Planification in game development

Nowadays, it is easier than ever to start developing a video game, we have access to software and technology that was very hard to get before. The indie industry is bigger than ever and hundreds of indie games are released every month. But lets be honest, most of this games aren't what we would say good games and even lots of them look like unfinished projects that their developers wanted to release at any cost without polishing them. In most cases, this is because of a bad planning or an inexistence of it. Today, we want to talk about planification and how important it is.

The first thing you have to do when you want to develop a game is to write a Game Design Document (from now on GDD), in this document you have to write everything about the game, EVERYTHING. It has to contain the game mechanics, the design of all the levels, all the objects, all the characters, etc. The development of the GDD is crucial for the rest of the process, every time that someone of the team has to work in a part of the game he can check the GDD to do things the right way. It is very common for people who are developing their first game to avoid the elaboration of this document, and you can se how their games change every time they have a new idea, this makes their games a mesh of different mechanics that don't fit well the game. It is very important to elaborate this document and consult it while you are developing the game. You can find some GDD examples on the following link:

Once you have written your GDD you have an idea of all the work that has to be done, so the next step is to divide all the work in tasks. These tasks have to be as small as possible, these way it is easier to accomplish each task and to measure the progress. With all the small tasks you have planned you have to elaborate a chronogram where you can see when each task has to be done, how much time will it take to finish and which member of the team will do it. It is very hard to predict how much time will take to finish a task but it is necessary to make an estimation. With the chronogram done, you will have an idea of how much time will be needed for the development of the game. It is interesting to include in this chronogram marketing actions too. Here you can find how to develop a chronogram in excel:

When the timeline is done is time to get to work, but obviusly, there will always be bugs and problems. It is very important to meet weekly in order to follow the progresses and to replanificate if any type of problem appears. It is highly recommenable to meet as much as possible, in order to follow the progress of the development of the game but once a week is a good number. In this meetings each member of the team has to explain what has he done and which problems has he faced. With all the information gathered from the meeting you can replanificate the chronogram if it is necessary. A really usefol tool to follow the planification is Trello:

In the development of our game Urban Fighters we are following all this advices, and we are obtaining great results. It is better to work orderly and to have everything clear in your mind than to be improvising all the time, the results will be far better. 

If you have any other advice don't hesitate to leave a comment or write an email!

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