Week 1 Lecture Notes - Project Management

Emphasis on the work you do this year

  • Estimated 10,000 students in games courses
  • 9,000-10,000 jobs in games industry
  • Around 6,000 of those, progrmamers
  • 250 new jobs per year
  • 40 or less placements per year
  • Only the top 1-2% will get jobs in the games industry

All of the above figures are approximations to emphasise the importance of a good work ethic in the second year.
They may or may not be representative of the real figures.


Above: A triangle model which shows the relation of three key drives in game development.
Refinement in one aspect, leads to degradation in the other two.
For example: making something "good" comes at an expense of time and money (Leading the decision point further away from "Fast" and "Cheap")

This concept is vital to understanding effective development.

Professional Conduct

  • Work ethic - Working diligently
  • Time management skills - Not leaving things until the last minute!
  • Polish - Comment your code!
  • Communicating with others - Ask for help if you need it
  • Work/Life balance - Not going out drinking the night before an early morning lecture/work; Even if you turn up on time, you're not going to learn as much if tired/hung over
  • Punctuality - Don't be late
  • Take pride in your work - Going above the bare minimum required, refining code etc.
  • Reading around a subject - Not much time for that this year (Modules are packed with work)
  • Keep a Development Diary - It helps you learn from your mistakes, something to show potential employer
  • Be willing to accept criticism - Showing your work to other people can be very helpful; If your code is badly written, now (the second year) is the time to find that out, not when you're on placement
  • Attitude - John:" I can normally tell from the first week, who will get a job in industry"
  • Learn from your mistakes
  • Writing reusable code / quality code - You can save a lot of time by making a pool of reusable code, this means it's a good idea to write your classes well the first time.
  • John: "Bad code often gets reused the most because people don't understand how it works, so they never try to optimise it"

Brick walls are there to keep people out

Game Development: Team Size

Staff: 2-3
Budget: £100k
Time: 6-12 Months
Example: Dune 2 on the Mega Drive

Staff: ~10
Budget: ~£400k
Time: 15 Months
Example: Goldeneye on the N64

Staff: 30-40
Budget: £4Million
Time: 18-24 Months
Example: Fable on Xbox

Staff: 60-80
Budget: ~ £8million
Time: 18-36 Months
Example: Dead Rising on Xbox 360

Present Day:
Is 200 realistic?
Team above 200 are very rare.
Most teams tend to fluctuate in size, throughout the development cycle

As the generations of consoles have moved on the costs of developing games has increased, companies are chasing the big money which can be made from an AAA title. For many developments this doesn't work out with 80-95% of games maming a loss.


Large companies move employees around between multiple products, for the production phases they are needed most. These large companies will often have 2 or 3 games in full production phase with another 5 or 6 in pre production phase which requires far less resources

Lowering the budget

  • Middleware saves on workload
  • Use contractors
  • Outsourcing

Within our Control

  • Technical difficulty
  • Delivering on time
  • Budgets

Why planning is important

  • Saves time writing unnecessary code
  • Awareness of time scale

Why do we hate plans?
It involves:

  • Time
  • Prediction
  • Paperwork
  • Procedures
  • Commitment

"Time that could be spent doing programming!"


"Failing to plan is a plan to fail."

See Also:
Project Planning (Hardwood Hearts group exercise)

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