This post is one of a series about the company and how we go about game development. I’m Louise and have a background in product management. The Salty Dog Pack started with two board game-playing couples who one day decided to make games too. We took stock of our skills – development, music, marketing, testing, product management, writing, and decided we were almost there. We were missing the artistic talent to make something visually stylish. That’s how Steve became part of the team, bringing art, music and writing skills. He is also five time zones away on a different continent. Yes – three of our pack have never met in person. A micro-multi-national with no titles.
We use Google Hangouts for meetings to overcome the distance. We can see each other, and screen share. You get a pretty good idea of someone’s mood. We use G-Drive to share documents, artwork and other files, and use Unity as a game development environment. Since this is a second job for everyone, our weekly meetings are held on Saturdays. To accommodate the time difference, we alternate between early and late meetings. If one of us needs to move one, we’re flexible.
We spent time early on talking about what kinds of games we wanted to create, and what each of us values. We want to produce well-crafted, quality products, even if that means making fewer games and less money (or no real money). We want to make fun games that are also challenging, and games that can be played either on a straightforward tactical or plan-ahead strategic basis. Some games will have different modes to accommodate different play styles. Those guidelines have become a test for us with each game design, and if it isn’t fun, or doesn’t allow for different styles of play, we chew over different ideas until we’re all excited about it.
Values are part of culture and brand. We chose the Salty Dog Digital name partly because of the happy-go-lucky nature of dogs. We like the relaxed, beachy feel of the cocktail name, reminiscent of sunshine, holidays, and no responsibility. Steve’s logo of the dog in the grapefruit sunset captures that spirit perfectly. To keep it fun, we wrap up each meeting with a Salty Dog salute, made by folding your fingers down to make your hand look more like a paw. Woof!