One of the biggest challenges this year has been working remotely. This is something that makes group work especially challenging since communication is a lot more difficult. It was essential that we created some sort of communication channel that we could all use to talk and send files. So we decided to use Discord.
Discord is a streaming platform made for gamers that allows you to text chat, video chat, send files, and share screens live. These features were all essential to us which is why we decided on using it. During Manchester Animation Festival I was surprised to learn that throughout the lockdowns in 2020, many animation studios used Discord as their platform of choice for communicating with employees. This surprised me because up until recently Discord was a platform used only by gamers but now it’s being used more professionally by companies. This is another example of how the gaming industry has played a big part in the progression of technology, like the advancement in graphics cards and raytracing technology. One of the reasons why a lot of studios were using Discord over alternatives like Zoom or Microsoft Teams, was that there is the ability to create meeting rooms that people can drop in and out of as they wish. With applications like Zoom, teams have to organise a time when everyone is free for a meeting and stick to that, but on Discord you can join a meeting room on your own and wait for others to join without an invite.
We organised our server by splitting up different parts of project into different chat channels. So we had one for preproduction, production, postproduction, and general things.
We briefly tested Discord before we started this project during the 24 Hour animation challenge.
A couple of us from the group decided we’d try to physically come into Uni everyday when possible to get the most out of the facilities and meet in person to better communicate and solve problems. However, with the unpredictability of the university access, this wasn’t a very reliable plan. Which is why it was so important to come up with a good virtual communication system.