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Summer Update

Devin Good || Lead Designer

Hey all you lovely people!
We are in our first full week of summer development and we have a lot to share about where we have come and where we are going as well as how we got here. Before we get into that I want to thank everyone who has been following us and giving us your support! You all are the best!

So where to start...



Quick Semester Recap:

We have finished our first semester of development and our gearing up to the long haul of summer. It has been a long ride already with lots of bumps and we are here to talk about that now before we get into the excitement of summer. A few quick disclosures: this may get a bit lengthy but hang in there, I promise we may have a few tidbits that could help you out too! 

Work Accountability - A big issue for us as a new and quickly expanding company has been work accountability when we do not have the ability to meet every single day. Each member had a different idea of what was priority and we often had members stepping over into other departments to fulfill  So how did we solve this? Daily Online Stand Ups! Everyone knows Excel sheets are the game designers best friend for design, however we are using them for more than that now! Using Google Sheets we have created an archival of items for each member every single day. 
Those items include: 
What did you finish today? How long did it take you? How many hours are left in that task if unfinished? What is blocking you from working? Did you create any debt? What are your plans for tomorrow?

This method only takes about 5 minutes out of each members day so as to not be a hindrance. Also, we can quickly all reference if someone is not on task and see if a coworker is having a recurring blocking issue that they might need some help with. 

Technical GDD -  What is a Technical GDD? Wait, what is a GDD? For those of you who are scratching your head, a GDD is a Game Design Document. It is the most critical document that everyone on the team has access to. It is the game on paper. Every single design decision needs to be on this document so that when a question arises (which they always do) we can reference what our decision was and why. We use Google Sites for ours actually as it is easy to log into and make subpages with information about more and more detailed aspects. So, on to why we added a technical aspect. 
We had an issue that I previously mentioned where there were simply a lot of design aspects that our programming team needed made but in order to save time, they went ahead and made those decisions. For us, this revealed quickly that the design team was working on all the wrong items. Level design is just simply not pertinent when the programmers don't even know what the speed is of the units. Of course in retrospect everything is 20/20 but it lead us to finding out we needed a Technical GDD side site. The Technical GDD exists within our same site and mirrors every design page we have created however, it explains HOW exactly we are doing everything and not why or what we as designers want. This drastically helped in terms keeping our information on each page short and to the point. Clutter solved! Also this method helps to quickly reveal any discrepancies between designers and programmers. As pages are being created it forces designers to layout even more solid plans for what they would like executed and how they would like it approached so that our programmers have as few questions as possible during development!

All in all we hope these methods are helpful to others and that you guys are excited to see what we will be showing very soon with our sped up progress!

Stay Shrimpy!