Swedish health authorities have increased the risk of general spread of COVID-19 and have also banned gatherings with more than 500 people. Wild Games as well as many tech and game companies in Stockholm have asked their employees to work from home now during the spread of COVID-19. We’re not only doing this to take care of our own and our families health, but we’re also mindful of the spread on a macro level in the country. The fewer people out there to spread the disease, the easier it will be for our health system to cope with the amount of people needing intensive care and flatten the curve of severe cases.
Being only six people, it is quite easy for us to move over to completely working remotely. We are quite used to this already with one of our team members working onsite 4 days a week and the 5th day from home in Dalarna.
When we started Wild Games we didn’t have an office to begin with, and we hadn’t bought any hardware or licenses so we were forced to work remotely while keeping cost in mind. For us this has worked well, and we have very good output even when not working in our office. We will continue to work from home and assess how the situation develops.
Below are the tools we use to solve WFH (Wild From Home)
- Slack is our preferred software for the quick and regular ad hoc communication. We still use the free version and have channels for different things like the game, builds, tools and of course a general chat. We also do direct messaging here.
- Hangouts we use for group audio or video chat when we have specific things to discuss and needs to share a screen. We rarely use this, but it has been handy at sometimes when there’s a presentation or a document to go through and discuss as a group.
- Outlook is part of Office 365 and we are paying for this. It’s mostly used for mail communication with external parties as well as meeting bookings and scheduling.
File sharing & storage
- We use GitHub Team as our file management system for our game code and assets. We are paying for the version we have now but used a free version up until we were funded. We are also using the issue tracker here for bugs and tasks.
- In Office 365 we have both Sharepoint as our shared company drive and OneDrive for our personal files. With this cloud solution we can make sure all files are available both in our office, as well as at home.
Engine & Tools
- Unity is our engine of choice, and since we are funded, we are paying for the Unity Pro version. There is a free version that we used before that worked well for the time being, but it lacked a few features you want when you want to develop a game. Unity also handles all builds, and it’s very easy to get new builds onto our phones for game reviews. We have also paid extra to have concurrent builds to speed up the build creation.
- Visual Studio has a community version that is free under certain conditions, and as we are so few developers using it that still applies to us. You can read the license terms here.
- Houdini has a free version that we started using but have now moved over to the paid version since last month to be able to better integrate with Unity.
- Blender is our 3D and animation tool of choice since it’s both free and get’s the job done.
- Adobe CC costs a monthly subscription fee, but it has all the tools we need for concepts, textures, fonts etc.
- Office 365 we have already mentioned, but we of course use the apps in this package as well. Excel is for budgets, balancing and some general planning. PowerPoint we use for all kinds of presentations like vision documents and high level planning. Word is for writing and documenting all kind of things.
- Confluence has a free version that we are using to document and track things. For instance, we have done a few retrospects that are documented there, and we also have a lot of the game design and tasks documented there.
All of the above software can be installed or used both on our work and our personal machines, which eliminates the need for VPN or Remote Desktop. We of course use two factor authentications on all our logins to keep our data and information safe.
Given how small we are we don’t really need a big planning system like the ones we are used to from our previous larger companies. Our process is very iterative and adaptable with a lot of focus on software primarily, but of course with regular high level and long-term planning as well. We will talk more about that process at a later point.
Stay safe out there, and a big thanks to everyone making the society work even in a crisis period like the one we are in now.