How (and why) to develop a videogame in one month
As you may know, Ofiuco Games has been born very recently. We rose from the fusion of two previous existing projects. Consequently, we still have to fine tune the organisation. While working on our big project, ILEKUN, we have decided to take a break for few weeks and do a quick launch for a new game.
This new game is called PANG-HELLSING. It all started following some good advices which suggested to first launch small games before our big project. Every indie studio in Spain and every talk we attend suggested the same. Because we are new in the industry we have decided to follow that advice. Therefore, we opened a brainstorming session to define what kind of game we should focus in.
As a result of this brainstorming we set up several requests:
- We have only one month to release it.
- We must optimise resources
- It has to be fun and easy to play
- it has to be challenging (both for the players and for us)
- We all as a team have to use and improve our specific skills.
The result of that brainstorming brought as an arcade game mixing SuperPang and Arkanoid main mechanics. But we also wanted to set our own footprint to the game. I can’t remember right now how the idea of the vampire slayer came, but we all fell in love with it. So that was it! We had the great idea. I take this opportunity to leave my sole advice for brainstorming. Write everything down, no matter how crazy the idea looks like.
As a result, we set the deadline up and started created a GDD (game design document). This time we were defining a very short and synthetic GDD because time runs really fast. An the truth is that this “exercise” should allow us to go through every phase of a videogame production so that we can have quick wins and quick lessons learnt.
We have also decided to share with you our progress in a daily basis via twitter. So I have asked my colleagues to provide me with a daily screenshot or video every morning. And I found this point a great habit because it allow us to focus really quickly in the mornings. Consequently, everyone in the team can knwo what the rest of us is doing. This is not part of the 15 minutes SCRUM meeting, but it helps.
Another good habit we have taken in the last days is a visuall approach by using post-it and the whitebaord. In that purpose, we have stablished different colours per area:
- Green = Programming
- Blue= 2D art
- Pink= 3D Art
- Amber= Game Design
- Orange= Audio
Working in a small game has also allowed to have a detailled tasks breakdown which is not possible when you face a 2 years project. For this purpose we are using both Trello and an Excel file. The first one give us some advantages:
- Automatic alerts
- Task assignation to specific users
- Checklists inside a tasks
- Agility for modifying the information
On the contrary, Exce file is not that agile, but it allows to create metrics very easily. And there is a basic metric we (you) have to follow: remaining days.
At this regards, we tried in the past a very interesting tool called Hack&Plan. As they say, They bring game design documentation and project management together in a unique game production tool that provides a semantic way of organizing, planning and tracking the progress of your game. Probably we have to come to back to the starting point, as we started using it but we gave up. At that time we had no process flow stablished. But we realize it is a powerful tool and we are trying it back very soon.
So far so good
Besides that, in two weeks we already have the following items:
- Arcade mechanics
- Our main character final 2D art
- The main Boss final 2D art
- One main character 3D WIP
- Main Boss 3D WIP
- Stake and Crossbow 3D final art
- Procedural level creation programmed.
- 3D background WIP