Optimizing Indie Teams For Maximum Output
At Robot Style Games we have a tight-knit crew of founders, each of which specializes in a core component of game development. Currently our artistic team (1 founder + a third party animation studio) is embarking on a six-week task that will be vital to building an experience worth our players’ time. I could not be prouder of the fact that we are investing the effort, but with long tasks in a single department comes an uneven schedule. Our Artists will be preoccupied so our standard sprints will be disrupted unless we act fast and assign tasks that do not rely on art to those outside of the arts team.
Especially when working with indie sized teams it is easy to get into a mindset of focusing on a list of application user flows throughout repeating sprints using a team-wide attack plan that results in efficient and compact loops of work over short periods of time. The true difficulty is being flexible enough to absorb incoming large tasks that may consume a teams productivity without causing downtime or misdirected efforts during that window.
After some introspection I formulated a plan and assigned commitments to the team with clear expectations and timelines which each team member agreed to being achievable and realistic.
James Mehrkens (Jim), our creative lead, is building out storyboards and dialogue for the campaign storyline and the weekly roguelike mode. By creating a rich narrative, he is adding depth to the gaming experience. Jim is also already building in “off ramps” that will make it easy for us to extend the universe to include our future titles which we are so excited to begin working on post launch of Mobius Rift.
A new hire was brought in to head our marketing efforts which is a direct response to our team underperforming due to social management tasks that simply should never have been on their plate in the first place. We are hoping that this move not only will create a better social presence for RSG Inc. & our first title ‘Mobius Rift’, but will also greatly improve development output by reducing distractions.
Finally as the lead developer, I am using this time to fortify our game's infrastructure. For so long I have been the core of RSG and have been focused on the fun visual stuff we need to show new team members to convince them we are the real deal. It is time to pay up and use my ~7 years of Enterprise Cloud experience to work. We intend to be ready to handle 10+ Million players at launch from a technical perspective, and there are quite a few prerequisites to work toward with that goal in mind.
First we're transitioning from Firebase RTDB to Firebase Firestore, a change that promises improved data querying and increased scalability. This change in itself is a great chance to assess our database interactions and assess security and cheat detection.
In addition, we're integrating several Firebase packages into our platform. For this 6 Week sprint my goal is to add Analytics, App Check, Crashlytics, Functions, and Messaging. Each of these will add a new capability to the project in an efficient manner.
Analytics: Provides insights about how users interact with our game, helping us make data-driven decisions.
App Check: Defends our game from external threats and ensuring only valid traffic reaches our backend.
Crashlytics: Identifies and allows us to fix issues that may cause our game to crash, enhancing the user experience over time.
Functions: This will be utilized as a way to perform server-side actions and verifications for things such as random rolls while still allowing instant local response times on the user device.
Messaging: We already utilize addressable assets which allows us to modify assets app wide without requiring a fresh install, this is simply yet another avenue that we can implement messaging to our users being layered over our application.
On the other side of this journey we will be more resilient and better prepared to face the eventual launch of the game than ever before. My only hope is that we can each save up some more of these independent tasks before we face another to-do-list-pocalypse when one of us needs to keep their head down for a long period of time.
As always, thank you for your continued support and for joining us on this journey. Stay tuned for more updates.
Until next time, Gavin Jones CEO & Lead Developer @ Robot Style Games Inc.