New Update Format: Monster of the Week (every two weeks though) I

Published on 2017-11-10

Hey guys,
This is Sinikka, with a new update format. So you asked for more frequent updates? Here's the deal: I'd like to update you more frequently, but have the guys keep working on the game. Agreed? So here's "Monster of the Week" and the guys don't have a say in it *evil laugh* (don't worry though, we're not replacing the updates you're used to, this goes on top ;))

I will try to write a quick update after each "sprint planning", which means that you will hear from us every 2 weeks. These updates will be a lot shorter and will most likely not contain fancy screenshots or videos. I'm planning to focus on just one person or thing per "episode", kinda "monster of the week"-like, but every two weeks :D. The first one wasn't exactly planned, so it has no focus and is also a bit longer and potentially weirder ^^

Find out for yourselves in: "Monster of the Week"So we just came out of our latest sprint planning... "Eh? Whatawhat planning?", you ask? Wait, I'll try to give you a quick introduction to Scrum, in order to explain (warning: most likely TLDR):

Agile, Scrum, Sprints and things

What is this Scrum thing?
We've experimented with different (agile) project management methods. We tried Kanban and we're now back to using our version of Scrum. Scrum has a not-too-tiny set of rules. We're not following all of them, but instead continually adjust them to our needs. Scrum is all about taking ownership, trusting your team members and allowing change. That's what the core of Scrum is to us.

And what's this Sprint you mentioned?
A sprint in Scrum is a timeboxed development unit that usually spans between 1 and 4 weeks, in our case, we decided to do 2 week sprints. Each sprint starts with a planning session in which we pick the highest priority items from our product backlog (the thing that represents our entire game in list form). Fun fact: Our backlog contains roughly 2000 items currently still to do. Sound scary? :D Planning is done when each team member has "used up" his 80 hours (2 weeks) in estimated hours for the items we agreed to finish in the coming sprint. Every sprint ends with a quick retrospective where we go over what is done, what is not done and most importantly why what is not done is not done. (at this point in development, unfortunately, "done" basically never means "actually done", but rather "done for now, needs loads more work at a later stage in development", which makes everything a whole lot more complicated ^^)

Sit down, it's Daily Stand up time
Here we go with our own rules. For our "Stand up" we sit down together and update each other on our progress: What I did yesterday. What I'm planning to do today. And is there anything blocking my progress?

Enough about Scrum, I guess. If you're still interested in more details on Scrum and Agile adn stuff, check out https://www.scrumalliance.org/why-scrum/core-scrum-values-roles or basically just google Scrum.
Also, if you have any questions about Scrum, how and why we use it or anything else for that matter, you can always write an email to support@mooneyestudios.com or hit me up on Twitter @SinDangDevil

So... back to that sprint planning

Here's what we got done (meaning "done for now", as you now know):

We all worked on the last Kickstarter update to varying degrees and fought onions ^^
We had a massive story session and discussed length and content of VO texts etc
We had a gameplay session to discuss what would make a specific sequence (spoiler territory ;)) in the game the most fun it can be, we'll be doing these a lot and for each area in the coming weeks
Max is almost done with the concept art for the human characters that appear in memory sequences. Unfortunately that took a little longer than we estimated, but they look awesome
Tobi worked on the companion that is now pretty much able to help you find your way in case you get lost, he also put some work in the hummingbird and mole controls and worked on 20 different things that I cannot tell you about because spoilers ^^
Matthias is making pretty things prettier or making entirely new pretty things for our world and adjusting level design after our gameplay discussions
And Pascal is kinda close to losing his mind due to weird camera behaviours, but he'll manage, no worries ;)
And we were also working with our brand new stop watches for the first time, as we're trying to get better at estimations and planning, we're each individually tracking our time to see if our initial estimations were realistic
This is it for right now. Please let me know what you think about this new format. No worries, we'll still do the bigger fancy updates, just as we did before.
Should you prefer to get these shorter inbetween updates as a comment instead of a proper Kickstarter update, let me know and I'll switch to comments :)

Cheers,

Sinikka