CSSE Seminar Series

Addressing Challenges in Video Game Development Using Agile ‘Best’ Practices from Industry


Tim McKenzie


University of Canterbury

Time & Place

Mon, 28 Sep 2020 15:00:00 NZDT in E16 - Engineering Core


Internationally, video games have in recent years rapidly become a truly massive and powerful creative industry that is far surpassing other entertainment industries (such as movies and music combined). However, from the relatively sparse academic research on video game development (VGD) that is available, the industry is not without significant challenges. As the unique marriage of software engineering and creative production, VGD projects often suffer from interdisciplinary team dynamics, communication, work culture, and project management issues, as well as intense market pressure. Every game studio and each game development project tend to have its own ad-hoc development process which is often mischaracterized as ‘agile’. This misperception leads to further difficulty in identifying the true causes of problems in the VGD process. This PhD research project will capture the current VGD process, identify key good software engineering, creative production, and agile development practices, and investigate the relationship between a studio’s actual way of working and the challenges they face. From this a contextualized ‘best practice’ agile VGD model that addresses these challenges will be proposed. 


Tim McKenzie is a graduate software engineer studying towards a PhD degree under the supervision of Miguel Morales-Trujillo at the University of Canterbury. He is also concurrently studying Training in Ministry with the Gospel Training Trust. His academic and personal research interests include agile game development, growing team dynamics, professional and personal mentorship, ancient civilisations, philosophy, and theology.