Increase your productivity in Game development part 2/2

from https://www.flickr.com/photos/orcmid/3879260297

This article will help your small indie team to increase your productivity and achieve your main goal: “Create your game”. In part one of the tutorial, we saw how to use some instruments to organize communications, tasks and file sharing. In this part we will analyze some of the most common techniques used to increase the productivity of the team.

 

Increase your productivity: Use SCRUM.

ScrumCycle

Scrum is one of the most used techniques in software development. Is marked as “agile” technique. It can be used to develop every kind of software projects, and can be used from small indie games to AAA games. Here  you can find the full description of the scrum technique. SCRUM is a complicated technique which usually involve a professional figure called “scrum master” and other complicated procedures and rules, but we can try to keep the things easy and try to use just the most essential concepts of SCRU, so I will just give you the essential information that you need to know in order to use SCRUM efficiently.

Scrum is composed of one development cycle that can last from one week to 4 weeks.

Phase one: define your sprint plan:

Each development cycle, it’s called “sprint”. Before to define the tasks to do in each sprint plan, you need to define the goal of that sprint. For example, as a game developer the goal of your first sprint plan can be the creation of a functional prototype. Once you have decided your goal, define the time that you feel your sprint plan should last to achieve that goal.

 

Phase two: Define your tasks:

trello

Ok, now it’s time that every member of the team writes down his tasks to accomplish the specific goal of that sprint. As you can image, trello can be a very helpful platform where you can manage the tasks for your sprint plan.

For example, if your main goal it’s to create a playable prototype, the task list for the graphic designer can be something like:

 

  1. Create the main character.
  2. Create the game UI.
  3. Create the game coins.

 

Phase 3: Daily Scrum:

Every day you should review the progress of your work and the problems that you had to face to accomplish your task. If you are an indie team where each member work remotely, this can be hard to achieve, but try to use skype or google hangout to speak with each others every day. This can help to keep your team focus on the project and understand each other problems.

 

Phase 3: Scum Review:

This phase must be executed at the end of the sprint plan, it’s helpful to review the complex progression of the team. Review each completed task and be always honest with your team members, tell them if there is something that doesn’t work as it was suppose to be and tell them if you think that some changes have to be made to improve the productivity of the team.

 

Phase 4: start again from point one.

 

Here an example of a scrum board setted in trello.

There are other softwares that can be used to manage a sprint plan, like jira for example, but these it’s more suitable for big projects or big companies.

 

GIT:

Is it defined as a “source code management system” for software development. To find out more about GIT visit this link. Basically, it allows your team to work simultaneously at the same project. To use Git properly the situations start to be a little bit technical, but don’t worry, I will give you some tips to keep the technical know-how as low as possible.

Why use Git?

  1. Code review (review the code/ changes made by the other team members).
  2. Integrate one features at the time.
  3. If something went wrong, you can go back to the latest working version.
  4. You don’t need to exchange USB flash drive to integrate files/changes into your project, because with GIT, each member of the team can work on a particular task of the game, and once it’s finished you can integrate the work that you made into the project with the minimum effort.

It’s like to complete a puzzle, each member of the team is assigned to a little area of the puzzle, when your area, it’s completed, you can integrate it to the other areas of the puzzle already made by the other team members.

 

How to use GIT:

Step 1: Find a “location” for your project:

First of all, you need to find a location on the web where to save your project in order to make it’s sharable within the team. For a small team, Bitbucket it’s free and easy to use, otherwise GitHub is another valid alternative. Create an account and create a project in one of these services. When a project has been created it’s like to have an empty folder  on the web where your project will be located.

 

Step 2: Download the source management code tool.

The most used softwares to manage your code is Source tree  and github desktop client.

Check the official websites to find out how those softwares work and how to use those. Here the complete documentation that will explain how to integrate Source tree. The third solution it’s to use the command line tool instead of a desktop client, but this is much more technical.

Set Up GIT is a little bit technical, especially if you are new to those tools, but in the long term, if you learn how to use Git and a source management tool, it can give a big advantages to your team and can really help to improve the productivity of the team.

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