Up Course Introduction Course Project Info. Syllabus Peer Evaluations Your Current Grade Extra Credit Ideas 1: Welcome to Work 2: Biz, Plan, Time 3: Risks, Leadership 4: Startups, Mktg 5: Budgets, ROIs 6: Protecting Ideas 1 7: Protecting Ideas 2 8: Deal Points 9: Getting a Job 10: Reality, Future 11: Why and Tao

Game Project Management

Week 2: Business Context and the Business Equation; Project Planning; Estimating Task Times

This is another extremely important and busy class session that paves the way for the rest of the quarter. Your team will have a crucial meetings in class this week to finalize your selection of a business identity and decide which game proposal will be the one you pitch to the client. In addition, the lecture material provides a insightful look at the "business" side of the game business. In addition, you'll learn how to put together a project plan and how to estimate task schedules for it.

Task Who?   1 C 1 H 2 C 2 H 3 C
Get a Job (including job description) Every            
Form a Team Team            
Switch Job and / or Team (if desired) Individual       a    
Create 3x ideas for corporate identity Individual            
Decide upon corporate identity Team        a    
Create corporate buss cards & letterhead Art Dir.?            
Corporate buss cards & letterhead due [12 points total] Team            
Create 3x ideas for game to pitch Individual            
Decide upon game idea to pitch Team        a    
Discuss vision for game to pitch Team        a    
Write draft Concept Document for the game Writer            
Draft Concept document due [8 points] Team            
Break down tasks for Homework Gantt chart Individual        a    
Create draft of Homework Gantt chart Producer            
Submit Homework Gantt chart to Teammates Producer            
Review, amend, approve Homework Gantt Chart Team            
First Examination [20 points] Individual            

The link below is the homework assignment due at the beginning of the next class session.

Homework: Week 2

Be sure to study up for the first exam next week! It is worth 20 points and covers the material from weeks 1 and 2, including chapter 11 in the course text book (the development phase) and the required reading sections for those weeks on this web site.

Required Reading:

These links feature the supplemental material that you are responsible for knowing before the first exam (that takes place at the end of Week 3). Be sure to click on every link in this section!

This is the only book I've found dedicated to this subject.Article: Painless Software Schedules by Joel Spolsky

Testosterone-crazed game companies like to brag on their web sites that the next game will ship "when it's ready". Schedule? We don't need no stinkin' schedule! We're cool game coders! This article contains very practical advice about how to put your Graded Course Project's schedule together. Producers and Technical Directors take special note!

Article: Structuring Key Design Elements by Erik Bethke

This article is a sample chapter from the Optional Course Textbook (chapter 7, to be exact) and covers material on Key Design Elements; in particular note the Unified Software Development Process.

Article: Stand by Your (Business) Plan by Jessee Allread

Remember, the game business is a business and companies fail all the time. When you put the business context first, you're much more likely to succeed.

Article: Collaborating in Game Design by Noah Falstein and David Fox

Lead Writer / Designers take note! Collaboration among game designers (which is probably everyone on your Team) is not rocket science...it's harder! Here are some tips on how to avoid common pitfalls and spread peace and joy amongst cube-ville.

Optional Reading:

These supplemental links are worth pursuing only if you are seriously interested in working in the game business and want to know about it in the broadest possible sense. This material will not be directly included in the exams, but if you're serious about delving deeply into the subject of game production, here's some more lessons from others who have also "been there."

Article: Writing a Business Plan for Independent Gaming Ventures by Dante Monique Pirouz

Producers and Lead Writer / Designers take note! The creation of a solid business plan is as much an art as it is a science. What follows is an overview of the steps needed to transform your 'Pitch' into a viable plan that encourages investment.

Article: Game Law: A Case for Flexible Milestone Deliverables by Tom Buscaglia

In this edition of Game Law, Tom Buscaglia takes a look a milestone deliverables set by game publishers, specifically suggesting a flexible milestone delivery method for developers as an alternative to often inaccurate static milestones.

Power Point presentation: Key Project Management Best Practices by Dylan Miklashek

Everyone going into the game industry will want to click through this presentation of the Project Manager, Leadership, and pulling it all together.

File download: Sample Project Gantt Chart by Alan Emrich

Producers, here is a sample Gantt chart for you to use as a template for creating a Project Plan for getting your team's Graded Course Project done on track and on time. You'll have a lot of 'fill in' work to do to fit it to your team's specific game, but key course dates and activities are included (and you should transfer these these your class schedule Gantt chart).

File download: Another Sample Project Gantt Chart by Launie Le

Again, Producers, here is another sample Gantt chart created by a student producer to manage her Teams' project. Note the granularity of the Task Descriptions and the logical progression of dependencies (that is, drafts are done, submitted for approval, suggestions made, redrafts are created, and so forth up to completion of the final version).

Software download: Smartdraw by Smartdraw.com

Producers, here is a recommended software package that you can download and try for free. It will help you make the PERT and/or Gantt charts you desire with a bit more panache than Microsoft Excel.

Article: Exploring the Business Side of the Business of Making Games by Di Davies

Project management, business models, tools of the trade, and team unity are discussed.

Article: In the Beginning was The Word by Ernest Adams

Lead Writer / Designers take note! Ernest Adams delivers his own gospel that puts all your writing for the Course Project into some perspective.

Interview: Bruce Shelley: The Mythology of Empires by Simon Carless

Bruce Shelly has made a lot of successful games over the years, and in this article he reveals some of the secrets for designing successful games ― recipes that he and Sid Meier use.

Bibliography: Week 2

Game Career Info. Bibliography Game Biz Quotes Game Making Tools Design Glossary Producer Glossary Top 10 Reasons Editorial Latin Practical Latin Practical Yiddish Where I get Games Emrich Home Page