LAFS PREPRO Session 4 - Project Milestones

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Project Management Lecture for Session 4 of The Los Angeles Film School's Game PreProduction course.

Project Management Lecture for Session 4 of The Los Angeles Film School's Game PreProduction course.

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  • 1. Session 4 David Mullich Game PreProduction The Los Angeles Film School
  • 2. Milestones Milestones mark major events during game development.  Help the project leads determine their delivery goals for the project  Track game's progress  Determine the criteria for milestone acceptance (and payment)
  • 3. Typical Milestones  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 game.  First Playable: the game version containing representative gameplay and assets, this is the first version with functional major gameplay elements.
  • 4. Typical Milestones  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 features. 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 implementing additions.
  • 5. Typical Milestones  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.
  • 6. Typical Milestones  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.
  • 7. Important Note! 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
  • 8. 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 milestones:  Contract Signing  Documentation  First Playable  Alpha  Beta  Gold Master  Final Assets