Dev Dispatch #04: Delivering the Genesis Guardian Drop
By Mihai Necula, Producer
Hello Nyan Army!
My name is Mihai and I’m one of the Producers for our in-development game Nyan Heroes. I helped manage our newly-released Genesis Guardian Drop, and I’m excited to wrap up this section of the Dispatches covering the Drop.
Today I will share with you some insights over how the team came together to work & deliver the Guardian Drop.
For me as a Producer, it was key for the team to be clear on a couple of things first:
1. Clear team delivery goal
2. Clear team communication channels
3. Clear team production pipeline
4. Quality Assurance
How do you create a clear team delivery goal?
We had to start with separating what we know from what we do not. What we knew is that we want for our NFTs to:
· Be at a AAA quality & be visually stunning.
· Make each Genesis Guardian NFT unique.
· Give our holders a great digital sensory experience to unlock their mechs.
But we were still missing the “How”. Brainstorm options, prototype, take decisions.
How are we going to achieve our 3 pillars for the drop? How are we going to build the backend logic & present it trough a visual wrapper?
Achieving our first pillar — Be at a AAA quality & be visually stunning.
Designing the mechs — Here we had our talented Art team design & build our in-engine mechs & attachments. (If you missed Emman’s Dev Dispatch about the mech design, you can read it here). We took the decision to go for in-engine because it provided us with the desired graphical fidelity while also making our lives easier when needing to generate MANY unique mechs.
Making them shine — We could not allow for our mechs to be rendered in a simple T-pose. To ensure this, the Art team along with our Principal Technical Designer, Tom Bolton, worked together in creating the correct in-game scenery for our mechs. This added a sprinkle of life by making our mechs pose and say cheese for the in-game cameras. The posing itself was a challenge as we had to select the correct position for our mechs to correctly reflect each combination of attachments + mech bulkiness.
Achieving our second pillar — Making each Genesis Guardian unique
How do you create 11,111 unique mechs? This is where Tom’s genius came into play. Our dear Tom had the daunting task of creating a script that would take all the variables of our mechs, mix them together and generate 11,111 unique mechs. A very detailed & technical description of this herculean feat has already been written by the man himself and you can feast your eyes on his epic journey here.
Achieving our third pillar — Give our holders a great digital experience to unlock their mechs
It became clear pretty quickly that we needed a platform that could express all this backend logic. We made the decision to create a website that could be used as a visual wrapper, meaning that it would easily and pleasantly unfold at the correct time.
As such, we created a separate team that would handle the design of the website, handle the backend blockchain logic that would connect with Tom’s mech generation script, and finally communicate with the partner NFT websites. The technical details of this task have been described by Nayef Zarrour, our Web3 Operations Lead, in our previous Dev Dispatch.
How do you create clear communication channels in a fully-remote studio operating around the globe?
As a Producer, it is important to make sure that the team is able to communicate efficiently to keep information flowing, set clear priorities, and understand blockers.
A first step towards reaching this goal was making sure that I knew every team member’s time zone and comfortable working hours in order to find the ‘golden hour’ for syncs. These started as daily syncs in the beginning.
It was important to have daily syncs initially to be able to mature the conversations and set a work routine. As time progressed and things became clearer and clearer, we reduced the meeting cadence to what fulfilled our needs at the time.
Once this ‘golden hour’ was established and syncs were set, we needed a clear meeting structure. The conversations were always steered around the following pillars:
1. Meeting Agenda — Setting the topics for the day based on previous meetings & conversations.
2. Decisions Made — Steering the ship with clear instructions.
3. Notes — A more detailed writeup of the whys & hows so everyone can understand why some decisions were made.
4. Action Items & Owners — A clear set of task that had to be achieved with clear owners, in order to progress.
5. Open Items — Items that still needed discussions, debates & decisions.
The final step was to create a general conversations channel in which all participants to the Genesis Guardian Drop development could share their progress, and discuss and debate blockers in real time.
How do you create a clear production pipeline?
All things in game development are closely linked together and they have to follow a strict set of events and order.
Once the team understood what they need to build, it was my task as a Producer to get the Leads and Senior staff together, break the work down to a level we can easily track and steer, and assign ownership to outline everything in a timeline with clear milestones & delivery dates.
QA — The cherry on top
The Genesis Guardians might look nice, but the website and minting process must function properly as well. This was very clear for us at Nyan Heroes.
Once we had a functional, almost-final product we began the iterative process of testing & polishing the product on various levels, including website functionality and blockchain logic functionality.
Since the visual wrapper was a website we had to create various test cases like:
- Testing the website & all its functionalities on various browsers.
- Testing the website on various resolutions to see how all the visual elements blend together.
- Test the wallet connectivity for every supported wallet.
- Test the blockchain logic functionality in a dev environment to make sure that the user will receive the correct NFT with the correct tokens.
Test → Find the bug → Report — Fix — Test again
Thank you for reaching the end of my wall of text. I’ve done my best to give you guys a high-level perspective of the production processes that had to be set in place in order to successfully deliver the Genesis Guardian Drop.
Thanks, see you soon & keep the feedback coming because we do listen and consider every comment.