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 2021.

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. We’re an ambitious company that looks to break boundaries and redefine expectations.  We expect a lot of each other, including the ability to know when we need rest and need time off. We take time to take care of ourselves and each other.
  • We attend our daily company meetings. We run short all-company meetings every day at 10am PST to see each other’s faces and help us stay in sync and have some fun together.
  • We publish our working hours in google calendar and slack to help each other collaborate better and understand timezone overlaps. We publish our vacations on the vacation calendar to enable all to see in advance who we can rely on when in their work.
  • We communicate unexpected absences clearly. When we get sick or need to deal with non-work commitments, we share with our manager and communicate it on #evil-presence to make sure everyone knows if someone is away and plan accordingly.

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 are present on our discord server whenever possible : Being on discord helps us work seamlessly in small teams, and helps us maximize our frictionless, unscheduled 1:1 synchronous communication. It keeps our engine well oiled.
  • We understand how important responsiveness is : Expect responses to internal DM within 12hrs. If it’s more urgent than that, call or find on discord.
  • We make clear decisions in meetings with the right people present. Not on slack / email. Any decisions with dependencies or impact on others are made in meetings, and then communicated widely across email, slack etc.
  • We document everything in well structured documents. Save them in the Shared Drive, according to the SEMC documentation standards.
  • We post sneak peeks of work-in-progress work in #general or relevant channels. It is helpful for awareness and for building trust and understanding between teams.

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. Stick to simple etiquette – use threads. Post in appropriate channels. Channel owners keep their channels clean.
  • Discord is our presence + audio chat tool to hang out at your desk or in lounges to “co-work” in smaller groups (~3-6 people?). We are always on discord when working unless we have a good reason not to be. This way everyone is aware of everyone else, making it easy to collaborate on a problem and help each other out.
  • Zoom is our tool for scheduled meetings and large gatherings that need screen sharing.
  • Email is used for broadcasting data that needs to live beyond slack. Short, precise, complete, descriptive subject, to the right people. Write it slowly so it communicates very clearly, avoids confusion and doesn’t waste people’s time by creating obvious questions or email chains.

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

  • Integrity and Citizenship : We always seek to do the right thing by our team, our community and the industry. We constantly push ourselves for a higher sense of global awareness and ensure accountability to our promises and public conduct. We believe this commitment will bring a deep pride in our work, a bettering of the world around us, and lasting value in the hearts-and-minds of our customers.
  • We are Company Builders First : We dream big and foster a culture of self-motivation and ambition every level. We are in it for the long haul. We adhere to daily discipline concerning our time and resources. Budgets and constraints are our allies. We look to build products with viable business models at the outset and value the opportunity to learn from base hits over moonshots. The growth of our brand serves as a constant filter to our actions. We punch above our weight, utilize a long-range tools and tech focus, build for multiple game retention, and always seek to sharpen the ways we innovate our work.
  • Smart Player Focus : We value engaged players regardless of whether they pay or play. We look to build fair and effective business models, capable of earning the respect of players through a relentless focus on delivering them value. We design for togetherness and believe the quality of our caretaking drives the health of our community, which in turn drives our business. We listen to player feedback and promote healthy player conduct, while also empowering our players to self-moderate their experiences when necessary.
  • Passion for the Craft : Our work oozes with craftsmanship. We raise the bar on standards across the industry, and strive to impress ourselves by the measure of our efforts. We believe that to do anything means to do it well, with unshakeable intent, and with the goal to stretch beyond our present expectations.

Jean-Philippe DEMAISON
Jean-Philippe DEMAISON

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