We decided to start working on Project Viva Nook in February 2011, we tried our best to use our crystal balls to see into the future and we saw that the game was supposed to be finished in October.
Everybody was happy and we started working a little now and then. If Project Viva Nook would’ve been Simba in The Lion King this was supposed to be the part in the jungle when they sing and walk on the log over the river and by the time the reach the other side Simba is grown up.
The only thing that would differ would be that in our version of the movie it’s only Timon and Pumba that gets older, Simba stays a child and has only learned a couple of words but is nowhere near ready to battle Scar.
Below is a numeric list where I list why Simba didn’t grow up.
Top one reasons why we missed our deadline
1. We had no planning what so ever.
I signed up for an account and started adding features to implement totally at random (moved over the things from our google-spreadsheet), I did spend about half an hour doing this until I realized how much there was that wasn’t designed yet.
So instead of answering the question of how long a rope is I decided to break down the game in some major chunks and then pinpoint what was needed in the different parts.
I called Simon to tell him that we really need to make some decisions and design features!… But he didn’t answer. I called Niklas to check if he knew were Simon was and he told me that, Simon was at his place but that he was going to India for three months the next day.
This shock some things around, now I needed to design the game to start with and then later change it if Simon wanted to AND I found the perfect date for an Alpha.
The Alpha would be ready when Simon came back so that he could just replace the temporary graphics and with fancy new designs and the use our amazing tools to create the game world.
To get my mind around what we needed to complete I grabbed my most colorful stabilo pens and started to draw all screens of pieces of paper, defining the major chunks. I even used a different color on each piece of paper.
This was last Thursday and this Sunday, suddenly a wild Simon appeared! Apparently he didn’t like Delhi that much so after spending just one night there he decided to go back to Sweden again, that is a 16 hour flight, so yes, last weekend he did spend more time in the air than in India.
Anyways Simon’s trip to India was a sidetrack but it got me to do some basic design and to set a date for the alpha.
So once again we have a date but the last three hours I’ve spent planning the project and when all of us have made our time estimates and planned how much we will work on the game in Q1 we will see if that date is realistic or not.
Another feature of Fogbugz is that you can track what you are currently working on so that you know if something takes more or less time than you estimated.
I should probably write some update post during Q1 2012 so that I can evaluate if we are making better progress with a plan, hopefully we do and Project Viva Nook is the last project we work on without a plan.