Communicating with a Remote Team

Oct 29th, 2008 | By | Category: Game Industry

One of the key challenges with managing such a diverse and geographically spread out team is communications.. We have 46 members now from Pakistan to LA and getting them all included in talks and discussions is critical.  The problem is that no one seems to have a standards IM they use..  So you need the ability to not only be able to speak with them on their terms in a way that is convenient for you but also offer them additional and easy to use methods to participate in group discussions.  This is what I do:

For myself my Linux IM clients of choice are:

GAIM/Pidgin: http://www.pidgin.im/ :

Gaim Allows me to connect to multiple clients(AIM, ICQ, Gtalk, etc etc)and have everything in one easy to use program.  The big downside for me on this is that it doesn’t support offline MSN messages, which can be important at times

aMsn: http://www.amsn-project.net/:

Because of my need for offline messaging I use this.. It is nice and simple and offers a lot of options that make my life easier.  For some reason though my webcam only broadcasts in Dark Purple 🙁

IRC: http://konversation.kde.org/:

IRC is a bit trickier.. I don’t have enough registered Undernet users to register a channel but what I do have is an Eggdrop Bot that connects from my webserver and holds the channel for me, and gives me op status when I log in.  Although not as used as IM’s IRC does get a lot of use during our weekly meetings as it allows everyone, no matter what, get together for a real time txt chat while we are carrying on in Teamspeak

Forums: http://www.yabbforum.com/:

I’ve been using YaBB for years now and am happy with it.. Unfortunately the community isn’t as active as it once was so the amount of plugins working with the latest versions have been dropping off severly but it still does what I need it to do and changing over the 7000 posts to another BB system would be hell.  We have all WIP concepts and models posted up here for group discussions and really hammer home the importance of everyone getting together for discussions.. Recently this has really taken off with speedpainting threads being very active and more importantly theories behind game story and mechanics(fashion for example).

Task Manager: www.dotproject.net:

The ONLY way this team runs at all is because of Dot.Project.  All tasks and jobs go through this site and it allows me to quickly check on peoples progress(as long as they are updating it) and carry on more 1on1 communications with people regarding their individual tasks.  All final models, textures and whatnot are uploaded here and kept in a nice centralized location for easy access and reference later on.. Dot project has something changed the way we run the team and it is the primary reason for our success.  It should be noted that some PHP hacking was needed to make it do what we needed and it does take a lot of diligence setting all of your tasks up and staying on top of having jobs lined up for months ahead of time.

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