Aspects of Project Management

This research paper will cover the different aspects of project management in video game development. Focus will also be on discussing and overviewing project lifecycles as it pertains to game development. There is also interest in seeing within the realm of video game development how the application of knowledge, various skills, tools, and the techniques are used.

The focus will also be on examining pre-production, production and post production in the gaming industry. Topics will also explore issues pertaining to but not limited stakeholder expectations, timeliness of implementation, optimization of resources, meeting the needs of business’s vision and mission regarding development, and exploring how the identification of and addressing any issues that may arise in game project development.

Introduction

The video game industry is an industry that has been steadily growing for over three decades. From Nintendo to Sony, games have been made for the platform for over three decades. Many games have been made but the question is how these spectacular pieces of art are being made. The initial commercial history of video games inevitably begins with the US military’s computer hardware and networks facilitating both game development and consumption.

Nolan Bushnell is credited as the pioneer of the worldwide commercial video game industry. Bushnell was the founder of Atari and is responsible for generations of home and arcade gaming hardware and software including the truly influential game, Pong.(citation) Arcades games were very popular peaked in the early 1980s so most titles were converted to play on the evolving home technology – home computers and consoles.(citation)

Also during this time, many independent developers and publishers started to emerge. Activision, for example, was founded by former Atari developers seeking greater ownership and control over their developments(citation)People recognize software games as new and very popular mode of entertainment and an important application of technology.

This has become increasingly accepted by people of all ages. In today’s culture, technology is easily accessible and has become more convenient; more and more people like to play games and are also becoming motivated to design their own games. (Game development software engineering process life cycle: a systematic review) Also, software games are gaining importance because they are not only used for entertainment, but also for serious purposes that can be applicable to different domains such as education, business, and health care. (game development)

The intricacy of modern video games requires workers with varied skill sets such as computer engineers and programmers, visual artists, audio engineers, animators, game designers, writers, and quality assurance testers. Each project team also has a producer and studios have a range of upper managers and administrative personnel. (Understanding video game developers as an occupational community)

The creation of each video game is a project with well-defined pre-production, production, and post-production phases that require different resources Under the project-based model, the outputs of each new game are unique, the environment is complex and uncertain, and coordination among project members is rooted in diffuse and informal power relationships among those who direct the work and those who perform it.

Buyers of video games – publishers – are essentially contract managers who offer IP development for tender to contractors. However, they purchase licences from IP owners such as book publishers and Hollywood studios. The decision to offer IP for tender is based on extensive research on global gaming and gaming trends (many games, characters and franchises are culturally specific).

Consequently, inherent in the tender offer, is the output of this research that gives a raft of indicators to developers about the industry. (Shopping for Buyers of Product Development Expertise:: How Video Games Developers Stay Ahead)

As a new entrant in the console market, it enables Microsoft to build relationships with content providers. Collaboration enhances capability for both platform owners and development studios. Collaborative relationships also deliver a timely product and improve quality (one feature of the collaboration is ongoing testing of product versions) and prevent or limit feature creep (too many features being added).

Microsoft seduced developers in the first instance by offering its development kits free of charge in exchange for development licences to complement its in-house effort. Risk management is very important from a project management point of view. Identifying risk factors in the game development process is also important.

In game development, the project manager is the game producer and must bring together management, technical, and aesthetic aspects to create a successful game. Two risk factors identified during the development process: failure of development strategy and absence of the fun factor.

In game development, important risk factors can be the development strategy, the fun factor or extent of originality, scheduling, budgeting, and others, but very low priority has been given by game developers to formal analysis of risk factors. (Game development software engineering process life cycle: a systematic review)

Process validation plays an important role in assessing game quality. Collection and evaluation of process data from the pre-production phase through to the post-production phase either provide evidence that the overall development process produces a good-quality game as a final product or reveal that it cannot.

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