Game Development Reference
The project manager collects status reports from team members to evaluate game
progress. When some aspect of the game seems to be falling behind, he may call for
more resources, or figure out how to reduce the scope of work in order to keep things
on track. Likewise, the project manager should participate in the Change Control
Board to help make judgments about defect priorities and which approach to take to
fix or work around a defect when there are alternatives.
The game designer is usually the person who is primarily responsible for conceiving
and defining the game you are testing. He is a storyteller, entertainer, and inventor all
rolled up into one. It is his concepts that give birth to game worlds, characters, and
mythologies. Persistence is a useful trait for game designers who may have to make many
proposals before getting game company approval to go ahead and make the game.
The game designer also tries to define game mechanics that are easy to learn, remem-
ber, and access during gameplay. Successful games lead to sequels and become a stan-
dard to which new games are compared. Some examples of successful long-lasting
designs are the Pokémon , Final Fantasy , Madden Football , and Ultima titles. When test-
ing any new game in a series, you implicitly accept the responsibility for testing the
consistency and continuity with its predecessors.
Game design might develop from a top-down approach, where the designer starts
with a high-level idea and then breaks it down into more and more detail until it's
described sufficiently for artists, sound engineers, and programmers to develop the
game. Alternatively, the game designer might have a bottom-up approach, starting
with a few ideas for some detailed scenes or events he'd like to put into a game, and
then working his way up to come up with the higher-level story and settings that tie
together the low-level concepts.
Whichever way the game designer arrived at the design, he is responsible for produc-
ing the game design documents that are used by the other disciplines to guide how
they do their parts of the work. This document can also be a useful resource for testers
to ensure that the designer's ideas are incorporated into the game, and that the game
maintains the proper relationship between design elements.
Figure 4.2 shows a game state flow diagram from the game design document for Super
Street Racer , which was produced by students of a game programming course at the
University of Calgary. Figure 4.3 shows the screen layout design for the Dealership
screen, also from the game design document. Testers can use this information to get
an early jump on planning and creating the tests for the game. The full document has
been provided on the CD-ROM that accompanies this topic.