In the last post of the series about how i built fortmcmoney.com, i will talk about the challenges of making a game with weekly updates and made my conclusion.
The delivery rush
In all projects i’ve worked on, we face delivery rush. Some are bigger and more stressful than others but they are the reality of web, software and game development. Usually, the delivery rush is between 2 to 5 days before project launch. On fortmcmoney.com, the delivery rush last 30 days. That means 30 days without any day off, eating in front of your computer and nothing other in mind than Fort McMoney. This as been the toughest period of my career.
Fortunately for me, Akufen, who was in charge of all back-end development, bring another Flash developer to help me on dashboard’s development, 30 days before launch day. This guy has been very effective and helped me a lot. His help was incredible, but that was not enough, even if he worked long hours, even on weekend.
So, two weeks before deadline, ONF recruited 4 flash developers to help us deliver project in time (delaying delivery was not an option).
Their help was incredible. They were supportive and made great job during the final rush. My job switched from flash developer to flash team leader in a single day. I had to teach them how the project worked, write installation wiki and guide them through the code to made them productive. Hopefully, everyone around the table was so talented. It made my job so much easier that i’ve even found time to resolve bugs and write code of some critical parts of the application.
Challenges with weekly updates
This is something i’ve experienced on two other projects in the past, and for each of them, it as been the most difficult part and the one who gave us the most headaches. Most of the time, even if we write-up specific guidelines about how to create contents for weekly updates, project writers were having a hard time following them. It was a constant battle against who had to changes is mind. Was this a problem in development or in storytelling? Nobody knows, but we have to find a way to made everyone happy and deliver the best project as possible.
On fortmcmoney.com, updates were deployed each sunday at midnight. Most of the time, we were testing content a day or two before pushing it live. QA team was working 24/7 to write tickets and development team had to rush to resolve as much tickets as possible before sunday.
During the first game cycle (each game cycle is 4 weeks), we had a lots of problems. Some videos were not playing as expected, some players were locked in a particular location and game scenario does not run as supposed. I was expecting very bad response from users, but i was wrong. Users love the game so much that they created an unofficial Facebook page (in french only) to discuss about issues during gameplay and ways to come across these problems.
Fortunately for us, the second game cycle had run much smoother. The game was more mature and we had more time to resolve content’s issues.
Thanks to users dedication
This as been the most unexpected and enjoyable part of the project. Users were so implicated and passionate about the project than i could imagine. As i said earlier, they created an unofficial Facebook page to discuss about issues during gameplay and ways to come across these problems. I’ve subscribed to the fan page and follow up their discussions to find unresolved bugs. Also, some people were giving pretty good tips on how we could improve the game.
I would like to personally thanks all people who played on fortmcmoney.com. Your support and comments have been great and help me during the dark times.
Specials thanks to
I would like to finish this series with a special thanks to folks who made this project possible. I’ve worked with amazing and talented people who put their hearts and souls in this project.
- David Dufresne, project creator, freelancer
- Phillipe Lamarre, creation/art director, Toxa
- Raphaëlle Huysman, producer, Toxa
- Pauline Boisbouvier, project manager, Toxa
- Maude Thibodeau, designer, Toxa
- Clara Gautier, QA, Toxa
- Julie Bouleau, QA, Toxa
- Claudie Gravel, QA, Toxa
- Chris Lebel, technical director, Akufen
- Xavier Aymond, back-end developer, Akufen
- Etienne Cella, flash developer, Akufen
- Martin Viau, project manager, ONF
- Suciu Sergiu Raul, IT, ONF
- Guillaume Tomasi, flash developer, freelancer
- Julien Fondère, flash developer, auguste+louis
- Lionel Castellvi, flash developer, auguste+louis
- Frédéric Lemieux, technical directory
- Clément Guillou, back-end developer
- Guillaume Perreault-Roy, game designer
Finally, i would like to thank my awesome girlfriend for being such comprehensive and supportive during the final rush. I was so grumpy and such a pain to live with during the final stage of the projet. Love you xxxxx