Why Agile?

QmarkSo, it’s great that Agile can improve software development, but what the hell does that have to do with games?

To my mind, quite a lot, and on several different vectors.

First, there is *direct* overlap between games and agile as numerous people have been creating games to illustrate and teach the principles of agility.  There are games like Cards for Agility that use existing game models to teach these ideas.  There are learning games like the ones that you can find at Tasty Cupcake.  Books like Gamestorming and Innovation Games take game ideas and apply them to solving business problems.  There is a whole school of thought surrounding “Serious Games” (games with a purpose other than entertainment) and most of the conversations I hear out of that space have a lot of room for improvement on the game side.  it’s a conversation we should be enthusiastically engaged in.

Second, Game Design is as much a discipline (and a business) as software design, and there are lessons that we can learn from the process.  This may not be as relevant to the lone auteur, producing work in isolation, but if you are producing work with collaborators (editors, artists, other designers) and incorporating user feedback (play testing and actual play reports) then the patterns of your work may echo those of software development, and by extension, may benefit from the same agile tricks that help in those environs.

Third, the actual *act* of gaming is often collaborative, iterative and continuously improving.   if that doesn’t suggest a highly permeable membrane between these ideas, I’m not sure what would.


One thought on “Why Agile?

  1. Phil Vecchione

    Great Agile articles!

    For my most recent game, Cybertek, we have been using a Scrum methodology to develop the game. Cybertek is a Cyberpunk Fate Toolkit, and I am currently on the 4th scrum. I have backlog of elements that need to get worked into the game (examples include: Hacking rules, AI’s, SimStim, etc). Every two weeks, I playtest the game with my group. In between games, I select a number of elements from the backlog for the upcoming sprint. Then for the two weeks, I work on those elements, and the weekend of the game (we play on Sunday’s), I produce a PDF of the current, playable, version of the rules. Which I post to the Misdirected Mark community (https://goo.gl/kcQ3MK).

    We then play, and as we identify changes or gaps in the existing rules, those go into the backlog, to be incorporated in future scrums. The backlog and the work on the current sprint is all managed in Trello.

    So far the process has been excellent.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *