Case Study: YouTrack, Warhorse, and the Deliverance of gamedev agile processes
As you know, YouTrack is used by development teams across lots of different kinds of industries: software, retail, marketing, and game development, among others. The process of using an issue tracker in these industries is pretty similar, although everybody has their own idea of how to use it best. Today I am happy to share the experience of using YouTrack by Warhorse Studios, a Czech game development studio famous for its game – Kingdom Come: Deliverance.
There are more than 100 people currently working in the company. We were lucky enough to have a little Q&A session with Martin Klima, Warhorse studios’ Executive Producer.
Q.: When did you start using YouTrack and why?
A.: We started using YouTrack a few years ago. Our QA engineer discovered and evaluated it and found it useful for our company. We used Hansoft before, but YouTrack is more affordable, more flexible, and it suits our needs.
Q.: How does YouTrack help you manage the development process in the company?
A.: Well, we started off just using it as a bug tracker, but now we use it as a full project management tool.
Q.: Which features do you find useful for your process?
A.: We are very happy with the YouTrack REST API. For example, it’s very important for us to track the number of open bugs daily in real time, so we’ve created an internal tool that grabs data from YouTrack and displays it to us in a way we find really useful.
Q.: Do you use any YouTrack workflows?
A.: Yes, we do create a lot of workflows that help us manage daily tasks. For example, we have a workflow that creates specific tasks based on tags.
Q.: Can you give more details or share any examples?
A.: We use workflows for various simple tasks: assign a Group to issue based on the Assignee, send notifications based on status and issue type, create rules for re-opening/closing issues based on the state of the subtasks, create more fine-grained permissions for issues and so on.
Q.: How do you generally use Agile processes and how does YouTrack fit in with this?
A.: We practice Scrum across ‘development’ departments (code, script, design), less in the ‘content creator’ departments (art, animation, etc.). I have to admit though, we do not adhere fully to the methodology, one could say that we are more ‘inspired by Scrum’ than ‘practicing Scrum’. So we, for example, have daily standups, but very little in way of the retrospective.
We are using Agile boards to track the general progress of a larger task (like a game mechanics or now a DLC), and there all departments are involved.
Q.: Do you use YouTrack integrated with any external tools?
A.: We have a system that creates a new bug every time our game crashes. The tool first gathers the stack trace and then searches YouTrack for the same exception and call stack. If found, it will just add a comment: “Another crash on computer X, at time T,” if not found, the tool will create a new issue.
Q.: In your opinion, are there any features in YouTrack that may be helpful for the gamedev industry specifically?
A.: The best thing about YouTrack is that you can customize a lot: add different custom fields, write workflows to cover all kinds of processes. For example, teams who are involved with Free-to-play games and mobile games have different pipelines and processes than teams focused on single-player PC/Console titles. That’s why the flexibility YouTrack provides is very suitable for the game development industry.
Q: Is there something else you would like to share?
A.: YouTrack is a nice tool and we are happy to use it.
We’d like to thank Warhorse Studios for agreeing to take part in this Q&A.
If you use YouTrack and want to share your experience with us, please let us know by posting a comment or by contacting us.