Developing in team

As you might know I’m the ‘lead’ of Saturn Valley Online. It’s an MMORPG game I started way back in 2006 when all I knew was PlayerWorlds (which I now know, sucks compared to a real game engine). Since then a lot of things changed, people came and went but luckily two are still around (is it that hard to find dedicated people in this age?).

We started out with vbGORE, an engine written in Visual Basic 6, it got to a point where it was seen as ‘finished’ for a vanilla engine to work with, this being said, using Subversion (SVN) was pretty easy and an absolute must when we were working together on program code and graphics. Luckily the other guys were smart enough to make good use of this.

As simple as it may seem I’ve found that it’s pretty hard to keep people around when you’re just familiar with each other through chatting over the internet. It has happened multiple times already that people ask to join our development team explaining they can and want to do this and that, but in the end they weren’t motivated enough to stay around and maybe did only a handful of things (or less) before they quietly left, never to be heard from again.

It seems when there’s no actual paycheck involved people tend to make impulsive decisions about wanting to help out but as fast as they said they would help out they disappear again only days (or in some cases a week or two) later. This is pretty frustrating as you make a schedule for things that need to be done and assign a couple of tasks to these people. In the end these tasks don’t get executed well, if at all.

Therefore, if you ever find yourself in a situation like this (being a person who wants to join a dev team) stop everything you’re doing and take a few minutes to consider if you really want to spend time developing things. Even 2 to 3 hours a week (that’s less than 30 minutes a day!) is fine for smaller teams and applications that are being made ‘for fun’. If you can’t keep this up do yourself and the team a favor and do not ‘apply for a job’ because it will only cause frustrations. Rather freelance stuff for the project, this way you can do it whenever you feel like it and no one will complain if it takes a long time or if you disappear for 5 months.

SVO has been around for 4 years now (2 years publicly) and because of the above we’re still in the early stages of the game (another thing to take into account is the switch of game engines) instead of having a real enjoyable online game for the Earthbound (or Mother if you prefer) fans out there. Luckily this project is just for fun and because we can else it would’ve been trashed a long time ago.