Dev Diary 15 – Game Model love

by | Jul 16, 2016 | Dev Diary | 5 comments

Hi hacknplanners,
This new update comes with several improvements on the game model tool, one of the key organizational features of HacknPlan. We have introduced several usability and navigation changes in order to simplify the usage, like a fullscreen view of the tree when no element is selected, different tabs for tasks and properties to maximize the visible content, and an embedded task editor so you are no longer redirected to the board to edit the tasks. We also added a context menu to the model elements that includes element cloning.

Besides the game model, we also changed the context menu of the tasks to improve the way you can send a task to another milestone or manage the assigned users, and some other visual improvements.promo135

Let’s go for it!

Features and improvements

  • Collapsible model element panel: The new edition panel for the model elements, containing the assigned tasks and the properties of the element, is now collapsible. When an element is selected it will appear at the right side of the screen, and it will be hidden when no element is selected, giving more space for the element tree. The panel is also distributed in two tabs, one for tasks and another for properties, with the purpose of maximizing the available space for each section. This new layout is properly displayed on mobile devices. Note: we’ll make the lists of tasks in the game model sortable in next iterations, including changing the model element by dropping the task into it.
  • Embedded task editor: After doing the same on the boards, we have embedded the task editor into the game model page. When you click on a model element task the panel will be opened at the left side of the screen, instead of being redirected to the board for edition. This reduces navigation dramatically, so you can fully plan your features and concepts without leaving the page.promo137
  • Context menu for model elements: We added a new context menu to the model elements, which can be displayed using either right click or the gear icon. In addition to the already existing actions for deleting the element and adding a child, you can now clone an element and add a task directly from there. As an improvement in UX, both of these actions will automatically send you to the element properties and the name will be automatically selected for edition.
  • Model element type customization: A feature many of you were waiting for. Now you can create your own element types and edit or delete the existing ones, this way you can truly adapt this feature to the needs of your project. A new section is added to the project admin page.
    Context menu actions:
     We’ve had many problems with some of the quick actions we can trigger by using the context menu of the task cards: sending a task to another milestone and assigning users. These lists could be really long and that caused issues like context sub-menus going out of the viewport and bad compatibility with touch devices. Our solution to this issue was a new way of selecting the target of these actions which is completely embedded in the card, more compatible with touch devices and with an internal scroll to ease the selection in big lists. This changes quite a bit how these actions are performed, so we are willing to hear your feedback and opinions on it.
  • Performance improvements: We have rebuilt the way we cache the board content in order to provide good loading times when your milestones grow noticeably.
  • Visual improvements: In order to maximize the space, we have reduced the size of some elements in the cards.promo138

Bug fixes

  • When a task was selected in the boards, there were issues sorting it manually.
  • When a user didn’t have read access to a category, they could still see the percentages on the category distribution chart for that category.
  • Active milestones were still active after closing them.
  • Some typos in platform names.

What’s next?

As you probably know, we are working on a big feature: a project type for game jams. We want to release this by the end of the summer, so we will be working on this but not releasing it yet. Besides that, we keep following our roadmap and we’ll be adding more notifications, more game model features (filters, due dates…) and mobile improvements.

Happy planning!


  1. Juha Keränen

    Great job!
    Waiting for that github support. 🙂

  2. Julius Weber

    Awesome! This will make my life a whole lot easier! 🙂

  3. Tom

    Great! I can’t wait for the Github/Drive/Slack integration. And also a mobile app. It is nearly perfect yet, so do you have a plan to go on those features soon?
    And one day, the game design killer app?

    • Chris Estevez

      We’ll start working on these integrations after the summer. About tools for game design, we plan to build a GDD creation tool (like an advanced version of the game model), and we would like to add more pure gamedev tools but let’s see how the project goes. We need to monetize it first and make it sustainable.

  4. Logan Miles

    Hey Chris, this is a great tool. Just now tuning into hacknplan, but I am already appreciating all of the thought put into it. Thank you for the amazing work that you are doing, I’ll be following along the way 🙂


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