Update on Tooling

Mar
08

Update on Tooling

A few years back I posted an article outlining a few pointers of the tools I was using at the time and gave a brief explanation of their usefulness. In advance of the Layin’ Pipe release, I think that it’s time to revisit that list.

First up; Version Control System (VCS). I don’t really want to touch on Client-Server vs Distributed models of vcs’. I’ve decided to focus on the tool that we use and why. As with so many projects, companies and products out there we use Git. There really are many reasons for making this choice, one of my favorite being Git’s superior history. This combined with atomic commits make repositories easier to understand and easier to manage. There is a learning curve for working with Git and “thinking” Git, it’s true… don’t forget that the payoff is worth it.

Second up; Remote Project Hosting service. There are a few to choose from; in my mind there are 3 considerations for any indie. Bitbucket, GitHub and hosting your own service. When I initially shared my thoughts I was partial to Bitbucket. After a few years, I can say that I do not regret this choice what-so-ever. There are a few reasons why to chose Bitbucket over GitHub, and the largest being the ability to host private repositories from the get go at no cost. Crucial for any indie team. Bitbucket has all of the tools needed to manage a project, such as an issue tracker, easy to use user management, hooks for your favorite CI tools, a large community and my personal favorite, the ability to utilize pull requests. There is something to be said about hosting your own services (with CI tools in mind). It’s a thought to keep in the back of your head for when you’re ready to cross that bridge.

Next, Game Engine. People are passionate about this topic. All I can say is that each project is an opportunity to revisit this topic. We went from TGE to T3D to T2D to Unity. I’m thrilled with what Unity provides but am eager to dig into unreal again, not to mention the cool new toys(Amazon game engine anyone).

Art tools. Nothing has really changed here. Still a fan of Gimp. If you take time to learn it, it’s quite powerful. Blender for 3d art wins in the category of free to use modeling applications. A note on this topic. Programmer art is… programmer art… get an artist.

Penultimately, project management. When I touched on this subject years ago, I suggested to use aceproject. Ace Project is a great tool, but it is not a substitute for proper project management. Take time to do this right, it really is worth while. While I no longer use ace project, give it a look and see if it may help you and your project.

Finally. Get a good team. People you can rely on. People who can challenge you. This is, without a doubt, the most important factor in my success and the most important take away. I know… you can do it all on your own. I know that I can. I just can’t watch the years pass by with limited success. Find team members who work hard and are just as invested in success. Don’t let ’em go!

That’s all for now. Thanks again for reading!
RT

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