I'm trying to learn about applying agile methodologies to game development. But seems to be impossible to find real life examples.

There seems to be plenty of material discussing how 'in principle' agile is applied to a game. But that is NOT what I am looking for. I have the Keith book.

What I AMlooking for are real EXAMPLES of things like;

  1. Initial user stories
  2. Final user stories (complete, covering the entire game requirements)
  3. Acceptance criteria
  4. Task list
  5. Sprint backlogs (before and after each sprint)

The agile books seem to have some limited examples, many of which seem contrived or limited. In this era of open source software, there must be a publicly available documented example of the process applied to a real game.

I am asking specifically about games because they are so different from normal applications. Regular applications are built to all users to complete specific tasks in order to get stuff done(book a room, print a report etc). People play games for much less tangible reasons, so I think the process is significantly different.

[it doesn't have to be scrum, it could be any process, just needs to be a real life example game and be reasonably complete]

  • \$\begingroup\$ I believe the development of most indie games could be described as "agile development". \$\endgroup\$
    – API-Beast
    Oct 4, 2012 at 15:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've never heard of game developers using the "user stories" approach in practice. Perhaps this is partly because most games are more about the singular "designer story"! \$\endgroup\$
    – Kylotan
    Oct 4, 2012 at 15:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kylotan you may well have a point about user stories. But any non-trivial game has to have some process, recorded somehow. And it is the record of the development process which I would like to see. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ken
    Oct 4, 2012 at 16:07
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Sure. In my experience the process is not agile. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Kylotan
    Oct 4, 2012 at 16:09
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure editing you question to include caps gets the point across better... \$\endgroup\$
    – House
    Oct 4, 2012 at 16:29

1 Answer 1



Thanks for checking out my book. It's true that the examples are somewhat simplified and made generic, but they are not contrived. I'd like to have a specific game's backlog (product and sprint) to show, but every studio (including the one I worked at) hasn't allowed theirs to be released due to proprietary concerns, but I haven't really pressed that for the reasons below.

The most difficult thing for developers adopting user stories (and most of the > 100 studios I've worked with that have adopted agile practices use them) is that they aren't meant to serve the same purpose as detailed requirements specifications. User stories are really "placeholders for conversation" more than documentation to record details up front. This "individuals over process" aspect of them are very difficult for developers to adopt and most flat out repudiate this idea up front.

However, over time as teams refine their practices and their communication, the desire to have extremely detailed specifications, acceptance criteria, traceability, etc. etc, get replaced by improved daily communication, better sharing of vision and even improved trust and respect. Trust and respect can work and it can look like this: http://blog.agilegamedevelopment.com/2012/04/valves-culture-self-organization-and.html

I don't ask teams to buy this idea up front. I tell them to "go ahead and document to the level of detail you are familiar with and comfortable with up front". Just be honest and transparent about finding ways to improve this over time.

Part of the benefit that I had early in my career was observing Miyamoto work directly on early N64 titles with our studio. He was all about direct communication and "finding the fun" (his phrase) in a game through iteration. He would NOT read documentation. The story is in the book.

Good luck, Clinton Keith www.ClintonKeith.com


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