January 28, 2009
When I started working with the development team abroad, they suggested we use Basecamp to stay in synch. I had heard of the company 37 Signals but had never used any of their products so I was really blown away once we got the project up an running. The service includes a message board, shared task calendar, To Do List, a writeboard, and file sharing service and an easily to manage contacts list.
The team put all of our milestones into the system so now I can go to Basecamp, review the list of upcoming milestones and leave files and comments that I think are useful for the team. Once you upload or insert a new comment you have the option of notifying specific group members which is great because it avoids spamming those people who are not relevant to the update.
I think this software is really a brilliant way to manage a geographically separated group of people where transparency can obviously be difficult and it is hard to get clarity around what each person is doing. I seriously recommend Basecamp for anyone collaborating on not just software development, but anything that could require getting a group of people on to the same page.
January 26, 2009
It’s 6am and I just spent the last 14 hours mocking up my 20 levels so that the developers can have a foundation on which to build the game. I did the entire set of levels in Powerpoint, it was surprisingly easy I guess I got one decent skill out of Investment Banking (still wasn’t worth it). For anyone who has never cared to or ever tried to lay out a game, even a simple one like mine, let me tell you it is pretty impossible to have any sort of intuition around what will play well.
Of course you have to consider user habits, the quality of the enemy AI and so on, and even knowing that and expecting future revisions it is still frustrating how much of a shot in the dark it all is
The question I grappled with most was how will the accelerometer steering affect game play…impossible to really know until we start fiddling with different filters to find the right blend of speed and control. I definitely want to avoid making a Labyrinth style experience, where the low friction coefficient makes steering so difficult. Another thing I didn’t really appreciate beforehand was how little real estate an iPhone screen actually has - you do have to be efficient in your design when it comes to games.
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January 22, 2009
Although I had already done quite a bit of work with the guys, it did take us a few days to finalize the contract with all of the milestones and specs completely hashed out. It was making me anxious because I just wanted to get cranking on the project, but I knew it was worth it to predefine as much as possible so both sides expectations would be met. Thankfully the team shared my desire to clearly layout the terms of our contract and begin working in the meantime so there wasn’t any issue there. All in all I am happy with the terms and feel confident in the team’s ability to execute on my vision. I finally feel that the project is underway and can’t wait to start seeing progress soon. The first milestone is a week away so pretty excited to see the application begin to take shape.
If you want some tips on the contract details and other legal stuff see the Taking Care of the Legal Stuff entry.
January 20, 2009
When I decided to create my application idea by going with international development it took me quite some time to figure out the best way to do it. I’m pretty resourceful at finding what I need on the web so when I couldn’t find any advice on the topic I decided to document my process for others thinking about outsourced development.
Being new to programming and having just started to learn the iPhone SDK I felt time pressure to get my app idea out to market before someone else beat me to the punch. I thought about the trade off between time, money and certainty of getting a launchable product and decided that I should invest the money necessary to get a working version into the App Store as quickly as possible. That way I could also put more time on designing the game as well as the marketing.
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