One year ago today, the first version of HacknPlan was launched. I remember this post on Reddit asking the gamedev community for feedback and trying to get our first early adopters. I was so nervous wondering if they would like the concept and would give it a try. Many of them did, and that was just the beginning.
One year later, here we are with more than 11K registered users and growing, hosting projects which have close to 1K tasks, teams of more than 20 people and giving daily service to many established studios around the world. And we are still in beta phase. We are so pleased many professionals trusted us for managing their projects, not just because we are a pretty new service and still in beta, but also because we are competing against big guys like Trello, Asana or Jira. We believe we offer something different, a specialization that comes from interviewing many industry professionals, getting user feedback, and investigating about agile project management for game development. HacknPlan is for game developers and game developers only; we don’t want you to adapt to the tool, but the other way around.
We know the beta is taking longer than expected, but we want to give you the best service possible, so we didn’t want to fully launch the service until it was ready. And we are close to that now. We are here today announcing our first premium plan, built for professional studios that use HacknPlan extensively and want to take the most out of it. This plan will be released together with the full HacknPlan Personal account in a few months, we’ll give you an exact release date very soon.
EDIT: The new plan has been renamed from Professional to Studio in order make it more intuitive to understand.
HacknPlan Studio is a premium plan oriented to professional studios and companies, enhancing team management, productivity, reporting and integration with other services. The companies will have a single administrative account that can host different teams and projects with unique features for a simpler management, including project-team assignations, advanced permissions and roles, etc.
HacknPlan Studio can be acquired under a subscription model paid monthly or annually, and will have a price per individual user in the organization, meaning you only pay for the exact amount of team members using the tool. You will only have to upgrade one of your studio accounts and then you will give access to the rest of the team to the enhanced features. We’ll reveal the price after taking a look at the features:
Every HacknPlan Studio account represents an organization, which can host unlimited projects and teams. Your team members can be added to the organization using their existing personal accounts, so they can work both on your company and their personal projects using just one account. You can have as many organization members as user seats you purchased, and you can add and remove them at any time, seats are not bound to specific users. Note: When a project is added to an organization to enjoy the advanced features, all users should be part of the organization, so you need to purchase a seat for every one of them.
- Multiple team management: Create teams and assign roles to each member and default permissions. Take a look at metrics and activity of the team across projects. The same user can be part of different teams having different roles on each one.
- Multiple project management: Create unlimited projects and assign teams to them. Get global organization metrics about projects and reuse project configurations, like custom categories and design element types.
- Dedicated team page: Each project will internally have a dedicated page to manage the team. You’ll be able to see the tasks assigned and completed by each user, manage specific permissions, get metrics of performance and have a log of user activity.
- Dedicated milestone page: Each milestone will have its own dedicated page too, containing a full document to add notes and other content, metrics like burndown charts or performance by category, and a log of activity.
- Easy and seamless migration: Migrating your existing projects will be simple. They will be automatically added to the organization, teams will be created from your existing project members, and a handy wizard will help you fix any incompatibility.
We want to provide many visualization improvements and customizations to make your content not just prettier, but also more readable and tailored to your needs.
- Visual customization: Add your company and project logo. Not a big feature, but everyone loves good looking stuff, right? 😉
- Calendar: Visualize all your events on a calendar, including milestones and task due dates, and also manual notes. Synchronize it with your Google Calendar and have all your deadlines under control.
- Custom category icons and colors: Add icons and colors to your custom categories and update the default ones for a better readability.
- Task card customization: A task card can contain too much information, and you don’t always need all of it. Each user in a project will be able to configure what info they want to see on the card, going from a simple text card to a full task definition.
- Design element board grouping: Group tasks by design element so all tasks related to the same feature in a milestone are displayed together. The groups will be collapsible for a better organization of boards with many tasks.
There are many other tools a game development team use on a daily basis. Integrating those with HacknPlan to simplify the workflow is part of our mission. This plan will be launched with some, but we are committed to releasing many more of them without an additional cost.
- Google Calendar: As we mentioned before, we will add Google Calendar synchronization to have your task and milestone deadlines together with the rest of your schedule.
- Google Drive: Besides the normal attachments you can add to tasks and host on our servers, you will also be able to attach Google Drive documents easily.
- GitHub: Every team needs a version control system to host their projects, and one of the most popular services out there is GitHub. With this integration, you’ll be able to create links between your team members, your commits, and your tasks, so whenever a commit is done it’s added to the task activity log and is linked to the user of your project that made it. Tracking who and when someone did some change in the code or the resources will be easier than ever. Other version control services will be added in the future.
- Slack: This is definitely one of the hottest communication services out there, and it’s becoming the preferred choice of development teams. With our Slack integration, you’ll be able to receive notifications from HacknPlan events and replace the default task comment system with dedicated Slack channels.
When you use a tool on a daily basis and the workflow of your team relies on it, productivity is the key, so you don’t spend more time than necessary dealing with the application. That’s why HacknPlan Studio includes some new features that will help you be more efficient and productive.
- Batch processing: Sometimes you just need to go through a list of tasks or design elements to perform the same task on each of them, maybe sending tasks to a different milestone, changing the design element type of several ones, moving tasks to another status column… Now you will be able to do such operations in batches, selecting all the elements and executing diverse actions on them all together.
- Advanced task creation: The task creation dialog allows to set up many of the fields on a task, but there are still many other elements that are not available on creation and require you to open the task editor for each of them. In the Studio plan, you can choose between basic and advanced task creation and have the option of assigning users, creating sub-tasks, setting dependencies or adding attachments right away.
- Time tracker: Manually tracking the time we spend working on a task is certainly a tedious job. How can we make this more productive? We will provide an automatic time tracker, so you will only have to indicate when you started working on some task and when you stopped, and the time spent will be automatically calculated and added to the task cost.
- Advanced filters: Filtering tasks on the board is very useful to get some clarity when you want to get an overview of your work from some specific point of view. Our board filters will have some advanced options, like saving your favorite ones for quick activation or filtering by free text and other fields.
Metrics and reporting
Measuring and analyzing the progress of the project is very important in order to keep everything under control. HacknPlan Studio will have new interesting metrics and graphs, and will also provide generation of reports in different formats.
- Project and milestone status charts: Gantt charts, Burndown charts and other visual representations of progress and status data will be available.
- Team metrics: With HacknPlan Studio you’ll be able to measure the activity of the team members of a project. Assigned and completed tasks, time reported, category distribution, velocity…
- Game Design Model metrics: This way you’ll be able to see the status of your features and areas of your game, including task and cost counts, category distribution…
- GDD export: Your GDM is a cool and dynamic representation of your GDD, but sometimes you just need a classic document for meetings or presentations. With this exporter you will get a printable version of your GDD in HTML, PDF and other formats, optionally including tasks and status reports.
- Project reports export: The same applies for project metrics and charts. You’ll be able to generate a full report in printable format for projects and milestones.
- Printable cards: Export cards in a printable format to put them on your physical board.
- Extended storage: While the HacknPlan Personal plan will have a limitation of 500MB per account to store project attachment files, with Studio you get 5GB of attachment space per each user in your organization. The HacknPlan Personal plan has a limit of 5MB on attachment file size. With Studio this limit goes up to 250MB.
- Priority email support: We commit to help you in less than 8 business hours.
This is an overview of the features that will be included in HacknPlan Studio when it is first released. But, of course, that’s not the end of it. We will keep iterating on them, adding more integrations, new charts and reports, additional productivity enhancements… Subscribing to a Studio account is a confidence vote we will compensate improving our service day by day.
Ok, great but… how much will this cost?
As we said before, we deeply analyzed and studied our strategy to be able to give the best service for an affordable price that works both for small teams and for bigger studios. You’ll be able to get a Studio plan for less than you spend on coffee or pizza:
6€ per user / month paid annually.
(~6.7 USD, ~5 GBP)
8€ per user / month paid monthly.
(~9 USD, ~7 GBP)
VAT, when applicable, not included.
But that’s not all. Many of you have been using HacknPlan for quite a long time now and it’s fully integrated into your daily workflow. I guess you are pretty interested in this plan when it comes out. If you believe in us and keep trusting us for your game project management, you want to support us and at the same time save money and enjoy these features sooner than anybody else…
Pre-order HacknPlan Studio annual at a 50% discount!
Includes early access to the advanced features.
NOTE: The 50% discount promotion expired on the 1st of January, the discount at the moment is 33%.
But, hey, HacknPlan Personal is not done yet! We will keep working on the free plan to make sure hobbyists, students, and people who cannot afford the Studio version have a good tool to plan their projects, and also users that are part of studios can work on personal projects too. These are some of the features that will be added for everyone in the upcoming release:
- Game Design Model enhancements, including attachments, filters, and deadlines.
- User mentions and task references in markdown descriptions and comments.
- File editor to manage and reuse attached files.
- Themes and custom backgrounds.
- Backup of project data available for download.
- Milestone and GDM notifications.
- Time tracking by user including hours/days calculation.
- Enhanced version of the demo project.
- Improved mobile version of the web application.
- Improvement of drag and drop functionality.
- Platform customization.
- And many small improvements more…
Besides these features and after the release of the full Personal and Studio plans, we’ll keep working on some of our big features:
- Public API
- Mobile apps
- Game Jam mode
- Public sharing
- Self-hosted version
That’s all folks! We hope you like the announcements and want to collaborate with us on making this project grow. We put a lot of love and dedication into this, we’re sure you perceive that. Don’t hesitate to comment or contact us with any question or feedback you have.