Game Development Reference
Also known as design goals, this section of the software development plan ulti-
mately asks the question, “ What is the tool going to do?”
Briefly describe what the tool will do and ultimately how it will either improve
workflow productivity or affect the content creation pipeline. Outline the current
problems existing without the tool, and how the introduction of the tool will
attempt to solve them.
Describe whether or not the tool will be used for a single purpose throw-away, or
whether it will be applicable for multiple purposes or projects.
Also list the people who will use the tool. As a simple example: “The technical artists
will build programmable shaders using the Visual Shader Designer plug-in from
within 3D Studio Max, and export a binary file that follows the specifications of our
proprietary VSD (.vsd) format.”
The Vision section of the software development plan could be thought of as an
overview and summary of the other sections that follow.
Every software application has stakeholders who will either gain or lose from the
success or failure of a tool, and they ultimately shape the design of the tool to meet
their needs. After all, the stakeholders for a tool are typically the people who will
actually be using it to produce game content or enhance workflow.
The software development plan should define who the stakeholders are, and how
they will be directly affected by the tool. The easiest way to determine who your
stakeholders are is to think of everyone who will be affected by your work, whether
the stakeholders are internal or external to the company. The majority of tools
developed for internal use are catered to the needs of artists or technical designers,
who don't always possess strong technical aptitude.
One of the biggest problems with software development planning is gathering user
requirements that do not solve the problems of the stakeholders. It is very impor-
tant that you ask the right questions of your stakeholders, especially if they do not
have a technical background. A lot of design and development time is wasted
because of incorrect user requirements. Getting them right from the start will help
alleviate this problem.