How agile thinking can improve the development workflow in hypercasual (2022)
Agile is a mindset that complements hypercasual prototype projects very well. Agile values include the following
1. Individuals and interactions:
This mindset tells us to put more focus on team members and communication between the team. While developing games, often in the game ideation and game design decisions, the whole team can leave valuable feedback. Each member of the team has some idea of the work of the other members and can help with the process in one way or another. Oftentimes, problems can be solved by collaboration between artists and programmers together.
2. Working Software:
Scrum is an agile framework where each sprint is of 2 weeks. If we convert the idea in hypercasual game development, we can have short sprints of 2-3 days and at the end of each sprint, we can have a working game. Having a working game after each sprint is the important idea of agile.
3. Customer (Publisher) Collaboration:
There are many ways how the publisher can collaborate
1. Early feedback on Game Design Document
2. Feedback on build after each sprint
3. Decide when to test
4. Responding to change:
This is the most essential part of developing a hypercasual game or any game as a matter of fact. Developers must welcome changes as great ideas and games can come out of changes. After 1-2 sprints, if it feels like the game is not going in the right direction, be welcoming to change the gameplay. The feedback after each sprint can be implemented along with new features during the next sprint to create an iterative and incremental delivery.
When developing prototypes, if there is any project management framework that can suit the hypercasual it's a framework that should derive from agile as the values of agile clearly work well with hypercasual prototyping. Again, agile is not a framework. So a developer can have the agile set of mind and develop their own rules that they can follow which maximizes their productivity
There are some agile principles that can help create a customizable framework for hypercasual projects.
Prioritize high-value work:
When we think about converting an idea into a game prototype, there are some features that are vital to it and some that are not. The Pareto principle states that for many outcomes, roughly 80% of consequences come from 20% of causes. In other words, 20% of the features can be used to represent 80% of the core idea of the game. Try to find out that 20% of the features and start from there
Small, self-organized responsible team of generalists:
A hypercasual game team can consist of 1-3 people including a programmer, designer, and artist. When there are no designers, the programmer and the artist need to wear the designer hat. When there is no artist, the programmer needs to wear all of the hats. That is possible only when you have a team of generalists. Between a programmer with advanced programming knowledge and no game design knowledge and a programmer with intermediate programming knowledge and basic game design knowledge, the second kind is more likely to create a better prototype.
Maintaining a constant pace:
Having a consistent pace is very important in hypercasual as the trends can change fast. It can be ensured by having consistent sprints, feedback, and iteration time.
The team members can have a 15-minute daily meeting to discuss progress and obstacles to understand each other and the work they are doing.
There is no specific framework designed to work with hypercasual prototype development, but rather the idea behind it is something that is very important. Teams can create their own implementation of agile. After each prototype delivery, they can iterate on it to improve their custom framework.