How Working Remotely… Works

Cat Trap

13 Oct, 2014

By Dave Ward

Mouse Bounce has been developed by 2 people, myself (Dave) a programmer, and a friend (Adam) an artist. I’ve known Browny (Adam Brown) for far too long; he grew up in the village next to mine and we went to the same school together. Through a string of coincidences we ended up going to the same university and living next to each other in Nottingham for a while. Since then he trotted off to London for a bit and now he’s in Australia while I moved back to nice warm Yorkshire. After spending 15 months in full time work I fancied the excitement of making my own games. A few days before I was about to leave my safe, secure, paying job I dropped Browny a message, that was along the lines of:

“G’day mate! Hope I haven’t interrupted you drinking Fosters around the barbie. How do you feel about making a mobile game, ripper? You do the art, I code, we both design. As a pommie you’ll be wanting to explore Aus so you can just pitch in when you’re free”

So we set off to work. We’d got a good idea of the features and look of the game within the first hour of a Skype call. All that remained was the weeks/months of hard work. During the development of Mouse Bounce we used a number of tools to discuss and deliver parts of the game remotely:

  • Google docs. We had a Mouse Bounce art task list which I’d add to and Browny would keep ticking off. GDocs are great as all members of a team have the latest version of a document, they’re version controlled by Google and easy to use.
  • Dropbox. I’d initially tried getting Browny to use git but command line and creative really don’t go together well. Instead, we used Dropbox. All new art was organised into an export folder ready for me to pick up when I was ready to integrate it into the game.
  • Facebook messenger. Despite the vastly different time zones we still got a good few hours of time in the morning (GMT) where we could reach each other if we needed to. This was often me requesting artwork or us arguing (nicely) over game elements and how things should work.
  • Unity. I know this is a bit of a weird one as a remote working tool but Browny has the worlds oldest Android phone. This meant regular Android builds supporting 2.3 upwards wouldn’t work. Because Unity supports every platform known to man I sent Browny PC builds so he could see the game in action. The ease of switching target platforms in Unity is fantastic, without this feature Browny would have been largely flying blind only seeing screenshots and short videos of the game.

Working 10,526 miles apart still amazes me. That’s further than laying every mouse on earth end to end. I’ve just made that up but it could be right though, sounds remotely factual.

What I’ve taken away from this project is it doesn’t matter how far away a team member is as long as they’re driven, skilled and interested in the project. Browny is a great artist, a workaholic and seems to just about fit anything into a packed schedule. Every project has difficulties and every team member will have busy times, so picking the wrong person could easily have seen this project derailed or the quality of the final product degraded. My moral of the story is, if an opportunity to be part of developing something cool is offered to you don’t let location of team members get in the way. In the end I’m really pleased with Mouse Bounce and hopefully you’ll enjoy playing it. 

Mouse Bounce is currently in the Apple and PlayStation Mobile review process. If all goes well it will be released within the next couple of weeks. Exciting!!!!



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