Contrary to what you might expect, getting a game out there for the public to play is actually not the end of the project. There’s a few other elements to the development cycle that need to be addressed. While we’re not officially live with New School Blues yet - so this might feel like putting the cart before the horse - we’re close enough to talk about the first of those elements: the post-mortem.
Ummmmm, no. Though it IS kinda like doing an autopsy on your game’s development.
It might sound bleak and out of a homicide crime drama, but the post-mortem refers to a report made by the development team after the project has been shipped. We have a meeting to discuss the project’s development from initial design to packaging and record our thoughts, insights, experiences, and practices.
Each department of development gets looked into. For each aspect, we discuss what went well, what didn’t go quite according to plan, what we learned from it, how things were resolved, what practices we’ll use in the future to avoid recurring issues, and finally what new strategies or practices we’d like to use in the future. When done we’ll collect and summarize the data and post it for ourselves and others to see, reflect on, and scrutinize.
We highly recommend Double Fine’s Brutal Legend Post-Mortem, which can be seen here.
Post-mortems are really fascinating documents! You’d be surprised how many are out there for everyone to see. The site you're on right now alone has links to tons of game post-mortems which are more often then not WAY more candid then you’d think. Not all development companies open these reports to the public, but thankfully many do. They are incredible windows into the development process and tremendous resources that offer so many lessons for new developers to learn from!
Next we’ll look at another task that only begins after your game is complete and being played by others. Can you guess what it might be? Tune in to find out!