“Time of Silence 2” is only my second attempt at a computer game (well, to be honest there have been some more attempts that died an unspectacular rather early death) and it is the first one that might involve more than one person (me). So I fired up the internet search engine of my choice and tried to figure out what the pros do. Luckily there are a couple of things that get much less important for a non-profit computer game. All the development cost estimates, effort estimates, timelines, hiring, etc. are not strictly needed. There is no need to convince publishers, show rentability or analyse the market. Still, a lot of the usual procedures make sense. One of them is the Game Design Document, which provides all necessary information to people joining the team. Writing this document is part of the pre production phase, which obviously is what I am currently in (as I started writing this a couple of days ago). Ideally at the end of this phase there should be a detailed story, character descriptions, level descriptions, quests should be outlined (at least the main ones); in short other team members should have enough guidance to be able to create content mostly autonomously. Lots of writing work, but my motivation is high and I am making good progress.
Another thing that needs figuring out is the usage of tools for collaboration. Being involved in software development in my every day job I am aware of the advantages of versioning systems, bug tracking tools and automated testing. I do not want to overcomplicate things, so I tend towards Dropbox for sharing data. I love Perforce as versioning system and luckily I have rented a virtual server anyway (mostly as minecraft server for my daughter and her friends), so I can setup a Perforce server easily. I am totally open for anything regarding communication, but Skype seems to be a reasonable option.
Do you have any experience in working with virtual teams? Write your suggestions or warnings into the comments and save the project from total chaos right from the beginning!