IS480 Team wiki: 2010T2 CrusNitor MidTerm

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Project Progress Summary

The following are the chronicles of our IS481 journey up till the mid terms.

Project Highlights

Steep Learning Curve

We had underestimated the initial time we needed to learn and get fully accustomed with the programming language of Objective C. Initially we had estimated that we will need about 2 weeks to master the language. However, we took about 5 weeks to grasp the basics and concepts of Objective C. The difficulty arises from stark difference between the syntax of Objective C and Java, the language we are most familiar with. Further complicating the learning process was due to the fact that we also had to learn the frameworks of OpenGL and later on Cocos2D.

Freelance Designers for Game Art

One of the most major concerns of our project was the apparent problem of not having any graphic designers in the team. This is a critical area as besides the game play, the aesthetics of the game also forms a major component and attractiveness of any games. We are fortunate enough to link up with a group of freelance designers. They were kind enough to design and develop the animation for our game characters for free, on the condition that they are entitled to the ownership of the game assets. Thus we developed an agreement where we will own the codes of the games and will feature a credit page within the game to give the designing team the due recognition for the game art.

Increased risk in terms of schedule and project control

While the collaboration with the freelance design team was a boon for us, it also presented us with increased risks. We have to re-factor our timeline and produce a more agile development schedule. This is because the game art and asset production takes time. This means that we have to possess the flexibility of working on other aspects of the game while waiting for the assets to be produced. Subletting the asset development out to the design team also means that we have increased the risk of not having full control over one of the main aspects of game development. As such, we will have to take this new risk into account and come out with mitigation strategies.

Project Management

Project Status

We have restructured our scheduling and development plans to induce more flexibility. This is so as to allow us to continue developing the game concurrently while the designers are developing the game arts assets. We aim to work on other aspects of the game whenever we experience waiting time from the asset development. This is to ensure that the project will keep on progressing. This also allows us to periodically analyze our game system and conceptualize development areas that we have overlooked during our preliminary planning sessions in the Inception and Elaboration phases.

Features Status Confidence Level Comment
Wireless connectivity Fully deployed and tested 1 May install a heartbeat mechanism to enhance it.
Directional-Pad Fully deployed and tested 1
Primary attack In progress 10% 0.9
Special ability In progress 5% 0.8
Artificial Intelligence In progress 15% 0.8
Game score Not yet started 0
Health Started 5% 0.2
Basic UI Server-side In progress 10% 0.8

Project Schedule (Planned Vs Actual)

Among the main realizations that we have made is that the development of the game artificial intelligence (AI) and game physics will have to be developed incrementally as the project progresses. This is very different from our initial conceptualization where we figured that we can develop these two components in a one-time off basis. These components will be continually build upon and revisited at the start of other iterations so as to ensure that the development is in line with our vision for the final game product.

The 14 March deadline takes into account of our Alpha game version milestone and gives us some time allowance to factor in feedbacks from our UATs before we freeze our development work before the code freeze milestone is induced.

Iteration Feature Planned Date Actual Date Comments
Construction Iteration 2 Milestone First Playable Version 11 Feb 2011 25 Feb 2011 Delays in game asset production
Construction Iteration 2 Game AI Development 28 Jan 2011 14 Mar 2011 Development will be ongoing instead of one-time off task. Will be revisited at the start of each iteration.
Construction Iteration 2 Game Physics Development 8 Feb 2011 14 Mar 2011 Development will be ongoing instead of one-time off task. Will be revisited at the start of each iteration.

Project Metrics

Schedule Metric

We had set aside a buffer time of about 10 days within the project schedule. This buffer time acts as a safeguard to give us time allowance in the event that we go behind time. This buffer time can also act as the spare time for us to work on extra features that we would like to develop in the future or introduce features that we have overlooked during our preliminary planning. We designed a schedule metric that takes into account the number of buffer days left.

Optimally, we would want to leave the amount of buffer time we have untouched for rainy days. However, realistically we may experience delays throughout the project. The highest risk of this situation occurring is getting the game arts asset production to keep pace with the speed of development.

Thus whenever we go beyond schedule, we will deduct the number of days that we have gone beyond the schedule from the buffer day bank. We have color coded the status of the balance to reflect the gravity of the situation as follows:

Green – 8 days or more left
Yellow – 4-7 days left
Orange – 0 – 3 days left
Red – less than zero days left

We would want our schedule status to remain at least in the yellow zone. Should we ever hit the orange or red zone, we would then know that we have to take drastic measures to overcome the predicament. This portion will be covered within the risk assessment and mitigation strategies section.