Games and Agile Software Development

Agile software development practices have been finding their way in to various industries; finance, education, government, and even games.

Agile software development practices have been finding their way in to various industries; finance, education, government, and even games.

The latest issue of developer magazine Gamasutra includes a project postmortem of Brütal Legend, the action-adventure video game from Double Fine Productions . The team decided to use the Scrum methodology, hoping to find a process that was a better fit to the iterative design style they used when building their previous game Psychnoauts. Executive production Caroline Esmurdoc said:

"Within the first few months of Brutal Legend development, the team was practicing Scrum, and the initial payoffs were impressive. Scrum's emphasis on features over systems, on rapid prototyping and iteration, on cross-disciplinary teams, on people over process, and on the creation of a potentially shippable piece of software every sprint/milestone made the game playable at a very early stage in development."

Agile development practices in game development have been receiving some press over the last few years. Coach Clinton Keith has a website about agile development in games. At the Agile 2009 conference, 2D Boy developer Ron Carmel spoke about how the World of Goo team used user experience testing to improve their game. And there have been other articles in Game Developer magazine, plus several resources on the web about Scrum development and games.


User Comments

Anonymous's picture

I can't comment on the overall development methodologies employed by the games industry but, from what I hear from those testing within the industry (at some of the biggest games producers), the main methodologies employed are anarchy and chaos. Your blog post makes interesting reading, though, so I'll have to follow it up and read some of your source materials.

December 17, 2009 - 5:59am
Anonymous's picture

I haven't heard too much about how testing is done in game companies. What I have heard is that it's fairly intensive -- before there were online updates and patches to games, you basically had one shot before you got thousands of hours of testing from your customers!

December 17, 2009 - 6:02am

About the author

Daniel Wellman's picture Daniel Wellman

Daniel Wellman is a technical lead at Cyrus Innovation, a leading agile consultancy based in New York, where he leads development projects and coaches teams on adopting agile software development practices. Daniel has more than ten years of experience building software systems and is an expert in agile methodologies, object-oriented design, and test-driven development. Contact Daniel at

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