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Game Dev Collaboration: Google Docs Style
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Game Dev Collaboration: Google Docs Style

September 2, 2010 Article Start Previous Page 3 of 3

So I've Sold my Soul, Now What?

Okay, so you decide to take the plunge of the advice of this article and that strange cult of people chanting "do no evil" in the corner. How powerful is this collaboration?

As part of this article, I've done several things. First and foremost, this article itself is a Google doc, and I've now shared it with the world for viewing via this link. I could just as easily make it so you all could edit it, but for this purpose I figure the link is enough.

Now, you all can take that link, and share it around with whomever you like. I could also set the link to only work with people from a specific domain, with specific emails, and I can make it so that it requires a Google account login (or not) depending on my whim or need for security. All that would took about two seconds to set up, and sharing with a domain of people would be just as easy.

So, rather than just stop at sharing a single doc, let's assume we have a bunch of stuff we want to share inside a project. Well, shared folders are your friend here.

Take a gander at this link. You'll notice that the article is listed in this directory, and also requires no login, but now, I don't have to worry about sharing each doc individually. All I have to do when I create a doc that I want all of you to view is drop it into that folder, and voila! Instant access.

But wait! There's more!

Let's talk about spreadsheets, because I love them, and Google has done a wonderful job of ripping off everything I love about Excel and little of what I hate. For the record, I consider myself an expert at Excel. I have spreadsheets that reference spreadsheets that reference spreadsheets. Sadly, I cannot do that sheet-referencing-a-sheet trick in Google Docs, but I can still do a lot. Just view this sheet, and appreciate the use of names, complex functions, and other whiz-bang doodads that are available to you.

Now, for the fun and sheer terror of it, I have also made a public (and publicly editable) Google drawing for this article. It shows the basic features and doc types available through Google Apps. In internal office testing, it took approximately 10 minutes from "Test drawing, Try it out!" posted in a chat room to having lolcats slapped all over it.

It's important to let people know the purpose of a drawing before allowing access, so all that I ask is people keep it appropriate and do not delete the original information. It's worth noting that Google Drawings does not currently save revision history, so I have placed a non-collaborate copy of the drawing in the same directory to let people see where we started.

You can also create PowerPoint-like presentations, but that tool is low on features. There are many more compelling solutions out there, and I see no reason to struggle with Google's halfhearted attempt at this. If someone wants to prove me wrong, and demonstrate the power of Google Presentations, feel free to contact me and I'll add yours to the presentation directory. Until then, I'd advise sticking to whatever tools you are using.

Now, let's say I want to know your thoughts on this article, and I want to know how many people are looking at my docs. Well, this handy survey will let me solicit opinions to my heart's content, and while I normally wouldn't share the results with the world, I see no reason to hold back now. I have also shared the results in the Collaboration directory so you can check them out there.

Lastly, remember me mentioning wanting to know how many people are looking at my docs in the paragraph above? Well, while I can't share this easily with you all without some Perl/Python acrobatics (using a script to take the results of my Google Analytics account and then publishing them to a shared Google Spreadsheet) rest assured I am watching everyone who is going to my survey, and all docs associated with this article. A well-made walkthrough on how to track net traffic using Google Analytics can be found here.


Google Applications gives me, hands down, the easiest way to share documents across an organization that I've ever seen. It owns my soul for now, but Live Office and other collaborative apps are on the way. Once those technologies develop some, they may offer a challenge to the ease of working with the Google stack. But that day, I believe, is still distant, and no one else is close to causing me to convert.

Other Resources

Try these other awesome collaborative tools too!

Great Whiteboard -

Decent Photoshop alternative on the go -

Article Start Previous Page 3 of 3

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