Todo Lists

Making a game can be extremely overwhelming, what with everything you need to try out, and implement. But as complicated as it can get, the job can be made easier by creating a todo list.

First start by writing down everything you have to get done, for example:

  • Player should be able to move (arrow keys)
  • Player should be able to shoot
  • Create menu screen
  • Write tutorial
  • Create options screen
  • And the list goes on…

It’s great to have the problems defined, but in a real game there are many, many more things you have to do, which would make a todo list like that only slightly better.

So the next step is to organize and prioritize. Don’t use a wimpy prioritizing system like high, medium, and low. Create some milestones:

  • alpha1, alpha2, etc. (Game isn’t finished)
  • beta1, beta2 (Game is finished, but needs polishing)
  • release1, release2 (Game is finished, but players might discover bugs)

Why is this superior to high, medium, and low? The simpler version can cause more confusion and helps very little, where in the milestone system you can group tasks together (i.e. alpha5 might be for creating enemies) or at least create a defined order in which to do things.

Now our list looks like this:

  • Alpha1
    • Player should be able to move (arrow keys)
    • Player should be able to shoot
  • Alpha2
    • Create menu screen
    • Create options screen
  • Alpha3
    • Write tutorial
  • etc…

Now that the todo list is completed, it’s time to start coding! But don’t work off the list like it’s gospel, designs and goals are forever changing throughout the development of a game, don’t hesitate to cut features, add features or rearrange milestones.

Do you/will you use a todo list?

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~ by Tyler Church on July 23, 2009.

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