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Offline rpmolecule

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The Game Development SDLC
« on: October 14, 2008, 05:36:49 PM »
The Game Development SDLC

The development process of a game varies depending on the company and project. However development of a commercial game usually includes the following stages.

 Pre-production


Early phases of game development are often characterized by poor quality of graphics. This is especially true of various game prototypes.
Early phases of game development are often characterized by poor quality of graphics. This is especially true of various game prototypes.

Normally before any game can begin development, the idea for the game is created and must be approved (given the "green light") by the publisher/developer.

In the common case in which developer and publisher are separate companies, pitches are made to management at the developer, and then it needs to be shopped around to publishers. Demos are often used but sometimes unnecessary for established developers with good track records. Production can begin once (and if) an interested publisher is found. Games rarely progress far without an interested publisher.

If the developer is also a publisher, or both are subsidiaries of a single company, only the upper management needs to give approval. Depending on the size of the publisher, this may require several rounds of pitches as the idea makes its way up through the layers of management.

Game designers often present the project, but the presenter could be any role in the video game industry. Before full-scale production begins, the development team produces a design document, which describes the concept and major gameplay elements in detail. Design documents may also include preliminary sketches of various aspects of the game. These are sometimes accompanied by functional prototypes of some sections of the game. Design documents generally incorporate all or most of the material from the initial pitch. Design documents are always "living documents"—it is never truly complete while the game is in development. It often changes weekly or even daily. So while the design document needs to exist in some form before full-scale production begins, it is almost never a complete design, though most elements of the projected game are described (in varying level of detail).

Before an approved design is completed, a skeleton crew of programmers and artists usually begins work. Programmers may develop "quick and dirty" prototypes showcasing one or more features some stakeholders would like to see incorporated in the game. Or they may begin developing the technical framework the game will eventually use. Artists may develop volumes of sketches as a springboard for developing real game assets. Producers may work part-time on the game at this point, scaling up for full time commitment as development progresses. Game Producers work during pre-production is commonly related to planning the schedule, budget & estimating tasks with the team. Doing these Producer aims to create a solid production plan so that production can be started when needed without delays.


 Production


Mainstream production is usually defined as the period of time when the project is fully staffed. Programmers write much new source code, artists develop game assets such as sprites or, more often today, 3D models of game elements. Sound engineers develop sound effects and composers develop music for the game. Level designers create advanced and eye-catching levels, and writers write dialog for cutscenes and NPCs.

All the while, the game designer implements and modifies the game design to reflect the current vision of the game. Features and levels are often removed or added. The art treatment may evolve and the backstory may change. A new platform may be targeted as well as a new demographic. All these changes need to be documented and dispersed to the rest of the team. Most changes occur as updates to the design document.

From a time standpoint, the game\'s first level takes the longest to develop. As level designers and artists use the tools for level building, they request features and changes to the in-house tools that allow for quicker and higher quality development. Newly introduced features may cause old levels to become obsolete, so the levels developed early on may be repeatedly developed and discarded. Because of the dynamic environment of game development, the design of early levels may also change over time. It is not uncommon to spend upwards of twelve months on one level of a game developed over the course of three years. Later levels can be developed much more quickly as the feature set is more complete and the game vision is clearer and more stable.

Testers start work once anything is playable. This may be one level or subset of the game software that can be used to any reasonable extent. Early on, testing a game occupies a relatively small amount of time. Testers may work on several games at once. As development draws to a close, a single game usually employs many testers full time (and often with overtime). They strive to test new features and regression test existing ones. Testing is vital for modern, complex games as single changes may lead to catastrophic consequences.

Milestones

Commercial game development projects are usually required to meet milestones. Milestones represent interim project goals while also being synonymous with deadlines. Milestones include a pre-release version of the game with an agreed upon set of features. The consequences of missing a milestone vary from project to project, but usually delay installment payments (in the case of third-party developers).

Shortly before a milestone, many development teams go into "crunch mode"—extended overtime work weeks meant to catch up on any work that has slipped during regular development or to fix "killer bugs" that could jeopardize the future of the project. During these periods, many team members may put in long hours. After a deliverable is completed, some companies give their teams "comp time" (compensation time) of a few paid days off.

There are many types of deliverables, but one for an installment payment described above is the most common. For example, one major milestone may be an E3 demo. E3 — which, up until 2006 used to be the game industry\'s biggest trade show before downgrading to a more intimate showing of individual press screenings — is the place to market an upcoming game. The E3 demo is such a major effort that it may halt all normal development as the team prepares a small-scale, polished version of the game. Special assets are usually required for such a demo and team members are normally pulled off mainstream production for the demo development. As time draws nearer to the trade show, more team members may be drawn in to complete the demo on time. Later, this demo may be used as the game\'s official demo when the game is released.



 Nearing completion


The weeks leading to completion of a game are intense, with most team members putting in a great deal of—mostly unpaid—overtime. Unsurprisingly, this may lead to short tempers and a great deal of exhaustion. The extra effort is required for most games as unforeseen problems regularly arise and last-minute features are hastily added.

Testing

The testing staff is most heavily relied upon at the end of a project, as they not only need to test newly added features, levels and bug fixes, but they also need to carry out regression testing to make sure that features that have been in place for months still operate correctly. This is also often the time when features and levels are being finished at the highest rate, so there is more new material to be tested than any other time in the project.

Regression testing is one of the most vital tasks required for effective software development. As new features are added, subtle changes to the codebase can impact seemingly unrelated portions of the game. This task is often overlooked, for several reasons. Some inexperienced developers may feel that once a feature works, it will always work. Also, since features are often added late in development, there isn\'t sufficient time to test existing features: testing new features takes precedence. Proper regression testing is also increasingly expensive and often not scheduled for correctly ahead of time.

Despite the dangers of not completely regression testing, many game developers and publishers fail to regression test a game’s full feature suite. One recent high-profile case of insufficient regression testing occurred with Firaxis’ Civilization III. Though the game worked for weeks before going gold, late changes to the code made the game unplayable past the industrial age. Understandably, this angered customers and fans of the game. Firaxis was quick to release a patch for the game, but not before suffering blows to their reputation.

[edit] Completion

After the game goes gold and ships, some developers will give team members comp time (perhaps up to a week or two) to compensate for the overtime put in to complete the game, though this compensation is not standard.

[edit] Maintenance

Console games used to be considered 100% complete when shipped and could not be changed. However, with the introduction of online-enabled consoles such as the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii a large proportion of games are receiving patches and fixes after the game shipped due to bugs and glitches, much like PC games.

While console games can be developed for a finite set of components, PC games can have conflicts with the numerous hardware configurations users may employ. Developers try to account for the most prevalent configurations, but cannot anticipate all systems that their game may be tried on. It is common practice for computer game developers to release patches for games after they ship (often months or even years later). These patches used to be mailed to users via floppy disk, but are now generally available for download via the developer\'s website. If a game goes into a second printing, the patched version is used as the new master.

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The Game Development SDLC
« on: October 14, 2008, 05:36:49 PM »

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Offline Transformer10

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Re: The Game Development SDLC
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2008, 11:37:07 AM »
So what development platform is normally used for Gaming?

ANy idea?

Offline LadyProgrammer

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Re: The Game Development SDLC
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2016, 02:01:49 AM »
Yung dati kong officemate, kwento nya, java ang development platform nila.

Offline MrSpecialist

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Re: The Game Development SDLC
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2016, 11:41:13 AM »
dba mas madaling gamitin ang C++ compared sa Java for game development? mas may control ka sa garbage collection sa C++ dba?

 

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