Research - GDO710 - Week 1
Updated: Jul 24, 2022
This is the first week of my MA program in Indie game development.
To say I’m nervous is an understatement. Journaling is not something I usually do.
I have a small notebook where I take miscellaneous notes and hoard an unruly collection of post-it notes- A process which is not refined and not even close to being academic.
The process of writing my thoughts down and publicly advertising them is not something I am looking forward to, it is something I dread. Stepping outside of my comfort zone should (theoretically) allow me to develop new skills and grow (If I stick to producing my journal weekly). Here's to hoping that psychologists really know what they are doing and I can get my head around strangers reading my writing.
Class notes: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Introductions! Who am I and who are the internet strangers?
Time management methodologies:
Agile w Scrum
FAQ for critical reflection journal
Structure & setting up for CRJ
Research: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXX
This week's content started off with a refresher course on project management methodologies, during my time at Falmouth University we will be utilizing Agile alongside scrum. Overall I am pretty thankful to be diving into something I have familiarity with, during my (brief) time in the industry, every game studio I worked in used Agile alongside scrum in one way or another. That being said! Let's dive in.
There are plenty of different system development lifecycles (SDLC), the type of SDLC used will vary depending on the number of team members, the purpose of the project and the size of the scope. SDLCs utilise different models and methodologies when developing their products. Over time, development teams will adapt their methods to best suit their own practice and speed up production, however, for the most part (disregarding a small number of companies using lean and kanban), waterfall was the most widespread SDLC methodology.
The waterfall approach has been attributed to a number of different authors but it gained popularity due to Dr Winston W. Royce’s paper named “Managing the development of Large software systems”, 1970. In his paper, he addressed the complications of software development and proposed a way to tackle large-scale projects. In addition to proposing iterations to the theory, Royce proposed many issues with this type of development lifecycle with examples. These examples are still called upon today even though Royce did not coin the term, "Waterfall". The approach looks like this:
(S. Lewis, 2019)
Similar to a waterfall!
The overall issue with this model is that it struggles to react to change. If the client changes their mind, if the game design changes, or if there is a game-breaking bug and the concept needs to be reworked then climbing back up through the different levels is virtually impossible due to the cascading nature of the methodology. Once one stage is complete, then you should avoid going back. There are many flaws with this method but one of the main issues lies in:
LACK OF TESTING! (K. Peterson, 2009)
Testing and iteration are key when it comes to software development, especially in relation to games. You need to constantly test if the feature works, is fun or suits the target market's demands. That’s extremely difficult when it occurs at the end of your project when all the other stages have been completed.
Jump forward to an unusual band of 17 misfits, bonking their heads together and realising there must be a better way method to think about software development. Hence (Drumroll);
The Agile Manifesto! (J. Highsmith, 2001)
The Agile Manifesto is a philosophy/approach to software development. Other tools can be used while considering the philosophy to best optimize your development practice. Over the years I have used a combination of Scrum coupled with Kanban boards to track our weekly milestones. Scrum has been a vital tool during the development of multiple different student projects, professional projects and just ensuring I work on personal projects efficiently.
The agile manifesto has 12 main principles but there are 4 main values;
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change by following a plan
(K. Beck, J. Grenning, Et al)
Essentially, everything on the left-hand side takes priority over everything on the right-hand side. There is value in both things, documentation is important, but producing working software is more valuable than a long document.
Scrum is a framework which uses agile principles to help guide projects in the right direction. It is there to help address any problems and foster an environment where:
The product owner will add tasks to the “project backlog”, taking into account the big picture of the project.
The Scrum Team will assign point values to sections of work and add them to a sprint (a timescale which is determined by the team and stakeholders)(In the game studios I have worked for, the sprint lengths were 2-3 weeks).
The scrum team will then complete the sprint and its tasks for the stakeholders to inspect and plan for the next sprint.
After reflecting (Retrospective) on the sprint and reviewing the team's velocity/burndown. The team will review the backlog and repeat the process.
Overall, Agile coupled with scrum is a familiar process and I am looking forward to using it again throughout my time studying at Falmouth University.
References: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXX
W. Royce. (1970) MANAGING THE DEVELOPMENT OF LARGE SOFTWARE SYSTEMS. https://www.praxisframework.org/files/royce1970.pdf. Accessed 3rd June.
K. Peterson. (2009) The waterfall model in Large - Scale Development. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/30498645_The_Waterfall_Model_in_Large-Scale_Development?enrichId=rgreq-450a8453cb707ecbe7049b627e959f98-XXX&enrichSource=Y292ZXJQYWdlOzMwNDk4NjQ1O0FTOjIzMDgwNjI0OTUzNzU0MEAxNDMyMDM5OTA2Njgw&el=1_x_2&_esc=publicationCoverPdf Accessed 3rd June. 2022.
S. Lewis. (2019) waterfall model. https://www.techtarget.com/searchsoftwarequality/definition/waterfall-model. Accessed 3rd June. 2022.
J. Highsmith. (2001) History: The Agile Manifesto. https://agilemanifesto.org/history.html Accessed 3rd June. 2022.
K. Beck, J. Grenning, Et al. (2001)The Agile Manifesto. https://agilemanifesto.org/ Accessed 3rd June. 2022.
Digite (N.d.) Scrum of Scrums: A Starting Point to Scaling Agile. https://www.digite.com/agile/scrum-of-scrums/. Accessed 3rd June. 2022.