GDC was good this year. Although attendance was down, you couldn't tell it from the sessions. They were packed. The expo floor and especially the career pavilion, were a little more sparse.
All the sessions I wanted to attend were good. I added some comments on a few:
Failure is NOT an Option - Basic Survival Techniques for any Producer/Designer
This was one of the best sessions of GDC. Rich Vogel talked about true, hard-won leadership and PM wisdom. He "told it like it was" and his one-liners had us laughing. Get the slides and audio.
Building Your Airplane While Flying: Production at Bungie
I met Allen Murray and Patrick O'Kelley earlier in the week and was interested to hear how they were adopting a very Scrum-like process to production. It sounds like Bungie is applying a lot of common sense to production following some heavy crunch on the Halo titles. Sadly, I had to dash to a meeting halfway through this presentation, so I'll be downloading the slides and audio for this one as well.
Bend Microsoft Project To Your Will - Again
Good session! I almost wish I was using MS Project 2007 after suffering all those years ago using its predecessors. Almost. Although Mike says he has some issues with Scrum, he professes a lot of wisdom that is in line with the principles of agile development:
- "If you are spending more than 30 minutes a day using Project and not working with the team, you are doing it wrong. Your real job is getting out of your chair and looking at the game".
- "Don't get caught up in tracking the past".
- "Game development is agile whether you like it or not."
Mike suggests that daily work be tracked and that a Project database be limited to 1500 tasks. However a console project team using Scrum can easily generate over 1500 tasks every four week Sprint. Tracking to the level of detail that Scrum teams can do themselves doesn't sound like an effective use of time and tracking to a higher level of team is less accurate.
It's a better tool these days, but I think it's best used for production.
The Iterative Level Design Process of Bioware's MASS EFFECT 2
I had to skip this one for my flight back. However I had a great chat with Corey the day before. Bioware continues to be a very progressive development house that is discovering great things. I'll be grabbing the slides/audio for this one as well.
I can't recall attending a more enjoyable GDC. I'm looking forward to GDC Canda in May!
I thought the BioWare talk was amazing; I wrote up notes, if you're curious.
One question I had: where does the chatter about agile/lean in game development contexts happen? I know about your blog, obviously, and I'm subscribed to many agile/lean mailing lists that discuss those ways of working in other contexts, but I'd like to listen to more people talk about how agile and lean get used in game development contexts. Where should I be hanging out, other than here?
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