Dev Diary 34 – Give me a bucket

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Hi hacknplanners!

This new update comes with a surprise in the form of a brand new integration: Bitbucket is here! One of our most important goals is centralizing your game production data, so you have a place where you can go to check all the aspects of your game in a semantic and clear way. That’s why integrations are so important: they keep external elements organized under the context of your game; something as contextless as a commit gets a lot of meaning when it is visualized under a task that belongs to an element of your game design. With this objective in mind, we will keep working on both custom features and integrations, with the purpose of reducing and simplifying the number of tools and places a game development team need to check to keep everything under control.

We added some other improvements too, let’s get started!

Features and improvements


Bitbucket integration (Personal Plus and Studio)

You can now integrate your Bitbucket repository with HacknPlan to connect your tasks to the commits that contain the changes. This is extremely useful in order to keep track of the changes of the code in the context of your game progress. You just need to add a reference to the task identifier in the commit message using the hash symbol (something like #123), and it will be automatically synchronized and added to a tab on your task editor panel.

Note: Only Bitbucket Cloud is available for integration at the moment. The support for Bitbucket Server (on-premise) will be added in future updates.

You can take a look at our documentation site for more information about the Bitbucket integration.

Advanced design element cloning and deletion

The game design elements are, probably, the most complex data entities in HacknPlan: they can have assigned tasks, comments, attachments… But not only that; the hierarchical nature of the GDM makes each element even more complex due to the relationship with parents, children, children tasks, etc. That’s why many of you requested more control over features like cloning, so you can replicate complete features to create similar ones.

The model element cloning now supports not only the element tree but also the assigned tasks. Imagine you defined a character of your game; you created a structure with several sub-elements, documentation and all that. Then you add the tasks that will bring that character to life. However, if you wanted to clone all that structure to create a similar character, you could only clone the element tree, but not the tasks. Now, this is solved. When you clone a design element, you can decide:

  • The name of the cloned element.
  • If you want to clone the children elements or only the selected one.
  • A prefix for the name of cloned children (optional, but recommended for better identification).
  • If you want to clone the assigned tasks of the element (and the children, if cloned too).
  • A prefix for the name of cloned tasks (optional, but recommended for better identification).

Additionally, and with the purpose of having the same degree of control to delete what you created, you can now decide if you want to delete the assigned tasks when you delete a design element. If you don’t, those tasks will remain in the project, but not assigned to any design element.

Project ownership migration

Before this update, if you wanted to transfer the ownership of your project to someone else in your team (because you wanted to leave, for instance), you had to request it to support. You can now transfer the project ownership yourself from the application. Go to the Members panel on the Summary section of the project (first icon on the left menu) and click on the pencil button next to the user who will be the new owner. On the permissions dialog, click on “Transfer ownership”.

 

Important: Studio projects can’t be transferred: they belong to an organization and the owner of the organization is the owner of all the projects inside. If you want to transfer the complete organization to another user, contact support.

Other improvements

These are some other small improvements we added:

  • Most inline text edition (description, content, comments…) now supports Ctrl + S (Command + S on Mac) to save the changes.
  • When you install the demo project, there is a small tour that will guide you through the most important sections and features of the tool.

Bug fixes


  • The due date appeared gray sometimes after editing the task (patched before release).
  • The GDM section is refreshed in real time when there is more than one person working on it; however, sometimes the update caused the whole GDM to collapse, losing the exact point where you were.
  • Sometimes, the lock icon of blocked tasks remained there after being unblocked.
  • The filters on the task section of the game design element editor were not always selectable.
  • The tasks that had more than one dependency and only one was resolved got a notification saying all the dependencies were resolved, which was incorrect.
  • There were some button tooltips that did a strange flickering on mobile.

What’s next?


We will keep working on more integrations and improvements on the existing features, both for free and premium tiers. Additionally, we have been receiving a lot of feedback from you, fellow game developers, about the lack of flexibility in some aspects of HacknPlan. We want to find the right balance between flexibility and simplicity; but we also want to build something intuitive that game developers can benefit from without getting lost in configurations, add-ons and all that. We really appreciate and understand the feedback we received, and will be working in that direction in the next months: a flexible tag system will replace some fixed task fields, making task creation and edition less overwhelming; we will redesign the application in a modular way so you can enable or disable the features you need (categorization, metrics, documentation…), simplifying the tool as much as needed, along with different project presets for an easy setup. Hope you like these ideas 🙂

Happy planning!

Chris Estevez

HacknPlan Founder

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