Extreme Programming For Games


To adapt XP practices for use in game development.

Differences between games and VanillaXp projects

A game includes programming, design, and art, plus other disciplines if you want to use a narrow definition of "art" (excluding, for example, music and voice acting). Each of these teams is a customer of the others, which requests features from them and works within the constraints they set.

Team sizes for big-budget games are very large. As early as 2004 one saw teams of 100+ people working on a title; as of 2014 that number has further grown (although very small groups -- one person or a handful -- have lately been doing quite well for themselves as well).

Games' requirements can be fully known in advance, fully specified up front, and changed to suit the development process' convenience, and they are not changed by external events. This isn't ChryslerComprehensiveCompensation.

Fitting the ExtremeProgrammingCorePractices to games

As stated in ComputerGamesIndustry, computer game projects vary enormously. Therefore, adaptions of XP to games must likewise vary -- if it makes sense to create them at all. See the limitations listed below.


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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