Game Development Reference
Figure 5.1 Phases of the software development life cycle.
There are many more variations of the development life cycle than what is being
described throughout this chapter, though the rudiments behind each phase
remain the same.
In many ways, the development life cycle is similar to building a house. First, the
original idea for the house is presented. Second, this idea is transformed into a
simple drawing that is refined over several iterations until the customer agrees that
the drawing depicts what he or she wants. Third, a set of blueprints is created that
presents extensive detail about the house, including power outlets, support beams,
and door arches. Finally, the house is built following the blueprints, often with
changes made by the customer as the house is being constructed.
It is important to mention that the length of and approach to each phase of the
software development life cycle is dependent on the methodology used. This chapter
covers only the waterfall approach, although there are roughly six other method-
ologies that are used in software development. There is no right approach; each
methodology has a purpose and a place. The waterfall approach is covered in this
chapter because it is the easiest and shortest to cover. Other methodologies, like
the Rational Unified Process (RUP), are more complex and detailed.
The first phase of the development life cycle is the fundamental process of under-
standing why a product should be built, and determining how the project team
will go about building it. It is in this stage that the value to the developers is iden-
tified, and technical, economic, and organizational feasibility are determined. This
is known as a feasibility analysis .
A feasibility analysis evaluates if the final outcome of the project will lower costs
or increase profit, and whether or not there are enough organizational and tech-
nical resources to build it. The level of risk is also assessed, contributing to the final
decision about whether or not the project is a worthwhile investment. Are the