List everything about the game in one place.
Prioritize each item.
Define related tasks.
Sounds like a Product Backlog.
Free or cheap
Easy to use
Fast set up
If you are to do good work, you need to focus on what’s important.
Because everything can be done. Just not at the same time.
Why Trello? Why not Atlassian Jira?
I’m more of a Jira Software by Atlassian kind of guy for this usually. Wait. Atlassian acquired Trello. Oh well.
All the team collaborating, wiki editing, task managing, bug tracking, continuous integrating you’ll ever need, beautifully designed and integrated in one word: Atlassian. From Jira Software to Bitbucket via Confluence or any other software from Atlassian…nothing but great products.
I’ve been using Jira for years. I’m a big fan. However, for my current purpose, which is creating the Product Backlog of my one-man video game project called “All hands on deck!” (Ahod! – a 1v1 phase-based spaceship battle game) Trello is probably all I need. Plus everywhere I go, I hear nothing but good things about it. So I’m going to give it a go and try not to use Jira at all this time.
No promises though…
What’s a Product Backlog?
Borrowing from the Agile toolbox, I’m going to create a Product Backlog.
Backlogs are a collection of prioritized items that make your game from the player’s perspective. These are called User Stories and describe a piece of the experience you’d like your players to have. Then, they’re broken-down into Tasks (3D modeling, code, sound, UI etc.)
“From the player’s perspective” to ensure you never forget who you’re making your game for and what the end goal is. Creating an interactive experience. Not a bunch of 3D assets and some lines of code.
“Prioritized” to push you to make up your mind about what’s very important and what’s less important. Don’t tell me everything is very important. Because if it’s the case, it also means nothing is important.
This will outline the roadmap to completing the game while being able to adapt to changing circumstances.
What’s a Trello Board?
Trello Boards are made of columns. They represent a step in your workflow. And columns are made of cards. They are the User Stories, the Tasks, the notes etc. you need to do to deliver the game.
First, I’m going to create a column called Sandbox to put every idea or thing I should do at some point in one place. When I’m happy with an idea and think I should try it out I’ll move the card to the Backlog column. Here it will be prioritized. I will complete the work in the Backlog by priority and get them through a workflow (eg. a series of steps – see Kanban methodology to learn more) simply composed of 3 basic steps for now: To do, In progress and Done. I will update the worklow (eg. add steps) as I define the Definition of Done (DoD) more precisely :
Simple and efficient. What’s not to like.
Now. Let’s fill this thing with great ideas and crappy ones and find the right tools for the job so we can make them happen.