028 - Mar 17, 2019

Welcome back!

Over the last two weeks I mostly worked on things that I need for www.akigi.com.

Because I'm building my own library for building client side web apps with Rust most of my work wasn't on the Akigi website, but rather on adding feature to Percy that I needed for Akigi.

The main thing that I worked on were a procedural macro for routing - along with a few other smaller features.

The reason for this was mentioned in the last journal entry - we were working on adding the ability to sign up for a monthly membership subscription to the game from the website.

I'm most of the way there - but still have a few checklist items left before you can start paying for the game from the website.

After that I'll be turning my attention back to the gameplay and really focusing in on making something compelling that we can start putting into the hands of some real players!

A New Development Process Going Forwards

I said that I'll be focusing on gameplay - but I've said that before.

Inevitably something always comes up with my underlying tech or infrastructure that causes me to jump away from the game in order to build or fix that tech/infrastructure problem.

While I want to continue investing in my underlying tech so that long term I can build at an incredible pace, I don't want to let that constantly pull me away from building gameplay functionality.

I need a more healthy balance. I have much more tech than actual gameplay and that needs to change.

The way I'm changing that is by adopting a new development process that will force me to prioritize, plan and then produce in a much more strategic cadence.

The idea came from a process that we use at my day job called Super Cycles - which was inspired by blog posts by buffer, basecamp and intercom about their own product development processes.

The Super Cycle

The way that my Super Cycle will look for Akigi is very similar to how we do it at my job.

I'll have a 6 week cycle - 1 week for prioritizing and planning, 5 weeks for producing, then I'll rinse and repeat.

Prioritizing/Planning Week

During the prioritizing/planning week (PP week) I'll be planning what needs to get done next. I'll also be allowed to work on pure engineering / technical infrastructure work that isn't user facing.

Things like as improving deployment scripts or our CI setup, or automating different parts of my development workflow.

Anything that invests in our ability to produce long term - but isn't necessarily an immediate problem that needs to be taken care of.

Having this dedicated week gives me the time and space to invest in tech that will increase our development speed and reduce friction - but all in a defined chunk of time so that I have to pick and choose what I invest in now vs. what can come in future planning weeks.

Produce Weeks

The next 5 weeks are produce weeks. This is when I execute on the prioritization/planning that happened during PP week and build things that will have a direct impact on players.

This will usually be things such as working on art assets, adding a new area to the game, building new things to do in the game or really anything that provides an immediate benefit to players.

This isn't to say that no engineering/technical investments will happen in this time - but if they do they'll only be ones that are absolutely necessary and are blocking other Produce work. An example of this would be deploying a server to accept payments. In order for players to be able to sign up and pay for the game I'd need to create a way for them to do so.

While doing so I might notice ways that I might refactor the deployment process for faster deploys. That would then be something that I'd note and save for a future PP week.

PP week is for prioritizing and planning as well as projects that aren't immediate wins, and the product weeks are for delivering gameplay and features that players will love.

I'm hoping that this new structure will help me focus on doing the right things at the right times, and I'm sure that as we go we'll notice little tweaks that we can make to the process to make it more and more efficient and tailored to how I work best.

Next Week

By next week I'll have the payments server working so that players can pay for the game (although there's certainly work left to make it even worth paying for).

I'll also build the first version of the equipment interface so that you can equip and dequip items in the game.

I'll be starting off the first Super Cycle on the first Sunday in April, so until then I'll continue to build features and think a bit more about how I want the cycle to look.

Cya next time!