Cheap game design

Hypothetically lets assume you’re a gamer with an idea for a game.  This should be easy to imagine.  You want to make a game but have no money.  Once you have chosen your team, and gotten some idea of what you are building (with a game design document), and picked your distribution/coding platform, you realize that you need to keep track of a lot of different kinds of information.  Specifically bug and issue tracking.

There are many great services out there with the ability to track issues, but there is another method which is often overlooked.  You can build your own bug tracker using  As we were starting the ZoRTS project the Lead Coder asked me to find bug tracker to use.  As a manager on a project with no money something with low cost is ideal.  The following video on youtube provided the answer.


  • Works with other Google services
  • Cheap! As in free.
  • Hand built to do exactly what you need it to do.


  • There are other methods which may be better
    • Basecamp (Which the ZoRTS project would like to use)
    • Assembla (Which the ZoRTS project is using)
    • 50 others.

There are a couple factors left out of the pros and cons.  For example using as your issue tracker takes effort to build and maintain.  You have to have and idea of what kinds of things you need to track ahead of time, and how the page is going to be used.  The ZoRTS website includes an example page so that you can get an idea of the kinds of columns that you might need.  However this is a moot point as you still need to spend time and effort updating and recording in any bug tracker.  It might just take a minute or two more to use google sites.

So what do you use to provide an infrastructure for communication of issues, bugs, design changes?  Why do you like to work with it?  If you have experience in the area please leave a comment below, let us know your opinion.

Woot! Ars Technica, FTW.

Thanks Ars Technica, I was looking for charts and information about overworking employees.  Great article today* from AT about overtime and crunch time.  With links to research that was pioneered by Henry Fords company around the 1900’s.  Which makes it both impossible to read and some of the oldest scientific research we have about work.  Be warned, it does not read well for those not versed in scientific research or 1900 speak.


  • The 40 hour work week is an intentional construct based on research into human productivity.
  • Overtime gives you a temporary boost in productivity, when used sparingly.
  • Prolonged overtime drives productivity DOWN.
  • Humans will voluntarily overwork themselves even when its not good for the project because they want the money.

So watch out passionate game designers.  Pay attention to your work/life balance.  Watch Penny Arcade TV to see  a group that spends tons of time at the office, but has a blast doing it.  Work hard, play hard.  With just a touch more play time, then work time.

Comment below if you feel this is interesting or stupid.  Also let me know if you are interested in research posts. Highly technical posts might not be terribly interesting.

*[Blog posts are written in advance, their post appeared about four days before the date this post went live.]