Making tools for game developers

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May 08, 2015
Emmanuel is an old man, but don't remind him of that. He spent too many years as a project manager, for video games, web applications, and even hard-core industrial projects. The scars run deep. Most of his evenings and week-ends are devoted to video games, board games, and miniature painting. That's what happens when you get old.
Codecks LogoCodecks is a project management tool inspired by collectible card games.
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Today I will share some thoughts on the three reasons why we picked game developers as our audience.

Familiarity with - and appreciation for - the domain

In recent years I got a chance to practice my own craft (project management) within game development studios. This means I have some first hand experience (and battle scars) that inform the work we’re doing here at Codecks.

What’s perhaps more important is that I have genuine attachment to the domain and the friends who practice in it daily. The thought that maybe, just maybe we can make a tool that might improve their daily lot is a very strong motivator.

Game development has a singular problem to deal with

This point is highly debatable, I imagine. All projects in any domain face the same traditional time - resource - quality conundrum.

BUT. There is a but.

In my experience, the “milestone frenzy” effect is quite unique - or let’s say particularly acute - with game development.

You’ll recognize it as: looming milestone (e.g. public demo, publisher payment, etc.) + half the shit you hoped would be done is, in fact, not done = Noooo!.

The result is that, in the development life-cycle, you will get these horrendous spikes where tons of “last minute” (weeks) tasks are generated and you try and knock as many out as you can before the axe falls (notice how I am avoiding the c word ^^).

One of the foundational ideas behind Codecks is to “embrace chaos”.

What we mean by that is, rather than use a tool that assumes order and fails when faced with the reality of game development, we’re building a tool that assumes chaos and, in spite of that, reduces the stress that comes with it (I’ll talk more about how we plan to tackle this in future posts).

Game developers are experts

I use the word expert in the sense that 99% of people in game development have to use tools whose complexity dwarfs everything most common mortals have to use, e.g. PowerPoint vs. 3DSMax. Fight!

Now, that’s a good thing. It’s good because it allows us the opportunity to build features that might seem too complex for user lambda, but to a game developer may actually feel trivial.

Now, we’re fully aware of the danger of that last statement. It’s not carte blanche to develop some obscure functionality that requires a tutorial to use. All we’re saying is that we can be bolder in trying out things that we would never dream of if we were building a tool for the crowds.

Another minor but not negligible benefit, is that we won’t have to worry about browser compatibility as much (did we mention Codecks was browser-based?). So if you’re still using IE8, well, sorry chums.

Next post, I might show some WIP stuff.

It’s the week-end, get some sun!

So, what is Codecks?

Codecks is a project management tool inspired by collectible card games.
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