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Recommended articles on SE in game industry?


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#1 Aviar   Members   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 09:27 PM

Background

Bit of background on me as a person first. I am currently a student in Information Systems Engineering, taking a class on Systems Analysis (essentially dedicated to simply the first step in software processes). At the same time, I am interested in game design, particularly in Flash. I had joined part of a team, and the project failed spectacularly (for various reasons). Now I am looking to research into, and possibly design a process for managing game development. I've read papers (IEEE standards 830, 12207 as well as two on requirements volatility), books on requirements engineering (practice and theory) as well as the general idea of software engineering (Ian Sommerville and Kendall & Kendall). As far as game design, I have not actually yet produced a game, yes I know this is poor form, but I find tackling a game to be a large problem to begin with, and would like to have a roadmap. I am not tackling this task alone, both of my professors have offered any assistance they can give. Now onto the actual matter.

Actual Matters

I need any useful articles on designing processes (particularly ones that handle heterogenous teams) or on process metrics (is functional point analysis the only way to measure?). I am having a problem in particularly being able to quantify and identify attributes/characteristics of a processes. Could also use any UP TO DATE values on project overruns and cancellations in the game industry (somehow I assume I won't just be able to ask companies for their figures), as well as current software processes that are used (found a couple saying that XP and SCRUM were common, but the articles were old, ~2002 old). In general, my situation is poor, I assume a problem, and assume the reasons for that the problem exists. Neither is good form, as I could essentially be fixing something that doesn't need fixing.


Further, the questions I must answer are as follows (I formulated these, so they may be poor, and I would seriously appreciate any feedback on making them better and will be more than happy to clarify any matters):

Problem Definition:
  • Is there a problem in game/multimedia projects with regards to cost overruns and cancellations?
  • If so, is the problem more frequent in game projects than in other software projects, such as business or critical systems?
Problem Identification:
  • What causes project failures or cost overruns to be more common in the game industry? Are these problems commonly due to poor process support?
  • How great is the difference of success for a given process in the game industry in relation to other industries?
  • In the case that processes fail more commonly in game industries, what causes these failures?
Solution Search:
  • Can a process be designed to effectively take into account these causes, and assist in mitigating or controlling them?
  • Do solutions currently exist for these/this problem, if so, what are they?
Closing:
  • How does the new process differ from previous processes?
  • How do these elements address the problems identified?
  • How can the process be bettered?
  • What old problems remain and which new ones were introduced?


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#2 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10158

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 09:52 PM

Scrum is still the current "hotness" in game project management.
The big problem with keeping on schedule and budget is change requests. "Feature creep." Look it up.
I suggest that your best course of action would be to read numerous game project postmortems. Check Gamasutra and GDMag.
-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#3 Aviar   Members   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 10:08 PM

Read a couple, and have a couple ideas as to problems, such as feature creep (which I know by the name requirements volatility in terms of quantifiable attributes), poor integration of multiple asset pipelines/processes, lack of user communication or overabundance (lack of causes problem misinterpretation, current overabundance is usually due to prototyping, which leads to prototype as product), distributed work problems (time zones) and poor requirements. I do not know how Quality Assurance and Performance Engineering are tackled in game projects either, but I am guessing that for most (small) teams performance engineering is non-existent. Even with all this, my main problem is still the fact I can't prove these are actually the problem, since I have no tools with which to take measurements of these attributes.

Also, despite all this, are there any particulars you might recommend. I've read the GDD article on GUM, as well as Evolutionary Design. I am not counting forum posts since those were a mixed bag.


P.S.: I could also use any writings that deal with art or music as a stand-alone process to determine the differences from the standard software models (which tend to be code first). Also, I'll take a look at GDMag. Thanks.




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