Finally, after more than 1 year and a half in beta, HacknPlan is hitting version 1.0! I’m not a fan of the big releases with fireworks, we believe in iterative development and this service is and will always be in development, our work is never over. So, what does it mean then? Well, in fact, from the development point of view is not very different from any other update, except by the fact that we are adding a lot more new features and improvements than ever. It’s more about confirming this project is now mature, stable and solid. It’s about consolidating a business model and monetization strategy that is sustainable and allow us to keep going and maintaining a free version of our application. It’s about shouting out loud: hey guys, come here and work with us, you won’t regret it!
I would like to thank all those studios and individual game developers who trusted and supported us while in beta by pre-ordering one of our premium plans. Not only gave us some funds before the premium plans were ready, you also helped us with a lot of feedback and ideas. We don’t want to build the project management system we want, we want to build the one that you need. Keep your feedback coming!
Now, let’s take a look at what’s new in 1.0. I won’t give as many details as in regular development diaries because this post would be huge. We also have to mention a few things that were included in the roadmap but we couldn’t release today for several reasons. Those will come out very soon, though.
General features and improvements
- General review and polishing of the UI, including better color, size, and position of many elements.
- A dark theme.
- Attachments for game design elements.
- Multifile and drag and drop support for attachments, and the possibility of referencing them from the markdown (task and design element descriptions).
- Real-time updates on the GDM, similar to the ones already working for the kanban boards.
- Work log tab on the task editor that displays the total time/points logged by every user and also the individual log entries.
- Inline creation of subtasks.
- Improved task search allowing partial words. It’s also faster now.
- General info fields for projects and milestones with markdown support, useful to add a more detailed description, links, etc.
- Notifications for game design model edition.
- Better navigation, drag and drop support and other improvements for the mobile version of the web app.
- Task counter added to board column headers.
- Start and due dates added to game design elements.
- Added an extra filter to GDM task lists that allows you to include tasks from all the children elements.
- A lot of bugs fixed! (maybe a few ones created too xD)
Premium features and improvements
- Subscription system with support for monthly and yearly periods plus a trial period of two weeks where you can evaluate the premium features with your existing projects doing real work.
- Project and team admin sections for organizations, including general project and user metrics.
- Teams to better manage large organizations, allowing to add the whole team to a project with one single click.
- Organization logo and general info field.
- Google Calendar integration, displaying your Calendar schedule and HacknPlan events together on the application calendar section.
- Board tasks grouped by design element, for a better high-level overview of the milestone boards.
- Batch processing of game design element tasks (multiselection pressing Ctrl or Command).
- Attachments from Google Drive, for both tasks and design elements.
- Metrics panel for game design elements with the possibility of computing all children data.
- Advanced mode for the creation dialog, including the possibility of creating subtasks, attaching files (also from Drive and drag and drop) and setting dependencies. Attached files can also be referenced from the task description.
- Added list of pending and completed tasks for milestones section.
- CSV export of category metrics for further processing, like adding to Excel and creating charts or other reports.
- Game Design Model support for Gantt charts, displaying the estimated roadmap of features when start and due dates are set.
What has been left out?
There are some features in our roadmap that finally didn’t make it into 1.0 but will be added very soon. Those are features that either gave us problems or had less priority than others and were pushed to the bottom of the list. We could have delayed this release in order to include them all, but it would have only meant more time waiting for other cool features to be available, so we decided to keep iterating, we hope you understand.
That being said, also take into account many of the features we released are in their first iteration. We plan to keep improving and extending the existing functionality to make it better and better. Again, your feedback is the key.
The features that were announced but not included in this release are:
- Task references on markdown descriptions.
- Custom backgrounds.
- Complete rewriting of the drag and drop system (for better performance and usability).
- Multiselection and batch processing of design elements.
- GDD export: we had many issues converting the markdown syntax to a printable format with the available 3rd party libraries. We need to write a custom solution, that will take more than we initially foreseen.
- Project report and printable cards: we didn’t implement these reports, but added the export of metrics to CSV as a bonus, which we believe is more interesting because can be imported into Excel for further processing.
You can take a look at the updated roadmap here.
So, what’s after v1.0? Surprise, surprise… v1.0.1!!
We will keep iterating frequently as always (after some vacations of course!) and our next update will include all these things that were left out plus some known bugs and the ones that may arise from this big release. After that, we plan to iterate over the existing features with a few priorities in mind:
- Improve the UX by adding inline creation and edition where possible. The new inline creation of subtasks is a good example. We will also review and polish the existing workflow to make it more streamlined and simple.
- Improve the performance of the application as much as possible. We never get enough of this.
- Extend organizations and projects to make they scale for really big teams.
When it comes to new features, we won’t add many for a while, but we have a few that are very important for us and will prioritize:
- Public API. This is one of our priorities and we would like to release the first version around summer. It will open many possibilities for the creation of different client applications, utilities, automation, and integrations.
- Customization of board columns. This is one of the top requested features and we will work on it as soon as possible.
- More integrations, like GitLab, BitBucket, Dropbox… and further development of existing ones.
Thanks for reading, and let us know what you think about the release.