The Los Angeles Film School
Milestones mark major events during game
Help the project leads determine their
delivery goals for the project
Track game's progress
Determine the criteria for milestone
acceptance (and payment)
Contract Signing: Usually the developer is made an
upfront “good faith” payment to start.
Game Documentation: the Game Design Document,
Technical Design Document, Art Document, Schedule,
Budget and sometimes, a Prototype version of the
First Playable: the game version containing
representative gameplay and assets, this is the first
version with functional major gameplay elements.
Alpha: the stage when key gameplay functionality is implemented,
and assets are partially finished. A game in alpha is feature
complete; that is, game is playable and contains all the major
These features may be further revised based on testing and
feedback. Additional small, new features may be added, similarly
planned, but unimplemented features may be dropped.
Programmers focus mainly on finishing the codebase, rather than
Feature Lock (or Code Freeze): the stage when new code is no
longer added to the game and only bugs are being corrected.
Code freeze occurs three to four months before code release.
Beta: the feature and asset complete version of the game, when
only bugs are being fixed.
This version contains no bugs that prevent the game from being
shippable. No changes are made to the game features, assets, or
Code Release (or Gold Master): the
version of the game that the publisher
decides to ship.
Source Code and Asset Delivery:
Delivery of the game's source code and
assets to the publisher.
Not every company agrees to the above set of definitions,
particularly with Alpha, Beta and Gold Master.
The Game Development Agreement should define these
milestones using the following criteria:
The degree to which game features are implemented
The percentage of final or near-final assets are implemented
The number and/or degree of "bugs" that are acceptable:
"A" Bugs: Game crashes or untestable features
"B" Bugs: Moderate-level bugs
"C" Bugs: Minor or cosmetic bug
Good news! Activision has heard about your game concept and
wants to publish it! Now you need to start contract negotiations.
Write down what you propose delivering for each of these