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Agile Methodology in Game Development: Year 3. Clinton Keith CTO, High Moon Studios. What We’ll Talk About:. Why use Agile? Background on “Agile Methodology” at HMS and in general Overview of “Scrum” Agile Planning We’ll touch on eXtreme Programming

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agile methodology in game development year 3
Agile Methodology in Game Development: Year 3

Clinton Keith

CTO,

High Moon Studios

what we ll talk about
What We’ll Talk About:
  • Why use Agile?
  • Background on “Agile Methodology” at HMS and in general
  • Overview of “Scrum”
  • Agile Planning
  • We’ll touch on eXtreme Programming
  • The results of using Agile at High Moon
    • Application to game development
    • What were the lessons/benefits
    • Where to go for more info?
  • Q&A

This is about what we experienced, not the “Right Way” to make games

why adopt agile
Why Adopt Agile?

To find the fun first!

Especially in Pre-Production

Reduce wasted effort

Especially in Production

history of agile at high moon
History of Agile at High Moon
  • Used Scrum in last year of Darkwatch
    • Helped keep the project on track
  • Have adopted XP and Agile planning practices on new projects over the last year
wasted effort can come from noise and it influences what processes we use

Far from

Agreement

Anarchy

Complex

Requirements

Complicated

Simple

Close to

Agreement

Technology

Far from

Certainty

Close to

Certainty

Wasted Effort Can Come From “Noise”…and it influences what processes we use

Preproduction - Agile

Production - Lean

Source: Strategic Management and Organizational Dynamics by Ralph Staceyin Agile Software Development with Scrum by Ken Schwaber and Mike Beedle.

what is agile development
What is Agile Development?

The Agile Manifesto:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools;
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation;
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation;
  • Responding to change over following a plan;
scrum
Scrum
  • Scrum is commitment-oriented
  • Scrum is results-oriented
  • Scrum is disciplined
origins of scrum
Origins of Scrum
  • “The New New Product Development Game” in Harvard Business Review, 1986.
    • Studied companies that were able to rapidly develop successful products
    • Borrows the term from Rugby in which the ball gets moved up field by the entire team.
  • Adopted for Software Development and used since mid 90’s
overview
Overview

Daily

Meeting

(Scrum)

30 day cycle

(Sprint)

Tasks

NPC

New version of the game

Camera

Review and Planning

Prioritized Game Features

Gfx

(Product Backlog)

the scrum cast
The Scrum Cast

ProductOwner

ScrumMaster

Team

Customers

product backlog
Product Backlog

24 hours

Daily Scrum

Meeting

30 day

Sprint

Backlog tasks

expanded

by team

Sprint Backlog

Potentially Shippable

Product Increment

Product Backlog

As prioritized by Product Owner

Estimated for planning

Broken down into stories that can fit in a sprint

sprint backlog
Sprint Backlog

Sprint Backlog broken out by team

Sprint

Sprint Goals

New Game

(Vertical Slice)

Product Backlog

sprint review and planning
Sprint Review and Planning

Sprint Backlog broken out by team

Sprint

Sprint Goals

New Game

(Vertical Slice)

Product Backlog

Review and Planning

daily scrum
Daily Scrum

24 hours

Daily Scrum

Meeting

Sprint Backlog broken out by team

30 day Sprint

Sprint Backlog

New

Game

Product Backlog

As prioritized by Product Owner

slide18

Task

Mon.

Tues.

Wed.

Thurs.

3

Code the widget

8

0

0

16

Create widget asset

16

10

4

16

Test middle tier

8

16

4

Write widget tester

8

8

0

sprint backlog burndown chart
Sprint Backlog Burndown Chart

Drag works against velocity

Slope = Velocity

Dropped Story

scaling scrum the scrum of scrums
Scaling Scrum - The Scrum of Scrums

Functional Leadership

Support services

Teams

other agile practices
Other Agile Practices
  • Agile Planning
  • eXtreme Programming (XP)
agile planning
Agile Planning
  • You can’t plan away uncertainty
    • You have to execute to reduce uncertainty
  • Planning is spread out over the entire project
  • Shifts the emphasis from “the plan” to planning
  • Shifts from “completion of activities” to “delivery of features”
  • Creates plans that are easily changed & encourage change
  • Plans are focused on releases of the game. Works well for pre-production. Production should be predictable.
release planning
Release Planning

High

Sprint

Release

Value

Cost

Priority

Future Releases

Risk

Knowledge

Low

extreme programming xp
eXtreme Programming (XP)

Alpha/Beta

Cost

Of

Change

Development

Design

Time

xp builds on good practices

TDD

Pair

Programming

ContinuousIntegration

Refactoring

UnitTesting

Automated Build and Test

SourceControl

XP Builds on Good Practices
agile game development
Agile Game Development
  • Lessons learned
  • Benefits
  • Where to go for more info?
lessons learned getting started
Lessons LearnedGetting Started
  • Start small
    • One Scrum team doing a prototype would be ideal
  • Do what the book says from the start
    • Company dysfunctions can creep in otherwise
    • …but Scrum is meant to be modified (eventually)
  • Agile planning is harder to start than thought
    • But XP was easier
  • Coaching was critical
    • Onsite and CSM
  • Publisher buy-in wasn’t difficult
    • Get them into reviews and planning
lessons learned

Normal Velocity

Lessons Learned…

Overtime Velocity

Overtime value is limited

but intensity is raised

  • Old Habits Die Hard
    • Over-design
    • Delayed integration
    • Seating by discipline
    • Command and control

Waterfall Project End

Iterations

Testing needs to be pushed

Waterfall Project Start

benefits
Benefits
  • Improved…
    • Productivity
    • Reliability of build
    • Quality of game
    • Morale
      • Ownership
      • Team work
      • Communication
  • Enables low-cost executive awareness
    • Which means you don’t have to work hard to find out what’s going on
where to go for more info
Where to go for more info?
  • www.agilegamedevelopment.com
    • Books
    • Mailing lists
    • AGD Blog