Wooden H Studio is currently working on a Spyro clone. Unfortunately due to the current virus outbreak, our project start was a little rough. This post will describe some of the issues we have come across with the transition to remote-only work and how we plan on mitigating those issues.
The biggest issue is that we have a hard time communicating with each other, and there is a lot of us. Not only is this our first project of this scale, but this is also a studio made entirely of students, so that adds some additional challenge because we also have to balance the workload from this project with other classes that are struggling with the migration to online education. There are some big issues with the dev team because we can't pair program as easily and debugging on the console doesn't translate well in a remote environment.
The way we kind of handle the communication issue is by handling personnel by the department. The dev lead stays in touch with the dev team and the art lead stays in touch with the art team and then each department does internal daily check-ins and the dev lead and art lead keep in touch with the producer and each other and that is how we reduce the amount of communication overhead. This seems to work as we are all busy people and don't have a lot of time to waste, so we keep info on a need to know basis. We also doing public daily standups in discord so everyone knows what everyone else is working on and have a chance to offer and ask for help or information if/ when needed. As for the debugging and pair programming, we pair program over zoom and fortunately, we are developing for Xbox One and can still debug natively on windows, so that was a big help. This is still one of our biggest issues though as our build reviews will be awkward.
Overall I feel like we're doing fine and will eventually get into the rhythm of working remotely. Until we do we will be losing some productivity, but we will still get things done and eventually ship.
By Joseph Whittington