From Sprints to Milestones | State of Matterless #35
Build 0.7 is on the horizon, we released a Floorcraft developer vlog, and we are experimenting with hand trails, sound, touch, and hand proximity math.
From Sprints to Milestones
The current sprint to the next major build, 0.7, is nearing its end. Its goal is a major overhaul of the Incos UI. As we touched on previously, in 0.7 you can be closer to your Inco by using a new interface. We made something simpler and, we think, more aesthetically pleasing.
We also removed the mood UI meters and instead have your Inco convey its mood directly. Now, you can see the behavior directly, which means you’ll have to pay attention to your digital pal’s body language, expressions, and the effects they signal. The team is currently polishing up while addressing some leftover UX concerns, so keep an eye on our socials for when we’re ready to release.
Once 0.7 is out, the team will be moving away from the usual six-week sprint schedule. Product Manager Jason explains:
We realized that the end of every sprint felt rushed and corners were cut to “complete” the sprint and achieve an arbitrary deadline. Along with that, our developers were jumping around to different features every sprint as we tried to hammer out a viable product. This created a lack of ownership, which can lead to an underwhelming and unfocused product.
Instead of time-based sprints, the team will now pursue milestone-based sprints, in which a build is only released once it achieves a certain level of quality (or, as John Carmack would say: ‘When it’s ready’). Each milestone is owned by a single developer for the duration of its lifecycle, providing a greater sense of ownership and accountability.
Being agile and open-minded in refining our approach is critical, and this change will allow our dev team to put out quality features more regularly!
AR Cars — How Do They Work?
Following our first Incos Dev Vlog featuring Robin the CTO, we made a second one covering Floorcraft. This episode features our sorcerer Vidhvat. Vidhvat is a pro with multiple games under his belt and walks us through the development of matterless hovercars and airplanes. What’s it like to go from mobile games to AR toys? What’s the difference between developing floor-based AR vehicles and air-based ones? All that and more is a click away.
With a little help from our sound engineer Dusko, we’ve also patched in skidding sounds that will randomly play when a hovercar makes sharp turns. Watch the video above and crank up the volume!
Devs like Robin and Vidhvat work behind the curtain to build the animal menagerie and the growing car park we talk about on our socials. These vlogs allow them to step into the spotlight and talk about our work in their own words. This is what we do on our Discord as well.
Speaking of Floorcraft, Andy has been working on a new game mode we have named ‘Floor Scramble’ (working title), where the core gameplay involves capturing checkpoints from rival racers and defending them. At this point, we are tinkering… but not for long. Expect news soon.
For A Relaxing Time, Make It Fika Time
Both the Matterless and Auki Labs teams have grown in size over the past few months, and because of how much closer we’re working together, we started a new company-wide meeting called Fika. One of our founders, Damir, explains:
Fika is often translated as “a coffee and cake break”, which is kind of correct, but really it is much more than that. Fika is a concept, a state of mind, an attitude and an important part of Swedish culture. Many Swedes consider that it is almost essential to make time for fika every day. And here in Croatia we have almost the exact same think, minus the cake. ‘Getting coffee’ is code for chatting and connecting and goes beyond what is poured in your cup.
The weekly Auki-Matterless fika gives us a chance to connect with colleagues and find out what everyone else is working on. After a viral tweet last week, the tech team decided to continue prototyping touch-based interaction, and Vidhvat has been busy at work creating a proximity shader with some creative math (see the video above). We’ve also officially dubbed Auki Labs’ SDK as the ConjureKit, in keeping with the theme of weaving digital magic to cast AR wonders.
Get yourself up to speed with all things Matterless at our Linktree, and I’ll see you again right here, same place, same time, with more to share!
— Kerwin, social media manager