in Behind the Scenes

Maintenance Mondays

We are a team of three people, and we’ve been cranking out games for almost seven years. We’ve released over a dozen titles spanning multiple platforms and marketplaces. Having such an extensive library of games brings up a difficult issue. How can a team of only three people continue making and publishing new games all the while maintaining previously published titles?

Our solution to this issue is a protocol we have named Maintenance Monday. Every Monday we set aside a portion of time to work on keeping up some of our older games. Sometimes this means something as mundane as updating compatibility for a new operating system; sometimes it means something larger like adding an entire chapter of puzzles or even a graphics overhaul to support the latest super-high-density display. We then keep the rest of the week for moving forward with our main projects— developing and publishing new games.

Maintenance Monday isn’t set entirely in stone and it isn’t always perfect. If we really need to focus on a crucial project or an emergency we obviously can suspend the side projects. Another issue emerges when deciding which of our older games gets attention. At a certain point, when a game gets so old, we simply have to stop supporting it. There are several games which we’ve stopped supporting entirely, not because we don’t like them, but the cost to keeping them up is no longer paying the bills. Our first game, Enso Dot, is a really nice little puzzle game from 2008 that we had to finally put to rest. No one was buying it anymore, and the cost in time to bring it up to ‘modern’ standards with high-res graphics, system compatibility, etc. was much too high.

Our latest side project is working on an update for Monster Soup. This one is gonna be a big one so it’s going to take quite a few Mondays to get there. The game currently supports high-res graphics for the iPhone 4, but since then devices with even higher pixel counts have been released to the public (Read a bit about that process here). We are also taking a look at a weird issue caused by Apple’s later versions of iOS. We are even contemplating fixing how the level completion mechanic works to try and reward players for making longer chains. All this adds up to quite a lot of work, but hopefully with Monday on our side, we’ll keep all these plates spinning.