Three Phase Interactive started with the three of us working from our respective studies and we thought that would continue for quite a while, which it has. We immediately looked for ways to collaborate online. Why travel half an hour each way once a week to meet in person, when we can just Skype? We soon started having a Skype text conversation going each day, with frequent chats to work stuff out, along with a weekly catchup meeting.
With direct communication sorted, next we needed a way to easily share game ideas. Google Docs (now Google Drive) fitted the bill perfectly. You can create a document, then share it and even have multiple people edit it at the same time! We also used Google Drive for programmer task tracking and still use it for roadmaps and financial stuff. Using Google Drive requires a Gmail account, so our individual Gmail addresses were temporarily used as work email addresses until we chose a company name and hence had a domain name.
Perforce and Amazon’s EC2
Next, we needed a way to share the Unity project files for the prototype we were using. I did some research on the latest and greatest source control software, but nothing seemed better than something we were already very familiar with from our previous jobs: Perforce. Perforce is a bit of a game dev industry standard for bigger teams, so we knew it would be rock solid for us. To minimize cost and maximise performance (ie speed and uptime), we decide to use Amazon's EC2 free tier to host a Perforce server. Because we only needed three users, Perforce was also free!
Now that the ideas were flowing and I was expanding my knowledge in so many directions, I decided to make use of some mind mapping software. I went with Freeplane, as I had used it before. Once I got my head around the whole project, I started using it less and less. An online mind mapping tool might be useful for brainstorming sessions...
We started using the excellent online to-do list collaboration tool Trello at the beginning of our second project, as a simple Google Drive to-do document wasn't cutting it any more. It's a good compromise between full on task tracking software and a simple text document, for a small team that uses a very iterative process (more on that in another Blog post).Next time I'll cover our favourite Unity plugins and later, some more game focused tools we use.
- Paul (@pbaker05)