am working through the final stages of our Linux server binary. Yak has finished our FBX importer, and is currently working on cosmetics: showing the right content in-game, out-of-game where the player can choose what to enable and get live updates, and in our backend where we decide what heroes can have which combinations of skins/attachments.
On the design front, I've picked up several books on leadership and am making my way through those to better inform my design decisions for RoW. The next RoW Design Article will explore my findings in more detail.
May I ask which leadership books you picked up and if you have any favorites?
- Team of Teams by Stanley McChrystal - a entertaining, well-anecdoted read; it describes how the US Special Forces in 2004 Iraq had to adapt to an enemy that was more decentralised and flexible than them, by becoming decentralised and flexible themselves.
- 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C Maxwell - simple and solid explanation of all the key points that contribute to leadership happening. Good to have them all in a list; especially for ones that haven't proven personally relevant for the reader yet.
There are many other books out there (including lots on personal leadership, or how to step up to the demands of a new job). These two are descriptive about the principles that facilitate leadership, which has been the most helpful for game design reference in my experience. Let me know if you check them out!