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Dividing up programs
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BluePhoenix



Joined: 08 Jun 2004
Posts: 96
Location: Between Georgia and Cuba



PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 7:11 pm    Post subject: Dividing up programs Reply with quote

I was wondering how you guys divide up the programming. Do you create detail charts and descriptions and say "you work on such and such class" or what?
We're starting to do group programming projects in my csc400 class so I was wondering what strategy you use.
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Poo Bear
Pod Team
Pod Team


Joined: 14 Oct 2002
Posts: 4121
Location: Sheffield, UK



PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 6:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's different for us as we've been doing this a long time and there are only two programmers here so the divide is easy, I do the game and Goober does the techy stuff the game needs to work.

If there were more people or we were working on the same bits of the game then more organization would be needed. In the past this meant one programmer takes responsibility for documenting the design and organising who does what, known as the "lead". Then each week (usually) all the programmers sit down and discuss their progress and what they will each do in the coming week. This information is then formalized into a schedule that can be used to track overall progress. The lead maintains all the design documents and ensures everyone is working towards the same goal and that jobs are finished in a sensible order to make sure nobody is waiting for anyone.

Milestones are then created based on the documentation and schedule that indicate times at which certain major achievements should have been made. For example, the landscape system will be finished and working at the end of May. Milestones are good because they give everyone something tangible to aim at, show progress and can be arranged to deliver important features sooner rather than later. Usually any radical game play ideas, for instance, will be pushed into early milestones so people can actually use them and make sure they really work as the design claimed.

Another technique when there are a few programmers and you are working on something not well specified or familiar ( like games ) is to "buddy up". When just about to start coding something up you get another programmer to come and sit next to you and then you talk about what you are about to do and he stays with you while you lay out the groundwork. The idea being that programmers make extremely costly mistakes early on and if another brain is sat next to you then it is less likely to happen. If I make a few typos then the compiler will probably get them, but if I fundamentally approach the problem from the wrong angle then everything I do could be wasted and it is unlikely I will notice on my own. The other benefit is people are more likely to start writing code that is readable and commented and well structured because they are forced to show others and talk about it. You get the same effect with formal design docs, code reviews, automated test plans, etc, etc - but such formal methods take a lot of time and effort to put in place and maintain whereas the "buddy up" system is easier to work with but still has a lot of the same benefits. However, any system designed to increase quality takes an effort of will, it's easy to lapse.
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BluePhoenix



Joined: 08 Jun 2004
Posts: 96
Location: Between Georgia and Cuba



PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2005 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Poo Bear! That's vrey useful info. The looking over te shoulder is a good idea.
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