Codecks vs Trello

Using Trello for game development is a common choice for beginning teams. But it quickly falls short when used heavily in multi-disciplinary teams. Here's why Codecks is the better trello for game devs.

The interface

Card-based tasks

Both Trello and Codecks are using cards as a vehicle for your tasks. This is not a coincidence. Cards have a great form factor when it comes to radiating a lot of information at once. They also allow to fill especially bigger screens effectively when comparing it to more table oriented alternatives. It's also a joy to drag them around because they feel close enough to their real-world counterparts.

Horizontal vs vertical layout

When it comes to arranging cards, there's a big difference. Trello lists cards vertically within lists whereas Codecks lays them out in horizontal swim lanes which allow to contain more than one row of cards. While Trello's lists allow to only display a couple of cards before you need to scroll, Codecks' swim lanes allow to display 50+ cards at once even on medium sized screens.

Collectible card games as inspiration

To ensure that you can immediately grasp the state of your project at a glance, we went to great lengths to ensure that our card representation just feels right. We took a lot of design hints from collectible card games to ensure that they radiate the right kind of information. This way a blocked card or a card requiring a review, will be immediately visible.

Managing projects

Once your project grows, you'll realize that Trello lacks the right primitives to organize your work. There's only two ways to categorize a card: by the lane it's in and by applying labels. While simple, this is extremely limiting when you'd like to categorize your work by e.g. type, priority, effort and progress.

Made for project management

Codecks has been designed as a project management tool from the start. Each card can be assigned a priority, effort, tags, milestones (and of course an owner). All these properties are optional, so it's up to you and your project to decide what granularity is the right fit.

Workflow as part of a card

Rather than using Kanban-style lanes for indicating a card's progress, Codecks includes this information within each card. You'll quickly learn that a gray or brown card hasn't been started yet, while blue means "in progress" and green cards are "done". There's also distinct colors for blocked cards and cards in review.

Group your work using decks

Codecks uses decks as container for cards. This allows you to create a deck for each feature type to slice your backlog into manageable chunks. Hundreds of cards can be effectively managed this way and if you feel you need an even higher level of abstraction, Codecks offers a great multi-project support allowing you to manage several projects in parallel or separately.

Batteries included

Finally, while you can use Trello for gamedev, it has no strong opinion and thus no strong support for following any specific project management philosophy. As Codecks has been developed and refined while being used for the creation of several games, we have been able to capture a lot of recurring patterns. To just name one example, Codecks allows to create Milestones which are a great way to manage recurring sprints and releases.

Let's have a conversation about conversations

Having productive conversations is a corner-piece of any successful project managed by more than one person. This is why we focused a lot of our attention to nail this part of the process. We have come up with a unique conversation system that is aimed at preventing loose ends.

Each idea deserves its own thread

All too often it happens that people get notified of a comment but are not in a position to reply right away. Hardly any tool approaches this common problem effectively and Trello is no exception. Codecks employs a few ideas to ensure that the no comment gets lost. First off, every conversation happens inside a thread. This not only allows to have separate discussions on a single cards, but also allows you to define who is part of a conversation and whether this conversation can be closed.

Who takes part and did we come to a conclusion?

When creating a conversation, you may select the participants either from a list of common conversation partners or by simply mentioning them in your message. Every participant will get notified of this conversation and Codecks ensures that the conversation comes to a conclusion by regularly reminding all participants of any open conversation. If people feel like they can't contribute any more, they can always opt out.

Highlight important conversations

Even more interestingly, two workflow states are directly bound to conversations. Both, blocking a card and reviews, are initiated by starting a conversation. The card will remain in that highly visible state and send regular reminders to all participants until the conversation has been marked as resolved.

But Trello is free!?

For personal use it still is. But in March 2019 Trello rolled out a new pricing policy to allow only up to 10 boards for a team. So depending on the way you manage an ever growing backlog, it's not unrealistic that you need to pay at some point. And why wouldn't you. In our opinion, it's only fair to be paying for a service that provides a considerable value to you and your team.

Doing it the indie way

As opposed to most competitors, Codecks never got any external funding. It has maintained its freedom from any outside interests by bootstrapping and considerable personal investments in a true indie developer spirit. This is also why we are much more dependent on being paying paid for the value we provide, while still trying to be as affordable as possible.

Let's see what Codecks can do for you

We have created a product born from playful design and gamedev-honed expertise that goes far beyond just being a good trello alternative. If you're looking to create your dream game project, you need the tools to support you properly. Why settle for something less?

Automatically import your Trello boards to Codecks

If you have some work on Trello already that you'd like to transfer, we've created a handy tool for you. Our importer allows you to add all cards of a board into a Codecks project. Lists will become decks, and cards, ...well ...stay cards.

Get started

Once you've set up your Codecks Account, open your Organization Settings and find the Trello Importer. Click the Get Started Button to authenticate with Trello.

Select a board and pick your target project

You will then be able to pick a Trello board of yours. Now choose whether you want to add your cards to an existing project or create a new one.

Confirm and go!

The next screen allow you to decide whether you want to copy your attachments (up to 100MB in total) and whether you want to map Trello users to Codecks users. It might make sense to invite your team members before performing this step!
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