What’s up folks. It’s supersoup flying solo today. Let’s talk a bit about the Architect Update, what it represents for the future of NewCity, and what the road map looks like moving forward.
Before we begin, it is my distinct privilege to introduce you to NewCity’s new Project Manager: supersoup. It’s me. Look at me, I’m the Project Manager now.
Hey look ma, I made it.
Suffice it to say, Lone Pine, Gainos, and I are just three indie devs with a dream and the passion to make it happen. While that’s great for the prototype phase of a product, one place where we’ve struggled is organization. We took on tasks internally as issues arose or we found a feature we were excited to implement. But there was no consistent vision, no plan beyond the near future. Sure, we have ideas about where we’re headed, but one thing we lacked was a road map. A single source of truth when it came to what’s up next and then what’s after that. Not to mention a list of the tasks meant for each new patch, a to-do list that could reveal whether we’re on track or letting things slip.
What we needed was a bit of project management.
Here’s the thing: except for the individual work of software development, I really don’t have any experience with this. With the work of turning a massive project into bite-sized pieces and building this road map for the team. But I have a passion for learning new skills, and there are many successful developers I’ve followed for decades now who offer glimpses into the magic behind the scenes. So basically, we’re going to be figuring this out as we go along.
Well, the early results are promising to say the least.
We’ve begun implementing the Agile development paradigm in the form of Scrum. This means that our Asana task haystack has been ported over to Jira, and I’m in the process of organizing our tasks into weekly sprints with a list of the work that will be going into each patch. Each task is assigned to a member of the team and given a value that represents the approximate amount of work that will be involved. Rather than a skyscraper-sized list of tasks that we pick from as we feel motivated, we have a clear objective with each sprint and a list of all the tasks (along with the estimated time required) that must be completed to achieve it. It may sound like a simple thing, but it’s already had an enormous impact on our productivity and our ability to plan for the future.
The first fruit of this newfound organization is the Architect Update, which was the brainchild of our very own Lone Pine. The Building Designer is largely a tool for the development team. We use it to create the designs that fill out your cities. We knew it would be an invaluable tool for modders, so we rolled it into the game as something you could use yourself. Given all the designs we’ve seen popping up on Discord you’ve been having fun. That’s encouraging to see.
But we knew it could be better. We heard your feedback, and internally we had some feedback of our own. The result was the Architect Update: a complete remaster of the Building Designer intended for ease of use, granular control, and custom decorations. Yeah, custom as in imported .obj models. We’re just as excited as you are.
Gainos has done some incredible work creating the core set of custom decorations that shipped with the update. They’re just the tip of the iceberg, though; we can’t wait to see what you make. There’s really no limit but your imagination. Want to design a city with Asian influences? Craving a splash of cyberpunk in your cities? It’s all possible now. Armed with your favorite modeling software, you can turn any design into something colorful and dense. Revisions to the node-based system for positioning, scaling, and rotating structures and decorations means that it’s easier to build designs than ever before.
This is the beginning of a new era for NewCity. And this is just the first stop on our road map.
We really had a lot of fun putting the Architect Update together. And we learned that with a well-defined, achievable goal, we can make some pretty significant updates to the game in a reasonable amount of time. Expect this to be the first in a monthly cadence of “epic” themed releases. There’s a lot of stops left on the road map, and many major features that have been floating through our collective minds without a solid plan for executing on them. Now we have a plan, and we’re ready to make them happen.
So what can you expect with the next epic release? We’re not quite ready to say. Part of Agile/Scrum development is flexibility; we have a goal, but frankly, we might miss it from time to time. That said, we’re going to take the first few weeks of every epic release cycle to figure out what it’s going to contain. As soon as we can, we’ll let you know with trailers and other media. But perhaps, on rare occasions, it may remain a surprise up until the day it drops. Just to keep things interesting.
All this while maintaining the weekly rhythm of patches for bug fixes and minor features. But now each week we’ll also be laying the groundwork for major updates yet to come.
It’s time to hit the road again. We’ve got another stop on the map coming up toward the end of August, and there’s a lot of ground to cover between now and then. Thank you for jouning us on this journey. We hope you’re as excited as we are for the future of NewCity.
Questions? Comments? Feedback on the game? Sound off on our Discord.
As always, we’re incredibly thankful for our great community across the web. We love seeing the hard work and attention to detail you pour into your cities, and it inspires us every day to keep building. Thank you again for your support.
If you want to play the game and haven’t contributed yet, head over to our IndieGoGo page. We’re also on Reddit and Twitter. Give us a follow if you haven’t, and we’ll keep you up to date on what’s new with New Cities!