Hey there, Gamers and Game Makers!
In this week's blog, I'm going to talk a little bit about basic task management when it comes to making your game.
Games take time to make and involve a lot of work. If like me, you're a one person studio, you know there's a lot to juggle between design, code, art, sound and more. It can be daunting at times trying to juggle everything or even to keep track of what needs to be done and when it needs to be done. So, how do you effectively handle task management? Well, there are a bunch of methods to it but I'm going to talk about what I do as it's a basic method that while simple, is effective.
My approach is essentially a scrum method. At all stages of development for a game I'm working on from pre-production up until final development, I start by identifying what needs to be done and set goals. Saw for example you want to make a game in a year. Then your first goal and overall goal is to have a finished game within twelve months. So, next thing you want to do is break that one big goal down into monthly goals. So lets say you want to have a playable prototype at the end of the first month to test the gameplay of the game. Then that's your monthly sprint. However, to achieve that, you're going to need to break that down into smaller weekly sprints.
For this example the first weeks sprint could be do build the character controller and the second weeks sprint could be to work on the camera system and so on. You can then break each of those weekly sprints down into daily tasks as well. This is what I do to keep track of what I need to do and when. I can prioritise tasks more effectively this way as I can better judge how long something is likely to take. This also keeps a sense of order and control over your game. Since games require so much work, it can be easy to loose track of what you actually need to be working on and become frustrated with the project as a whole.
There are plenty of apps and services out there that can help you with the task management of your project and some of them are very could. Depending on your project, one may be better suited to you than another so, be sure to do your research. I'm somewhat old fashioned when it comes to this. I don't tend to use and app or software for my task management. As I'm a one person studio, I have no real need. I instead use a whiteboard and post-its. My whiteboard is broken down into my overall goals, my monthly goals, my weekly sprints and daily tasks. It's easy for me to quickly look at the board and see what needs to be done and it's also a great visual feeling of satisfaction as you see progress being made every time you can remove a task from the board.
This is my simple approach to task management with games and there are plenty of variations that may suit depending on your project. I think this one is a good starting point as it's an effective way of quickly getting your project in order right from the start and can help you plan long term. You can then adapt it to suit your needs.
Until next time!