Extreme Programming For Games


To adapt XP practices for use in game development.

Differences between games and VanillaXp projects

The most obvious difference is that a game is an intimate collaboration between three separate disciplines: programming, design, and art. Each team is effectively a customer of the other two. For example, although the art team request features from the programming team (such as bump mapping or pixel shaders) they must also work within limitations set by the programmers (eg. all textures must be square or powers of 2).

Recently team sizes have been booming. It is now (in 2004) not uncommon to hear of 100+ developers per title.

Unlike a custom business application with a real concrete need to fill (eg. payroll) games are purely entertainment. There is no real world source of requirements to guide the customer.

Fitting the ExtremeProgrammingCorePractices to games

As stated in ComputerGamesIndustry, computer game projects vary enormously. Therefore, adaptions of XP to games must likewise vary.


The implied premises in the problem statement are believed to be true in at least some part(s) of the ComputerGamesIndustry.

The following are no longer considered general problems within the ComputerGamesIndustry:

Reuse (NotInventedHere syndrome)

In the late 90's there was still much resistance within the game development community to what is now known as MiddleWare. Several highly profitable game successes using MiddleWare have somewhat changed the landscape. The MiddleWare success that most contributed to this shift in attitude was the release in 2001 of Rockstar Games' GTA3 (http://www.rockstargames.com/grandtheftauto3/) which used Critereon Software's RenderWare.


At http://www.gamasutra.com/features/20000628a/fristrom_02.htm they mention doing pair programming in game development. They even reference the Wiki.

Thomas Demachy wrote an article about his adaption of XP (XGD) on GamaSutra: http://www.gamasutra.com/resource_guide/20030714/demachy_01.shtml

http://www.ExtremeGameDev.org/ is a Wiki on XP for games in French and English.

Kai-Peter Backman of Mistaril Games has written a PostMortem of their game Space Station Manager: http://www.mistaril.com/about/post_mortem_ssm.php

Mail Links

The "Software Engineering Gamedev" mailing list has a large (seemingly) contingent of games programmers who do grok object oriented programming, some of whom are also actively trying to find a way to adopt ExtremeProgramming.

To subscribe go to: http://lists.midnightryder.com/listinfo.cgi/sweng-gamedev-midnightryder.com

The list is alive and well, but it's somewhat "bursty", so there might be periods of a week or so with hardly any messages, and then a few hundred messages in a couple of days.

See also ComputerGame, CabalDesignProcess, ExtremeProgrammingForGamesDiscussion.

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