Guildhall at Gamasutra 2012

Benjamin, Dustin, Navin and Trevor are Production track candidates for the Master of Interactive Technology degree in The Guildhall at SMU’s video game design program. With the guidance of Guildhall lecturer and noted game producer and developer Elizabeth Stringer, they are blogging about their experiences for the influential gaming site Gamasutra.

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Summary of My Sprint Retrospectives at The Guildhall

An update from Navin, a member of The Guildhall at SMU team blogging for Gamasutra:

I am currently the producer on two projects at The Guildhall at SMU. Each of the teams consists of at least one artist, one programmer, and two designers. They are currently working on a new engine created internally by the Guildhall.

The two games consist of:
Miasma – 2D classic platformer
Untethered – 2D gravity shifting platformer

Throughout the ten week project, the team passes through six different milestones (Proof of Concept Technology, Proof of Concept Gameplay, Vertical Slice, Alpha, Beta, and RTM). After each milestone has been successfully completed, each of my teams goes through a sprint retrospective meeting. This meeting allows the team to discuss the effective and ineffective process that occurred throughout the milestone.

The process goes as follows:

Overview:

This initial part of the meeting discusses the product that was delivered for the milestone. Examples of the product are as follows:

  • Vertical Slice level white-boxed
  • Gravity shift mechanic fully functional
  • All character animations completed

Effective Processes:

This next part of the meeting discusses the effective processes that occurred during the milestone. Examples of these processes are as follows:

  • Team High Product Buy-in
  • Daily Scrum Meetings Were Productive
  • Good/Responsive Communication Between Disciplines

Ineffective Processes

This next part of the meeting discusses the ineffective processes that occurred during the milestone. Examples of these processes are as follows:

  • Personal issues should not be brought into meetings during core hours
  • Bugs need to be reported to Issue Manager
  • Commits/Uploads to source control needs happen more often
  • Communication between the Executive Producer and the Assistant Producer needs to be improved

Future Milestone

This final part of the meeting discusses the plan for next milestone. Examples of this plan are as follows:

  • Complete all animations for environment hazards (lasers, hullbreaches)
  • Menu/HUD functionality
  • Finalize/Polish Vertical Slice Level

Overall, sprint retrospectives allow the team to reflect back on what they have done on the previous milestone sprint. It lets the team speak openly within the group to address effective/ineffective process as well help map out plans for future milestone sprints.

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