Game Prototyping 1
Instructor: Lindsay Grace


How to Steer Clear of Software Problems in Game Development

1.Test often and test well

Evaluate whether or not you can create what you plan to create. Test the tools provided, test the possibility, and test the load. You wouldn’t buy a car without taking it for spin, right?

2.Check the pipeline before you commit

If you take the car for a test drive, then you know it works. However, do you know what it needs to work? This is where research and diligence pay off. Can you create your models AND animation in the tools with which you are comfortable? How long will it take to integrate your assets into the game? Can you develop assets and code simultaneously? You might want to know that the car you just bought, requires premium fuel or a $500 oil change before you take it home.

3.Spec and spec in writing

If you are going to travel with a team, you better all know where you are going. If you put it in writing, there will be fewer problems later. If game design changes, the spec documents must change. If the pipeline changes, you need to let everyone know and you need to let them know early.

4.Check Your Schedule Often

It's easy for developers and artists to loose track of time. They are generally worried about their specific tasks, but they may not see the big picture. A good producer is in-tune with the health of the team, and the #1 indicator of poor health is a long list of past-due milestones. Nearly all games trim some low-payoff game attributes before they release. These may include art that simply can't be done in time, or more often, game functions that have little payoff.

5.Evaluate Regularly

Even small, independent developers recognize the benefit of regularly schedules meetings to evaluate progress. These checkpoints let everyone know how the team is doing. They also give people the opportunity to share shortcuts, experiences, and solutions.

6.Don't rely on one Person

It's easy to do, but it is dangerous. Imagine your one developer gets sick, has a baby, or simply checks out permanently. There is nothing you can do but start looking for another one. Having more than one person responsible also means that the pressure is not wholly on one person. The likelihood of loosing that person diminishes, as they are less likely to burn out of whatever they are doing.

Provided by Lindsay Grace for students of the Illinois Institute of Art, Chicago. These documents may be used by others when properly credited. Please email lgrace at aii edu for more information.