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When downstream processes aren't downstream

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Hi all,

I'm currently working as the sole writer on a project involving around ten people, although I've slipped into more of a design role as required. I'm responsible for mapping out the critical path through the game, which looks like it may become a more involved process later unless we get a level designer on board.

My problem is that all our disciplines have essentially started at the same time, with the project being the metaphorical equivalent of a blank slate. This means that some of the processes that would usually be downstream (music, art etc.) have started at the same time or even with a couple of weeks' head start. I'm conscious of not causing too many reworks in other departments at the same time as not becoming constrained by finished work that never got a chance to be run past the narrative.

Can anyone recommend a good order to tackles things in? I'm pretty new to this — at the moment I've prioritised the critical path for the first section of the game followed by a vertical-slice 'story MVP', but I'm worried I may be missing more important first steps (all the story doc is missing is some societal notes and a couple of character detail sections [four are already covered]). I'd be grateful for any process suggestions that would work in this scenario — at the moment I'm operating a(n infrequently used) feature and story board on Trello to keep things ordered.

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On 10/17/2018 at 1:50 PM, Kantorus said:

Can anyone recommend a good order to tackles things in?

First, reach agreement on what you're making. The traditional tool for that is the GDD.  Then plan the hardest part (the programming) - the traditional tool for that is the TDD. From there, you can plan the gating tasks (some use a pert chart for that), and determine when the programming team will need assets (audio and art) in order to first build a playable demo (vertical slice, the heart of the gameplay).  Then playtest and re-evaluate what's needed next.

Trello is good!

Just learned PERT is supposed to be all caps.

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Thanks for the reply, Tom.

We've got a GDD covered but haven't gone into depth in a TDD yet, so I'll have a look at getting the ball rolling on that. I'd never heard of PERT charts before but they look rather useful, so thanks for pointing them out!

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