“What Went Right and What Went Wrong”: An Analysis of 155 Postmortems from Game Development

Michael Washburn Jr., Pavithra Sathiyanarayanan, Meiyappan Nagappan, Tom Zimmermann, Christian Bird

Proceedings of the 38th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 2016 SEIP Track) |

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In game development, software teams often conduct postmortems to reflect on what went well and what went wrong in a project. The postmortems are shared publicly on gaming sites or at developer conferences. In this paper, we present an analysis of 155 postmortems published on the gaming site Gamasutra.com. We identify characteristics of game development, link the characteristics to positive and negative experiences in the postmortems and distill a set of best practices and pitfalls for game development.