Welcome to the first entry of Studio Showcase, a new series of interviews where we will be discovering some of the studios using HacknPlan and how they use the tool to manage their projects. Our goal is to show you real examples of project management workflows and methodologies, including tricks and tips from their creators, so you can find some inspiration and good ideas to implement yourself. Don’t hesitate to add a comment with your questions or observations, this is an initiative to build a strong community, know who we are and help each other out.
Today, we present Gadam Games, a solo indie developer based in Brighton, UK. Gábor Dandár, the man behind, talks with us about how he is using HacknPlan to organize his project My Last Friday, a flashlight-free horror game with a haunting dark story, mixing puzzles and combat.
Warning: This video contains explicitly violent scenes.
Why did you choose HacknPlan as your project management tool?
Not too long after starting the development on this project, I realized that the way I work is far from effective. So I started to spend more time on project management and seek after tools. First I used Trello but then I saw HacknPlan mentioned in a post on the Unreal Engine forums and it looked really promising. It is flexible and simple enough, yet has all the features that I need. The Game Design Model and the possibility that I can reference an element from it within a task makes this tool pretty unique and powerful.
How does your workflow look like?
Basically, I use something quite similar to the iterative level design workflow described by Joel Burgess in his design talk at GDC 2014 (http://blog.joelburgess.com/2014/07/gdc-2014-transcript-iterative-level.html). They used it at Bethesda to create games like Skyrim and Fallout 4 but I think this kind of workflow can also be used for smaller games, or even for a solo project. In my case a milestone contains all tasks for one level inside an iteration pass. For example, a typical “layout pass milestone” usually contains tasks for prototyping and grey-boxing modular kits and tasks for building up the layout of one level.
What are the best challenges you faced while organizing your team?
For the time being, I’m the only one who has to deal with development tasks. But since I have a day job sometimes managing only myself can be challenging. I try to keep the game model up to date which could help future team members to familiarize with the project faster.
Do you have some tricks or tips from your experience using HacknPlan?
If you’re not familiar with agile and scrum then assigning points to your tasks may look strange for the first time. But as you getting better estimating task complexity, points will be a great help to plan your milestones and meet your deadlines.
Which important milestones did you accomplish so far? What are the next steps in your roadmap?
The biggest milestone so far was the release of the My Last Friday demo. It was followed by several updates with major new features like in-game music (composed by Sam Oz) dialogue and inventory system. My next steps include: building up a complete layout for the remaining levels and integrate gameplay elements.
Do you have wishes or suggestions for the future of HacknPlan?
I’m really looking forward to the GDD export feature.
My Last Friday was greenlit on July 2015, and a demo was released.
More about Gadan Games:
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