Indie game project organisation

september 21, 2011 11:25am

At the time of writing our project contains over 6800 files, nearing 700 check-ins to our depository. With such a massive project, how do we manage all this stuff?

Document
Use documentation, but don't over-document. Keep a small list of documents, with a clear naming convention that contain all the design and creative frameworks for your project. Keep the documents up-to-date after a meeting or discussion and be sure that all the stakeholders are in agreement with the contents of the documents.

Don't over-document or have structure for your documents so that your ideas and guidelines don't get lost in the mess. Things that are lost are forgotting, or you need to spend time reinventing the wheel. Make sure to purge your main folder of documents that you no longer need; back them up somewhere else. Our project is spanning almost 9 months yet we require only 9 documents.

Standardise
Standerdising folder structures and make sure to maintain and enforce naming conventions as you go. When you generate new content for your project which requires a new set of folders, spend time considering the implications of your structure and learn from the mistakes. A lack of structure in files and folders will get you lost in your project or will require you to waste a lot of time hunting files through tiny, constraining dialogue windows.

Similarly, standardise your data. On our project we enforce a strict do-not-scale assets policy, where ALL 3D assets adhere to the rule that 1 unit equals 1 meter. If you missed this and you have a ton of content, all in a random scale, it'll be just another annoyance when you have to keep doing the math and your game editing experience turns into a data-entry job. Another benefit is that there's no redundancy; you never find any discrepancies between the in-engine size of something and the actual asset itself when you make it a habit to never scale anything from the editor.

We're happy to be sharing our insights with you. Make sure to follow us on Twitter and tell us what you think!

-Sjors


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