Categories
guides

Project Management in Trello

While not the most exciting part of any development project, project management is a great tool for any hobby and amateur game developers out there. Not only will this help you keep track of your own projects, it will also help you learn how to work professionally within a larger team.

I think everyone’s felt this scenario: Your game is starting to grow in scale, so you start thinking about how you can organize all your objects and data. You start building systems and scripts to manage everything, and it seems like the list of things you want to do is never ending.

Trello is list-making board application, essentially a free-form way to have virtual post-its that can be organized into lists. It’s a great tool because it’s: Free, easy, has add-ins for collaboration!

Start with a new Trello board.

Project Management

I believe that the mental damage of remembering all these tasks is a much bigger hit than the physical damage of trying to get them all completed. After all, building things should be the fun part 🙂 Let’s put together a small project management system in place that you can update quickly to track your progress, know what your tasks are, and prioritize them.

You can start by imagining a board with post-its on it. Each column of post-its represents a Feature of the game, and each post-it in the row is a task that needs to be completed. Easy!

User Stories

First let’s break down the main features in your game, or “user stories”. This should be a complete list of every feature you want the player to experience. Start very broad and keep in mind you want to first track the least number of features needed for a complete game.

. Player can climb on walls
. Volume can be controlled in Pause Menu
. Landing on spikes will take player to Game Over screen

Each User Story or Feature of your game will be a List in Trello. So let’s start with those.

Tasks

Next let’s look at each User Story, and decide what tasks need to be done to complete each task. If another team member is depending on the completion of the User Story or Tasks, you can assign estimated hours/days to each task.

. Player can climb on walls
. Change player object collision code
. Adjust vertical movement for wall-jump
. Volume can be controlled in Pause Menu
. Add volume sliders in pause menu
. Hook audio code to volume control object
. Landing on spikes will take player to Game Over screen
. Create a player object Death state
. Create a Game Over screen
. Script player Death state to Game Over screen

Every List in Trello contains a group of Cards. We’ll use each Card for a Task.

One thing to remember with tasks: They are not the end all be-all! You will find bugs, and they will become tasks. You will underestimate the amount of work to be done, and Tasks will evolve into Features.

Getting it Done

Finally, let’s make a list for Tasks in progress, and for Tasks completed. Now we can drag Tasks from left to right as they’re completed and put into our game project.

Agile (Lite)

One of the key-tenants of an Agile development project is to constantly be iterating on your project. That means regularly producing a completed product that can be tested. The theory is that only when confronted with the product, will the end-user really know what they want.

I’ve been managing this in Trello by creating multiple “Done” lists. Each one represents a new build of the game.


I hope this gives you an idea to help manage your game project. Getting organized early will give you a huge advantage in the long-run as your project begins to grow in scope.

By Rob Nichols

Rob Nichols is an IT professional with years of experience creating games in GameMaker Studio, creating electronic music, and producing the weekly VGM podcast Rhythm and Pixels.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s