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Developer Diary 01: Everything's Still a Secret

Welcome to the Still-Secret-Name Developer Diary. I’m going to host this here on first because our real site doesn’t go live for some weeks to come. Hell, we haven’t even announced our name yet (although we do know what it is). So right now I’ll just keep that tiny fraction of the world that’s interested up to date through my own site. I've put up a picture of Mt. Ranier in Washington because I like it and since I'm not actually free to tell secrets or show images from the project, I figured I'd share this pretty picture I took.

Yes, we started our first official week of work on Labor Day. This is what happens when three people used to working from home and setting their own schedules agree on a date: we forget about larger calendrical happenings and focus on what works for us.

So, we’re off and running. Actually, all three of us have been jogging towards the start line for weeks or even months now. Jonathan’s been doing the basic research to see what needs to be done and set his schedule. Austin’s been working on logos and character sketches. I’ve been maintaining documents, writing new documents, pondering old documents, and scheduling new documents to come. But now things begin in earnest.

Jonathan’s first two weeks are going to be spent porting GLOP to Go. Wrap your head around that. It ain’t sexy, but it’s necessary. The product of his labors will be CC-licensed and otherwise open-sourced, so others can benefit from his efforts. We’re probably not the first video game made with Google’s Go programming language, but as far as we know right now, we’re the first serious, for profit company trying to make one using it.

Austin this week is finishing up our logo and diving into character design. It’s an odd thing, having to design characters for three totally different games at once even though we’re only going to make one of them over the next year. Since we eventually want to make all three of them, I don’t feel any of it is wasted effort, but only about a third of it will be directly useful to whatever game we spend most of the next year working on. Why are we designing for three games at once, you ask? That part is still kind of a secret.

Having written up the very basic design/pitch documents for the three games months ago, my first priority now is getting all the web site content written and ready for our official launch. Yesterday that meant finalizing the cool premiums we’re giving out to our supporters and writing up descriptions of them for our Web site and future fundraising pages. Sponsors? Fund raising? Also still kind of a secret.

Yesterday (Labor Day) we had our first on-the-clock meeting via Google+ Hangouts. We’ve used this group video chat throughout the organization process, both for Mob Rules and for Open Game Labs. I like it a lot so far, although it has some minor issues from time to time. Pro-tip: don’t try to drag and drop a pic into the chat. It crashes the whole thing, as Jonathan found out. I did it myself a couple weeks ago. It seems so natural, and yet is not at all what Google expects you to do.

The meeting was mostly be procedural stuff about getting paid and setting schedules and that sort of thing. Austin needs to make some stick figure sprites for testing. Jonathan needs to send a Austin a flow chart for animation, that sort of thing. During this eight week R&D period we have a chance to experiment with different work-flow and management processes and find out what suits us best. In general the plan is to talk at least once every day.

This weekend Jonathan is moving from New York to Seattle. Did I forget to mention that? My dreams of an all EST team, smashed. So who knows what time we’ll be having our daily meetings. Jonathan said he’s been having late night recently because he stays up to play League of Legends online with friends. Since they’re all on the West coast already, his gaming time should shift forward three hours. And hey, the other Open Game Labs founders are all out on the West Coast already, so I already feel like I’m operating on PST half the time anyway. Except I still get up before 7:00 AM most mornings.

I’ll be doing at least one of these Dev Diaries a week here, and even more stuff (including content from the other two guys) once the official site is up and running. So check back for that!

Reader Comments (12)

thank you for your sharing
September 6, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertablet
thank you for your sharing? Have we become an online branch of AA, surely I should have had something to drink first? Look forward to the big reveal Rick

Are you still gaming, and if so have you checked out Minecraft? Rage Quit meets Minecraft, now that book would sell :)
September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRoadshow
I'd ask "Why Go?", but then I'm sure the answer would require tasty unrevealed bits o' business model. ;)

- m
September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarkleford
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September 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarkleford
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