Working in a hub: Fictiorama

Badland_Publishing_Fictiorama_Do Not Feed The Monkeys

In relation to the release of their new videogame, we have had the opportunity to talk with our colleagues from Fictiorama Estudios about what it’s like to work in a hub..

At Fictiorama we are strong advocates of working with colleagues in the same office. Of course, we are aware that working with remote teams has countless advantages and, of course, there are times when it is the only alternative. But for our two most ambitious projects so far, Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today and Do Not Feed the Monkeys, from the very first moment we tried (and got) the basic development team to work in the same physical space.

Maybe it’s because, at the moment, we don’t know the right communication and management techniques to optimize productivity in remote work processes; but, for now, we haven’t found anything more agile than getting up from the chair and approaching a colleague’s team, at the next table, to be able to make a suggestion about their work.

Porting Dead Synchronicity

In that sense, for more than two and a half years we have been working hand in hand with Badland. And when we say hand in hand, we mean that we have our workspace inside the Badland offices. Sharing physical space, Fictiorama’s first collaboration with Badland, the publication of Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today for PS4, was a fast and agile process: Roberto Garcia, the Badland programmer who made the port for Sony’s console, was in permanent communication with Mario Oliván, co-founder of Fictiorama and programmer of the original version of the PC game.

While working on someone else’s code is always hard work (understanding it already is, most of the time) Sitting a few feet away made the process much faster, since any doubt was solved in a matter of seconds. Both being Unity experts, did the rest.

Badland_Publishing_Fictiorama_Do Not Feed The Monkeys

Following guidelines on submissions

Likewise, working side by side with BadLand Publishing made us share with them all the processes of publishing the game on consoles (first on PS4, later on Switch) Both in physical format (Dead Synchronicity was published in retail format for PS4) and digital.

Badland_Publishing_Fictiorama_Do Not Feed The Monkeys

The submissions, with their bug reports; the creation of and multimedia materials for the digital stores. The design and approval of the cover, inlay, disc, instruction manuals …

In addition, BadLand Publishing usually includes in its physical editions. We participated in all of this and we collaborated whenever we could, in close collaboration with its production team.

And the same thing happened with the press and marketing processes; areas in which, from Fictiorama, we have always liked to contribute with everything in our hands, usually editing the trailers of our games ourselves and sometimes adding content to press releases and official communications. 

Collaboration with Badland’s marketing and PR team has always been smooth and fast… among other reasons because we are separated by 3 tables!

Do Not Feed the Monkeys, on the other hand, has been growing within Badland since it was only a GDD (Game Design Document).

Unlike our first game, Dead Synchronicity, which had conventional adventure mechanics, with DNFTM from the beginning we have sought a completely unique and very immersive experience, based mainly on the mixture of narrative mechanics (observation, research, decision making …) and resource management (money, health, food, dream …).

This process of construction of the way of playing forced us to redefine again and again mechanics and narrative, because both factors are perfectly intertwined; and that is because in DNFTM the player literally plays with the words he hears and points out in his “observation notebook”.

First game testers… in-house

Having a structure like Badland’s was very useful for us. As both his team and the members of other development studios collaborating with BadLand Publishing formed the first batch of testers that tested the initial prototypes of Do Not Feed the Monkeys, and whose feedback helped us to get the first playing experience underway.

Many months later, with Badland as co-developer, and Alawar Premium as publisher… our monkeys finally see the light!

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