Our Remote First Handbook

This is the live document that sets out guidelines for how to be a successful member of the Super Evil Megacorp team. We constantly iterate on our processes, so expect this to change from time to time. This most recent version was updated April 2022.

Our Mission

“To build the best shared gaming moments in the world.”

Our Vision

“To build the best home for passionate game industry craftsmen and craftswomen who want to push the boundaries of gaming for the long term.”

The Workplace We Aspire to Build

We work hard to find and nurture the most promising talent in the game industry. We aim to empower each individual to enjoy maximum autonomy, responsibility and ownership to pursue their craft.

We share our work openly. We take the time to provide and receive honest feedback. Everyone’s voice is valuable. In our world, expertise, passion and data speak louder than senior titles or tenure. We are the special forces, not the infantry. We do not take ourselves seriously, but nothing is more serious to us than the quality of our work and the happiness of our players.

Crafting a great company is a team effort that takes time. Everyone’s leadership and initiative matters. We work hard to become a little bit better at what we do, every day, by constantly learning from our failures and triumphs alike, and always challenging the status quo.

Welcome to Super Evil Megacorp. Never settle for the lesser Evil.

We are Remote First

“Remote First means that we are intentional about our processes, technology, operations and culture, to make it feel equally productive, inclusive and fun to work at SEMC regardless of location”

We are Remote First in order to:

  • Be able to work with the best talent regardless of location or life situation
  • Enable all staff everywhere to do their best work, most productively
  • Become the most diverse, accessible and inclusive company we can be
  • Add value to our talent by learning to work effectively in distributed orgs

We build all our systems and processes assuming everyone is remote. We use office facilities as shared work and meeting spaces for those who need it or prefer it over working from home. You should choose your location based on what is most comfortable for you and your loved ones.

“Successfully working from home is a skill, just like programming, designing or writing. It takes time and commitment to develop that skill” -Alex Turnbull, CEO of Groove

This document does not define an end-state. It reflects our iterative quest to constantly get better and better at working together as a team, wherever we are.

Our “Remote First” Culture – How We do Things

Physical offices exist for a reason. As humans, we tend to solve complex, shared problems faster when in the same room with our team. This is especially important for creative processes in game making where brainstorming and creative problem solving matters more than in most places.

To help us combine the benefits of being distributed with the benefits of being in the same room, we have arrived at the following ways of working. We are intentional about iterating on these based on learnings, but over time they appear to be becoming more and more stable. Our culture is the sum of all our actions. It is important we look after this culture together.

The TL;DR of how we work

  1. We take initiative and get it done – we do not accept being stuck or blocked, we do not check in – or pass on – work that isn’t up to our standards
  2. We help others get their work done and unblock and support them as needed
  3. We use our presence tools and social meets to help us build strong human connections with each other
  4. We always over-document & over-communicate everything in writing in the right place
  5. We challenge our culture when it is not working to help maintain and improve it

Our Working Hours and Availability

  • We contribute as much as we can sustainably. Our games break boundaries and redefine expectations. We all work hard and smart to make them that way. We expect a lot from our team, including the ability to know when we need rest. We take care of the physical and mental health of both ourselves and each other.
  • We always create meetings with agendas. The calendar invite contains either the agenda itself or an outbound link with details. We do this always to stimulate effective remote meetings.
  • We communicate our availability company-wide. Out of office time is documented on the vacation Google Calendar to see who we can depend on in advance. We share unexpected absences, including sickness and mid-day interruptions, with our manager and in the #evil-presence channel.
  • We treat our timezone distribution as an advantage. Being located across the globe means someone is always working. Outside of major blockers, we know when to switch off for the day and place trust in the rest of the company to keep operations moving beyond our hours.

Our Meetings

  • We are always on time : Meetings start exactly on time to avoid frustration from waiting
  • We set-up 5min before : As meeting organizers, we start the zoom meeting 5 minutes in advance to avoid the start of the meeting being spent sorting out tech
  • We do not tolerate equipment failure or poor connection. If the audio / video setup is not working, or anything about it can be improved, we raise a flag with operations immediately and prioritize getting it fixed.

Our Communications

  • We understand the importance of responsiveness. Our remote-first workplace is built on the foundation of timely communication. We respond to internal DMs within 12 hours. If the message is more urgent than that, we call.
  • We document information well structured in Confluence & Google Docs. To ensure transparency, we save these in the Shared Drive according to SEMC documentation standards.
  • We post sneak peaks of work-in-progress projects in relevant channels. Building trust and understanding between teams is key to smooth product development. We are all company builders and broadcast our work, questions and comments alike.
  • We schedule Slack messages to improve asynchronous communication. This preserves a work-life balance when communicating non-urgent matters with a co-worker who have notifications on past their working hours. If we are unsure of the recipient’s hours, we include Not Urgent at the beginning of our message.
  • We are present on our Discord server when possible. Being on Discord helps us work seamlessly in small teams and maximizes frictionless, unscheduled 1:1 synchronous communication. It keeps our engine well oiled.
  • We communicate with the expectation of being fully asynchronous. To support this, we communicate early and often to foster full and natural conversations. We avoid rushed messages and value intentionally comprehensive dialogue.

Our Work Setup

  • We recommend a dedicated work space wherever possible. We recommend two machines / screens where possible, one for your main work and one for always-on presence (can be a mobile device)
  • We have fast internet (75Mbs down / 10MBs up minimum) where we work.
  • We have a great headset and microphone setup. Pick your favorite at a sensible price.
  • We get up and take frequent breaks! To stay healthy you need fresh air, breaks, walks, lunch, coffee etc.
  • We use VPN judiciously – We do not use Zoom over VPN (separate machine, not on VPN) and only VPN when we need to
  • We travel smartly and safely – We travel to our company offsites and occasionally to collaborate on specific projects. Stay safe, and make sure all flights + accommodation are booked well in advance, following cost guidelines. The less we spend on logistics the more we can spend on ourselves and our games.

Our Use of Communication Tools

  • Slack is our primary text communication tool. We follow etiquette that maintains organization, clarity, and brevity — such as using threads and posting in appropriate channels. Channel owners, as listed in each topic, uphold these ideals. Additionally, many choose to sort channels into sections to separate team, company-wide, and off-topic channels. We send reactions on messages that do not necessitate excess pings; docking the ‘Mentions & reactions’ feed keeps up with this flow.
  • Discord is our audio and presence option to hang out at a virtual desk or in lounges to co-work in small groups. We are on Discord when working unless we have a reason not to be. This way, everyone is aware of each other’s activity, making it easy to collaborate on any sized problem.
  • Zoom is our platform for scheduled meetings and large gatherings that need screen sharing. We keep our cameras on to emulate an office environment and encourage live feedback from all, either through voice or in the chat.
  • Email is used for broadcasting announcements that need to live beyond Slack. We descript short, precise, purposeful subject lines, and include the relevant people. In a similar vein, we write our messages slowly and completely to avoid confusion and unnecessary email chains.
  • Confluence is the hub for all company-wide resources and documentation. We maintain pages for each team and individually update bios detailing our role within the company as responsibilities shift. Here, information surrounding DEI efforts, operation pipelines, and HR processes is accessible to all employees.

Our Use of Offices

  • We are remote first. Stick to the same practices, presence tools and meeting attendance as the rest of the team even when based out of an office. We do not have a separate office culture from our online culture.
  • We keep remote folks in mind at all times. If a corridor conversation is particularly interesting, think about any remote persons you might want to bring into the conversation, and bring them into a discord chat!
  • We do not make decisions without the right remote members present
  • We keep the office tidy and nice for others

How We Lead

Being a remote first organization puts extra pressure on good communications and leadership hygiene. This is how we lead.

  • We Lead by Personal Example : We understand that culture is the sum of our little actions. We work hard. We get things done. We are on time for meetings, we are kind and respectful, we do excellent work with high attention to detail. We act the way we want our best performers to act.
  • We Serve our Talent : We listen. We make sure our teams have everything they need to make great decisions and move fast as independently as possible. To achieve this we over-communicate information, decisions and plans and seek feedback at the 80% stage from the widest set of talent internally. If in doubt, communicate, and if in doubt, include. By doing this well we establish maximum productivity from everyone.
  • We are Planful and Organized : We, and everyone on our teams, are at all times clear on what our top-3 priorities are this week and this quarter. And we have a view on what we want to have accomplished in the next 6-12 months. We organize weekly team meets to review & plan team activity. We organize (bi)-weekly 1:1s with our team to connect as human beings. We delegate ownership of decisions as far as possible.
  • We Over-Communicate and Over-Include : We ensure all information is always shared and stored digitally. We use Confluence, JIRA and the shared Gdrive to make sure all decisions, knowledge and work spaces exist in a digital form and stick to SEMC documentation standards.
  • We Hold our Teams Accountable. We nurture and coach our talent. But we take no BS. We expect the highest standards and commitment. Accepting consistent underperformance or inappropriate behavior lets down the rest of the team.
  • We Minimize Meetings : We maximize the time that our teams have to focus on their tasks and minimize context switching by clustering out meets together and keeping them short and efficient.

Who We Are – What it Means to be Evil

We are a company by gamers, for gamers. We believe that the touch screen generation deserves the kind of deep immersive gameplay that the PC generation has enjoyed for years. We challenge the notion that mobile gamers, console gamers or PC gamers should be segregated tribes. We believe gamers are gamers on every device and deserve to play together in beautiful, responsive and deep shared experiences, whichever their native platform or control mechanism.

By insisting on gameplay parity across billions of mobile phones, PCs, consoles, next-generation hybrid devices and more, we are building toward a “Cloud First” vision where gamers can play and can play together on a level playing field with anyone, anywhere, regardless of device.

Creating a cynical big gaming corporation is kind of Evil. We respect that. But crafting a game company that truly believes in gaming as a first class form of shared culture. That truly believes in itself, its people and its mission to bring billions of people together in awesome shared gaming experiences and thereby destroy the productivity of the world is something more. It is Super Evil.

This is the Megacorp we’re building.

We Will Win Through

  • Our Talent: Finding and cultivating the absolute best talent and cutting edge craftsmanship across art, technology and business disciplines
  • Our Culture: Our deep passion for product, the happiness of our community, and our shared responsibility for building the company we all want to work for
  • Our Technology: Engines win game categories. Our commitment to our E.V.I.L engine lets us wow players and hardware makers alike, and constantly push what is possible on touch screens and beyond.
  • Our Mindset: We think years ahead and optimize for the long term. We build talent, tools and technologies for the long term and want our values to shine through every product we make

Our Values

These are the actions that we expect of each other as we do our daily work. Together they define who we are.

Note: our five values are stack ranked. Where there is a conflict, the earlier value prevails. For example, we are not Company Builders at the expense of our Integrity and Citizenship. We will not pursue our Passion for the Craft at the expense of our Smart Player Focus.

  1. Integrity and Citizenship : We do the right thing by our colleagues, our players, our partners, and the world around us. We take pride in our work by creating games and a workplace that represents who we are and what we value.
  2. Care & Respect for Diversity : We are intentional about building the best home for talent from around the world. We treat others with kind consideration regardless of who they are, where they are from, or how they identify. We seek to build diversity into our games. We look after one another to ensure that a safe working environment for all of us means a safe working environment for each of us.
  3. Be a Company Builder : We take initiative; we get things done and challenge the status quo to become a better company every day. We encourage big dreams. We invest in our talent, technology and tools for the long run. We make careful time and resource tradeoffs along the way. We always combine our creative and technical vision with sustainable business models.
  4. Smart Player Focus : We seek the broadest feedback and study all available data to build delightful experiences for our players. We build fair and effective business models, earning the trust and spend from our players by delivering meaningful value for their money and time.
  5. Passion for the Craft : We raise the bar. We pursue mastery across our disciplines. We live to innovate and push the boundaries of the industry. Our work oozes with craftsmanship and care for doing things well. We share feedback with honesty and compassion to help each other improve at all times.

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