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Christian: Getting into Gear

This week marks the second week that we have been performing weekly builds of Dawnroot. These builds serve as a way to do integration testing for our game. That is to say, we have all been working on our own pieces of the puzzle in a sort of isolation until now. We started the weekly builds to see how all of our pieces work together, and hopefully find the places that they haven’t. Well, it turns out it is much easier to see what needs doing when you have a “gun to my head we have to release right now this is what we have” game to look at. our first weekly build generated a large list of items to fix, and an even larger list of items to tune. Now, after creating our second weekly build, I’d like to talk about a few things I noticed. First, it is often the little things that make a game feel like a game. Sure a game without movement would be strange, but a game with almost but not quite great movement feels stranger still. Likewise with splash screens and menus. certainly these things should be added as needed for development, and then polished later, but they are more than deserving of time and attention.
Second, is how much faster game development can move when you have a clear marker to iterate on. Often, we would test our features in isolation. This is of course still a major part of our development process, and we will often make fresh scenes just to try out a new feature. However, by having a game “released” and unchangeable, we now have a razor to cut through to the most import aspects of our game. One question I find myself asking while playing a weekly build is “What is the part of this game that I would most like to change, or that I find most embarrassing.” Often these are areas that we prepared for and just need to be tuned, but some of the time we find something that we didn’t think about until we saw everything together in one place. This has been tremendously helpful for getting our priorities set. Hopefully, we will see a lot more tuning as we iterate on the builds.
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Sean: Why We Moved From Slack to Discord and Why You Should Too

We have officially moved our main communication platform from Slack to Discord and honestly, I couldn’t be more excited about this change. All of our text channels from Slack were easy enough to recreate in Discord and while we did lose old chat history to Slack, our oldest chat history had long ago been hidden behind a paywall. Something I realized during the transition is that chat history is not that important, specific links and uploads from the chat are. Pin those. Seriously, we were underutilizing the fuck out of pins.

My favorite part of Discord is, of course, its main feature, frictionless voice chat. I still can’t get over how easy voice communication is with Discord. No more waiting for people to connect on Skype, now we just meet up in the “Conference Room”. Yes, you read that correctly, we structured our voice channels like rooms in an office including a conference room, a game room and individual rooms for studio members. These final rooms are used much like individual offices, with team members sitting in their rooms when they are online and allowing everyone to drop into each other’s rooms to ask quick questions or chat in the same way as you would in a physical office.

The only complaint I have from using Discord is its lack of screensharing abilities, this is the only feature we still use Skype for and while I have read multiple times that Discord will be releasing that feature sometime in 2017, that mystery date can’t arrive fast enough.