How Game Development Teams Can Benefit From Twitter

I started testing Twitter to see what all the hype is all about. I couldn’t possibly see how it would benefit anybody to know if I’m telling that I’m “preparing tea” or “waking up” or whatever.

And to be honest: I still don’t know what use Twitter could be – in general. And that’s what some others are pondering as well.

Who is doing what in the team
I found one pretty sweet idea. Don’t know if it would really work, but I think it could.

There’s the concept of “daily deltas” in project work. In short: team members would need to write what they are doing (and perhaps adding what they are going to do next). In some teams this list is then compiled and sent to the producer who makes necessary adjustments – if any – for the project. (Okay, this is a darn short description – but basically the idea is to figure out what each person in the team is doing).

I was thinking that Twitter might be useful in providing a log.

Instead of emailing your daily deltas, each team member could start their own twitter thing, and write key tasks they’ve done, unexpected problems they’ve encountered and any major events. The team members wouldn’t write if they had a coffee break or when they went to toilet. Just the major points that have something to do with the project progress.

After everybody has Twitter set up (and the necessary plugins & tools so that the updating takes just a couple of seconds of your time), a web page could be set up where all team members’ Twitter updates would be listed (there’s pieces of software for this as well).

With this, the game producer could get a picture on what everybody on the team is doing. Of course the team members could also check what people are up to. For teams where team members are scattered all over the world, this could provide an excellent way for everybody to see what each other is doing.

I don’t think Twitter should be used by a Big Brother… the key is not to make people feel uncomfortable. I don’t think the producer should just count on how many Twitter entries somebody has. The producer would still need to concentrate on the results – not concentrate on checking how many entries each person has written.

In a team where the team members are located in different countries, I think Twitter could provide useful platform for letting people know what each other is doing. For developers, I think it could provide a nice way to see if people are working on the project.

Of course there’s the problem of privacy: Twitter is public… and game teams most likely want to keep their work private. If public Twittering is okay, then this could work.

How about providing fans information about what feature you are doing
Now as I write this article, I got another idea on how Twitter could be used: to provide information for true fans on “what feature/bug you are working on right now”.

If you have a decent game, you know it’s just a matter of time when feature requests and bug reports start to come from the fans. There are some fans that will follow what you are up to, and will want to know what features the team is currently doing. If you could bring this information via Twitter, you could provide valuable information to the fans.

Would the fans really need this information? I think not really… but we people tend to buy lots of things that we don’t really need. If they find the information valuable (and telling customers what you are up to can sometimes be valuable), then it’s good.

Who knows, maybe it would make a nice press story when people see game teams that use Twitter to inform what they are up to…

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. There is a new site called ididwork.com that is billed as a Twitter for teams. It has logging of work done and some other goodies as well as the real time “instant blog” that Twitter does.

  2. Nice work, Jusso… the delta idea would actually be quite useful, especially during crunch time when things get hectic and usually involve the coordination of a lot of people at a fast pace.

  3. I would recommend looking into the alternatives to Twitter as well. The option that comes top of mind is FriendFeed. You could set up a “room” in FriendFeed (public or private) that would allow a team to share information in a loose way, it threads conversations together, ahs an excellent search and there’s not 140 character restriction.

    Identi.ca seems to be an up and coming alternative to Twitter. It is a distributed and much more reliable service.

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