In the Game Project course students design and develop a game from a scratch to (at least) beta level. It is obvious that current version of the game project course has some flaws. Currently the structure suffers issues of the big-design-first model. The course milestones set does not require prototyping and iteration. This has worked somewhat, and it seems that groups are creating interesting games. However, the last deadline is looming and they have a lot of to do to get their games ready.
To improve the course in the future, I searched alternative approaches to game development process for the Game Project course and found Clinton Keith’s (2010) book Agile Game Development with Scrum.
The overall structure of project in Scrum is show the figure below.
Roughly, a Scrum project consist of sprints that last two to four weeks and have a clear target. Each sprint starts with planning meeting in which the target of the sprint is set. The target is a feature list that should be developed by the end of the sprint. The initial list of the features are features (and each feature have a priority) are set in the concept sprint. Each sprint contains design, asset creation, coding, and testing. After each sprint, the team should have a working game build. (Keith 2010.)
I am yet not exactly sure how to adapt Scrum for the course, as there are some roles (such as Scrum master) that might need rethinking for the course context.
However, I like the idea of sprints. Students would set targets for each sprint with the teacher. Two to four weeks sprint in the course lasting almost the whole academic year means 7 to 14 sprints. That would split the goals to more manageable smaller sub-goals, as each sprint has its own feature list that should be ready at the end of the sprint. The Scrum process has natural checkpoints (at the end of each sprint) where we can check how the project progress.
Keith. C. 2010. Agile Game Development with Scrum. Addison Wesley.