This week we interview Bounder Games, an indie studio from Dundee, Scotland. Bounder Games was founded in 2014 by Sarah Herzog, Roy Stevens and Levie Drysdale, and they are currently working on their original and colorful third mobile game, Armoured Engines. Sarah talks about their experiences using HacknPlan.
The goal at the end of each milestone is to have a playable build that we can share with our testersSarah Herzog, Producer at Bounder Games
Why did you choose HacknPlan as your project management tool?
We were originally using a combination of Trello and Google Docs. However we were constantly frustrated at our task organisation – We could organise our Trello tasks in a Kanban style but then we had trouble finding things pertinent to each person, or noting which ones were more important. HacknPlan solves this perfectly by having categories, as well as allowing you to rank tasks based on importance and also associate tasks with elements in the Game Design Model.
How does your workflow look like?
We are still tweaking our workflow as we get used to the system, but for now we are using 2 weeks per milestone – the goal at the end of each milestone is to have a playable build that we can share with our testers.
At the beginning of the milestone we decide what Game Design Model elements are being incorporated in that milestone and create tasks for those elements – we use the GDM pretty tightly in our process. We assign the task’s importance loosely based on the MoSCoW system (Must have, Should have, Could have, Won’t Have) so that our team members will know what order to do them in during the week. We also assign any dependencies between tasks at that time. As the producer, I will usually do most of this ahead of our weekly planning meeting, then go over it with the team and make time estimates and assign some starting tasks.
During the week, we update our tasks on the board as they are worked on, and I assign new tasks if I notice folks are running low, or they can assign tasks to themselves. Once someone starts working on a task, it goes to In Progress – once they think they are done, it goes to Testing so we can confirm with the team that it suits before moving it to Completed, tracking hours spent along the way.
What are the best challenges you faced while organizing your team?
Creating even two week’s worth of tasks can be a bit overwhelming for our team members to figure out what to work on first. This was a problem for us before we started using HacknPlan – thankfully HacknPlan has loads of features to help with it, but we’re still getting used to everything. To help with this, I’m trying to assign folks tasks as they complete their current ones, so they only have to focus on the tasks they currently have assigned to them.
Do you have some tricks or tips from your experience using HacknPlan?
I definitely recommend moving your GDD to the Game Design Model. We had ours spread out in a bunch of Google Docs, but it was always hard to find things. With the GDM, you can link different pages, which is really really helpful. We have a story driven game so it’s really useful to have all the characters in one section and link them from the locations where they show up, for example. It makes the GDM work a bit like a wiki, but better since it is laid out in an intuitive structure that’s easy to navigate through.
Which important milestones did you accomplish so far? What are the next steps in your roadmap?
We’re just starting up development again after a long hiatus. Right now we are focusing on getting a solid demo ready to take to events. Our plan is to use an iterative method so that each milestone ends with a solid playable demo. We hope to have our demo completely finished in March, and after that we’ll be focusing on the main game. If all goes well, it will be ready for release by the end of this year!
Do you have wishes or suggestions for the future of HacknPlan?
I frequently come up with ideas for little things that would make our lives a little easier in HacknPlan – my most wanted feature right now would be an easy way to navigate to the GDM element that a task is connected to. The HacknPlan team have been really responsive when I’ve sent in suggestions, so my main wish for the future is for them to keep that up!
(Note from the HacknPlan Team: We heard you and went back in time to release this feature earlier this week :-P)
More about Bounder Games:
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