Collaborative Game Development

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Setting the Wheels in Motion

Congratulations, you have successfully made a team! Now what? Well, it's time to start organizing things and getting the team ready to start working on the project! First matter of business, as usual: Networking!

Networking: How Technology is your BESTEST FRIEND!

We live in a day and age where it doesn't take 20 minutes to load a webpage or check your e-mail. Thanks to this, various programs have started up offering reliable, chat-based communication for free. These programs can offer as much as file sharing, voice calls with screen sharing, and team chat features. I tend to use Skype, but there are other programs such as ventrillo, msn chat, teamspeak, IRC, and more that can help you keep in touch. Some people simply prefer the comfort of an e-mail conversation, while others would rather have calls so they can voice their opinions or in some cases, share WIP game music or voice tracks.

Consider getting a Skype (or similar program) account and urging your teammates to do so, it will help you keep productivity going.

Other options include creating a free forum on a website and using e-mails or utilities explained in the next section. I've seen people make free forums online for their projects, which is certainly a cool idea. Building a website can be tougher, but sites like Weebly and webs.com as well as many others offer free options for hosting. Some people even prefer to use facebook.

Be sure to take the time to make sure you have an e-mail address for each person. This is good for when they are offline, or when you need to get something to them that may wait a long time. It's also useful if they have limited internet access or such, as most people prioritize their e-mail.

Pipelines: Say what?

Pipelines are processes in which raw ideas turn into finished products. With a team, you will need to organize basic pipelines for how things like that concept of how the main character looks go through the team and eventually end up in the game assets folder. Having a standard system and having people focused on specific tasks, coupled with an understanding of what needs to be done and sent to whom, will ensure success. An example:

In this example, the process is quite simple, involving only two people. However, in some cases, you need multiple people to work on the same files at once, passing things around time after time again... That's where utilities like Dropbox and Cloud-based sharing systems come in handy, allowing you to work on files at essentially the same time. When working on stories, this is especially helpful. Consider checking out Google Drive or Windows Live SkyDrive or Dropbox for sharing files, or even go old-school with a FTP setup.

These utilities are also great for quickly sharing releases with testers, and even provide some protection against leaks of information.

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