Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, I will attempt to answer as many frequently asked questions as I can. Many developers have questions regarding the workflow we use and much thought has been given towards this structure - it wasn't created out of preference but rather, necessity. After working with a large number of freelancers and developers, I feel that we have reached a middle ground in terms of how the project is managed after much deliberation.

The project management style was not so much theorised from preference as stated above. From experience working with different workflows, it just so happens that unsurprisingly the simplest workflow tends to be the best one most of the time.

Please note, when the word 'developer' is used, it means in the context of all people who work on game development, be it programmers, designers, artists, animators, producers so on and so forth.

Q: What developer are you looking for and are you currently hiring?
We are always ongoing in our hiring process as we are constantly looking for promising developers to work with. Specifically, programmers, animators and artists.

We always want to work with someone in the very long term (full-time) so we can develop together as a team. Unfortunately, as many may be aware, indie development is very difficult and few developers ultimately can dedicate themselves long term to projects and is hence why it is typical to see resumes with many previous small projects.

Q: Why is there a preference for full-time developers and not part-time?
A: This one came from experience rather than intuition. Intuition tells us that part-time work should be fine. However, experience has taught me that Little Sim World is a very large project by indie standards with a very large number of rules as evidenced within this Wiki. At the time of writing, we have some hundred-pages worthy of documentation and beyond. I am sure within the next year, we will likely reach some thousand-page documentation eventually.

From experience, part-time developers are not focused enough on the project to be able to make a meaningful impact for the hours they spend and they cannot keep up with the documentation. In addition, we move very fast in the team in terms of progress such that in the past, part-time developers would spend most of their time reading on updates and catching up since the day before. When focused on multiple projects, the work has often been sub-par from our experience. That being said, there have been exceptions I have met in very special circumstances and part-time has worked out. However, this is an exception and not the general rule.

Q: Do you hire freelancers for the game?
Freelancers can be very good for micro-projects that are hypercasual. Unfortunately this hiring strategy does not scale for indie studios unless it's for oneshot music production. Similar to the sentiment above, I generally avoid hiring freelancers as they are not focused enough on each project they work on from personal experience. I struggle with just one project, let alone 2 or more. I am sure there are many very good freelancers out there, but I am talking simply out of my own experience.

For me personally, I highly value dedication to one project and making a fantastic game rather than 5-10 mediocre ones. I completely understand why freelancers work in the way that they do and respect their decision - however, it does not match with the workflow of Little Sim World both in terms of philosophy, vision and also workflow.

Q: Why use Timedoctor, and not just quote hours?
A: Without time tracking software, it becomes very difficult to know exactly how many hours each developer has worked. It also becomes very difficult to track daily or weekly progress relative to the hours spent. In addition, there is a tendency for developers to overexaggerate their hours worked (not trying to point any fingers here) so time tracking makes it entirely transparent on how many hours everyone has worked so an easy comparison can be made. Working with time tracking software is really to the developers benefit and not detriment because the precise number of rules and quality standard is very high within the game such that it will always take longer than anticipated.

Q: If time tracking is too hard, why not just work with milestones instead like what freelancers usually use?
A: Milestones work very well for simple projects where the requirements are basic. For Little Sim World, the expectation is quite high when it comes to art and code such that a very substantial number of revisions are required for each piece of work. If the developer is not focused, we have been through a very large number of revisions making the workflow very inefficient and unenjoyable. In addition, writing feature complete milestone goals usually end up being essays and while a substantial amount of the designers time is dedicated to this, writing feature-complete milestones for every developer on the team would not be feasible as it would take too long. For example, a feature-complete milestone will take approximately two hours to write per developer and if there are 10 developers, this would be 20 hours of work. In addition, revisions to milestones have to be adjusted on a daily basis and if they are, how should the payment be adjusted? After significant deliberation, the aforementioned reasons are why I never work with milestones anymore in the freelancer sense.

Q: If I finish my work faster than others, can I get paid the same but work less hours?
A: This is a question that is very commonly asked. As much as I'd like to say 'sure' this has never been delivered before in reality. In some cases work may have been completed quickly but always at the cost of quality. Many are very overconfident in their abilities and I have to be honest and say, this confidence is usually due to a lack of experience in most cases rather than anything else. Very experienced developers know the best quality work takes a substantial amount of time and would never claim they can do it 'quickly'.

Q: Why is there so much written on the Wiki, isn't it better to allow for more creative freedom?
This seems like it should be the case. However, the size of Little Sim World is growing every day and developers must understand how the game works before working on it. Without a large number of rulesets, the game becomes very inconsistent as well as lower quality. The very first thing I tried was to work without heavy handwritten articles and I must be honest - it was a disaster. After the Wiki started being written, I can confidently we are working around 100-200% faster as well as it being more enjoyable for everyone with very concise rules. It has been for sure a non-trivial transformation for the team and I believe the team agrees with me on this.

Q: What timezone does the team work in?
Usually, any time between 6am - 11pm GMT is fine. You don't need to be online for the entire duration of this but try to put all your hours between here would be ideal. We also prefer work to be done during weekdays at all times whenever possible.

  • faqs.txt
  • Last modified: 17:53 19/06/2021
  • by Terry Jin