This is an incredibly important moment for us as a company, as individuals and as team members. We have different teams working on their own incredibly complex projects, and the Sprint Demo is when you get to share your work with your colleagues, often for the first time, and to hear feedback and investigate challenges and blockers. Without them, we as a company would be several groups of people cut off from each other, possibly with dire consequences for SEED!
Game development is often broken down into all sorts of different formats and timeframes: you can have a Sprint, which is a body of work packaged into a couple of weeks, or you can also have Milestones, which are usually longer and Releases, which is when the worked-upon material is deemed releasable which marks the end of a sprint or a milestone. This is the basis of the Agile work management methodology, which we use at Klang. As part of this we then have Sprint Demos every fortnight. At the moment they tend to happen on a Thursday afternoon. And they are both incredibly exciting but also crucial for us as an organisation. A sprint demo does exactly what it says on the tin: the Feature Teams demonstrate and present to the entire company the work they have completed or worked on during the previous sprint.
It can vary in length, but we try to keep it to one hour. Teams usually nominate someone to talk through slides that demonstrate everything from game design decisions, to code implementation, to the squashing of some bugs and co-dependencies. Other teams such as Tech Team or the Art Team (yes it does feel we need a post soon on introducing all these teams in detail!) also present work they’ve worked on.
A presentation by a team will touch on the following: quick outline of their sprint goals; what the team has completed; did they conduct a playtest and if so what were the findings/takeaways; what other teams supported the team’s efforts, for example did the Art Team provide art assets; problems and challenges and how they were solved; learnings and current changes.
Not everything presented in a Sprint Demo is already ‘part of the game’ - because oftentimes a team will work on a feature in its own separate branch (think of it as a sealed off construction site), that can be ‘merged’ with everything else once it’s been approved and shown to work ok. This becomes more important than ever when you think about WFH since covid started - we don’t get the chance to look over each others’ shoulders and get up to date that organic way that comes about from proximity and watercooler talks.
In a sprint demo, a concept artist unveils the work they have been doing for two weeks (right) based on the work a tech artist has done in the previous sprint (left). The possibility of merging both the technical and the conceptual in the near future makes everyone excited!
In this slide you get to see just one of many slides from what at the time was called ‘The Tag Team’, a feature team in charge of implementing Thoughts and Needs (which we’ve talked about in previous blog posts). On the left hand side is an example from the UI designers. On the right hand side are bullet points of the main items that the design includes.