Sky Knights is a multiplayer game for PC about aerial combat. It started out as a little side project of mine. After having spent three amazing years as a senior programmer at Rovio developing Angry Birds 2, I felt an urge to do something that I could call my own. After having completed the first proof-of-concept build, I felt that I had something worth putting more effort into. My friends and I were yelling when we blew each other from the skies!
I did almost everything myself. Design, programming, music and so on. On the art side, I got some invaluable help from some dev friends (Joakim Svärling, Andreas Chrysovitsanos, Johan Ekorn, Roland Smedberg, and Tobias Johansson), but in the end, I had to get my hands dirty anyway making GUI art, some 3D models and stuff. I’ve always been a fan of 80’s rock music and fighter jets, so making a game in which both these interest could be expressed was a dream come true.
I had a subscription to a well-known project hosting provider and didn’t really think that much about it. It worked. Suddenly the price increased with like 100% overnight, with the explanation that their new set of shiny features would increase the value of the service. I took a look at it and realized I needed nothing of it. I cancelled the subscription and started looking for alternatives.
I took a look at it and realized I needed nothing of it. I cancelled the subscription and started looking for alternatives.
I use SVN. Yes, that’s right, the system you may dislike, since you worship GIT or something. I have good reasons for using SVN but it’s beyond the scope of this blog post. However, it’s important to mention since it was a requirement for me when I looked for a new service provider. Speaking of requirements, I found out that mine were really few.
- 5-10 users
- Must support SVN
- Hosted (i.e cloud, I didn't want to run it on my own machine)
- 3GB storage
- Easy to add/remove users
99% of the time I’ve been running the project on my own with no collaboration with others. Every now and then I’ve had to add another team member when I needed help with something specific. In these cases, it was super important that the steps they had to take to get access to the project were few and simple (I didn’t want to waste my friends’ valuable time more than necessary). I never needed more than like 5 users simultaneously though. Keeping a machine at home was not an alternative for me. All in all, I’m a very simple user. I just needed things to be easy, so I could focus on making a good game.
Looking for hosting solutions felt like buying a new microwave oven. You want two knobs. Heat and time. Also, the microwave oven should never malfunction. And you don’t want to have to explain to visitors how your microwave oven works. Still, the salesperson in the store tries to convince you how awesome your pizza crust will be if you have these advanced features. Features you pay for, but will never use in real life.
For larger and some smaller companies, I’m sure several of these features could be relevant. There are project workflow tools, scrum stuff, apps, and so on. For a one-man-team, all of this was uninteresting. I just wanted reliable, fast SVN-hosting and nothing more. I’m sure that this is the case for thousands of other indie developers. We commit. We update. We read log history to remember what we’ve done when writing the patch notes. For the most part, that’s it. My task-list is written down by hand on a notepad on my desk.
After quickly having evaluated around 5 different options, I settled for Deveo. I live in Sweden and Deveo is based in Finland, so we are basically neighbours (it’s funny how I always end up working with the Finns). It provided everything I needed for a fair price! Also, the speed when updating my SVN repo was suddenly around four times faster than before. Furthermore, the contact person was really friendly, casual and quick to reply to emails. I couldn’t be happier with my choice.
Also, the speed when updating my SVN repo was suddenly around four times faster than before.
Now, the game is completed to the point that I have gathered the courage to release it publicly. There’s a free open alpha available at www.skyknights-game.com and a Steam Greenlight page on http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=803524713. If you would like to support me by giving it your thumbs up on Steam Greenlight, it would mean the world to me. Otherwise, feel free to just enjoy the game with your friends! See you in the skies!