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Guildhall Production track 4: Issue Manager

A look at bug tracking Issue Manager as seen by a student producer at SMU Guildhall

Issue Manager at Guildhall for TGP1

Last week marked the Vertical Slice milestone for ten groups of four to five student developers participating in their first Team Game Project (TGP1) here at Guildhall.

I serve as the Associate Producer for two of these teams, and advise the teams regarding their use of bug tracking through Issue Manager, the bug management database used here.

Issue Manager is an intuitive web-based bug tracker where the student logs in, and can add, describe, review, assign, and update the completion status of bugs encountered during their project, and offers an extra layer of visibility to the project status.

In teams this small, the natural instinct for new developers is to talk to the guy across the table from you and fix the bug immediately – indeed, this happens all the time.  However, the Guildhall curriculum enforces use of Issue Manager starting from the first sprint on the smallest team project, encouraging good logging practices as the projects grow in size and complexity.   The students log any bugs they encounter during development into the database and assign them for a rapid bug resolution cycle.  In addition, at least one hour is set aside each sprint for a team playtest, where all team members log and resolve bugs using the Issue Manager database.

This cohort of students is the first to create their TGP1 using GuildEd, a new proprietary Guildhall 2D platformer engine.  As such, this group of students find numerous bugs and requested features for the engine itself, and each student has access to a common Issue Manager database for the GuildEd engine.

On projects this tightly scheduled, it becomes easy for bugs to fall through the cracks, and Issue Manager’s usefulness becomes quickly evident.  After the first two weeks of development, the programmers on my projects independently requested their teams use Issue Manager more extensively.   

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