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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The Sprint Retrospective Process in Practice: Iterating on Salvage Runner’s Successes and Mitigating Its Risks (Part Two)

An update from Ben, a member of the Guildhall at SMU team blogging for Gamasutra:

Retrospective Report
Sprint 2 – Proof of Concept Gameplay
10/29/2012 – 11/2/2012

1. Introduction
The purpose of the Retrospective Report is to describe in detail the specific activities that were most effective and those that need adjustments prior to the sprint.  A goal of the document is to inform future sprint teams of the obstacles encountered during this release. Sprint 2 began on 10/29/2012 and went through 11/2/2012.

2. Release Overview
Sprint 2 was the second and last Proof of Concept sprint before moving to Vertical Slice.   It contains:

  • Voice overs scripts written and outsourced for auditions
  • Implementation of placeholder music and sound effects
  • Salvage pickup functionality and placeholder art
  • Mines enemy functionality and placeholder art
  • Juggernaut enemy shoots at player
  • Overshield and temporary invincibility mechanic functionality with no art
  • POCG asteroids level whiteboxed and tested
  • Placeholder HUD containing shield, juggernaut directional arrow, and player’s score
  • Placeholder controls screen for kleenex tester
  • 7 bug fixes

3. Release Quality Statistics

Below are some statistics from the prior two sprints:

Sprint # Playtest Hours # Defects Found/Fixed
Sprint 1 – Proof of Concept Technology 4 5/5
Sprint 2 – Proof of Concept Gameplay 4 7/7
Total 8 12/12

4. Process Review

  • 4.1 Processes That Were Most Effective for the Sprint
# of Votes  Things Done Well
4 Scrum boards helped the team keep organized and on track for milestone completion.
4 The team feels glad that they are learning scrum processes now so that they can be more effective in later TGPs [Team Game Projects].
4 The team is excellent at making decisions effectively and expediently.
4 The team likes that core hours are productive.


  • 4.2 Processes That Had a Negative Effect on the Sprint
# of Votes Need Improvement
4 The team feels that scrum boards feel like micro-management for a team of four developers.
4 The team feels that locks are hard to stick to and poorly defined.
4 The team felt that adding new milestone requirements in mid-sprint impeded their work.
4 The team feels that administrative assignments such as documents get in the way of development.

5. Action Items

Below are the action items we will immediately put into place to improve our next sprint:

  • Add player feedback for every aspect of the game, including moving the HUD onto the ship itself so that the player does not have to avert his or her eyes from the gameplay.
  • Remove the juggernaut [enemy] directional arrow in the HUD because the juggernaut is always behind the player and at the bottom of the screen.
  • Level 2 needs to be the level that we develop for Vertical Slice because it contains the all of the core features of Salvage Runner.
  • Begin working on level 3.
  • Add warp drive art.
  • Make the end of the level apparent with sounds and art.

6. Variances

Sprint Est Hrs Act Hrs Variance % Variance
Sprint 1 – Proof of Concept Technology 44.5 38 6.5 117%
Sprint 2 – Proof of Concept Gameplay 72.5 60 12.5 121%
Averages 117 98 19 119%
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