Game Development Reference
Project Tracking Doc
This is where you keep track of whether you're on schedule. Some producers use project
management software for this, but many find the programs too inflexible to manage
all aspects of the game's development. The producer usually enters tasklist data into
the software to create a Gantt chart that reveals dependencies and the critical path, but
he frequently also uses a hodgepodge of other homegrown techniques to keep track of
After applying the overhead multipliers to the manpower plan, you combine these
numbers with the resource plan to derive your month-by-month cash requirements
and the overall budget for the game.
The original Profit and Loss estimate was made during the concept phase. As devel-
opment progresses and costs become clearer, the P&L must be kept current.
Many developers chafe against creating a firm schedule and committing to a specific
release date, but you owe it to yourself and your company to do exactly that. After a
release date has been set, a whole different machine goes into motion. The marketing
team topics advertisements that will appear in the months running up to the release
date. The PR department negotiates with magazines for cover stories and well-timed
previews and feature articles. The sales group commits to end caps in the software
stores. Changing the release date of the software is likely to torpedo all the carefully
planned efforts of these groups and result in your game selling far fewer units than it
Milestones are significant points in development marked by the completion of a cer-
tain amount of work (a deliverable ). These deliverables should be concrete and very
precisely defined, with language such as “Concept sketches for fifteen characters,
front, side, and back�? or “Weapon #1 modeled, skinned, and operational within the
game with a placeholder sound effect, but without animations or visual effects.�?
Avoid fuzzy deliverables, such as “Design 25% complete.�? The best deliverables are
binary: They're either complete or they're not, with no room for argument in between.