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Game Design and Development Capstone Project Assessment Using Scrum

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Topics in Computing and Information Technologies II

Tagged Division

Computing & Information Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.809.1 - 26.809.11



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Paper Authors


John Glossner Daniel Webster College

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Dr. John Glossner is Associate Professor of Computer Science at Daniel Webster College. He also serves as CEO of Optimum Semiconductor Technologies. Prior to joining OST John co-founded Sandbridge Technologies and served as EVP & CTO. Prior to Sandbridge, John managed both technical and business activities in DSP and Broadband Communications at IBM and Lucent/Starcore. John was also an adjunct professor at Lehigh University. John received a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from TU Delft in the Netherlands, M.S degrees in E.E. and Eng. Mgt from NTU, and a B.S.E.E. degree from Penn State. He has more than 120 publications and 36 issued patents.

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Nicholas Bertozzi Daniel Webster College

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Nick Bertozzi is a Professor of Engineering at Daniel Webster College (DWC) and Dean of the School of Engineering and Computer Science (SECS). His major interest over the past 18 years has been the concurrent engineering design process, an interest that was fanned into flame by attending an NSF faculty development workshop in 1996 led by Ron Barr and Davor Juricic. Nick has a particular interest in helping engineering students develop good communications skills and has made this a SECS priority. Over the past ten years he and other engineering and humanities faculty colleagues have mentored a number of undergraduate student teams who have co-authored and presented papers and posters at Engineering Design Graphics Division (EDGD) and other ASEE, CDIO (, and American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) meetings as well. Nick was delighted to serve as the EDGD program chair for the 2008 ASEE Summer Conference and as program co-chair with Kathy Holliday-Darr for the 68th EDGD Midyear meeting at WPI in October 2013. Nick is currently serving as the Vice Chair of the ASEE EDGD.

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Charles N Stevenson P.E. Daniel Webster College

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Game Design and Development Capstone Project Assessment Using ScrumThe Game Design and Development (GDD) program and the complementary GameProgramming (GP) program are housed in the School of Engineering and Computer Science andhave a goal of providing curricula in which GDD and GP students understand each other’sdomains and collaborate in common courses in the development of both 2D and 3D games. Thegame design and development capstone project is a senior year design project spanning twosemesters with the goal of producing a working game and blends both artists and programmers ina large 9-10 student single cross-functional team. Historically the capstone project has beentaught using traditional software engineering processes (e.g. waterfall). A Scrum-basedmethodology has been shown to be successful in a complex environment where there are manyundefined and unknown features. Using a traditional methodology may result in changes tospecifications late in the process making the integration of individual parts of the processdifficult to integrate.In Scrum, there are three primary roles. The Product Owner represents the customer and isresponsible for prioritizing product features. The Development Team completes all work in time-boxed units of development called Sprints. The ScrumMaster is a part of the Development Teamand facilitates in removing obstacles impeding the progress of the Development Team.A key feature is a focus on iterative development with the output of each sprint being apotentially shippable product. Game features are described in terms of user stories and estimatedusing both T-shirt sizes and story points. The user stories are prioritized and then worked on bythe students as a single team during a sprint. Sprint planning transforms the user stories into a setof sprint tasks that are assigned during the Sprint in user story priority. A unique feature of thismethodology is that as sprint backlog tasks are completed new tasks are assigned not solely on astudent’s desire or strength but on which task will most help the sprint succeed.In contrast with traditional methods, large amounts of upfront design documentation are replacedwith iterated user stories and sprint tasks. An initial exploratory sprint is run to familiarizestudents with the process. This “dry run” is not graded and serves a dual purpose of exposure tothe Scrum process and a dynamic exploration of the game design proposal. In one particular casestudents were allowed to “fail fast” whereby during the exploratory sprint they realized theirinitial game concept could not be easily implemented. Using traditional methodologies it maynot have allowed the students sufficient time change the game proposal. Using Scrum and theexploratory Sprint they were able to choose a new game concept without penalty.This paper discusses the transition to a Scrum-based methodology including tools used tofacilitate the project and results based on assessment outcomes. Examples are given of studentdocumentation and the methodology used to generate them. The prototype game will bedemonstrated at the presentation. In game design and development, by always producing aniterated playable game, students are able to focus on “finding the fun” in the game.[1] Grimheden, M.E., Mutual learning experiences – mechatronics capstone course projects based on Scrum, American Society for Engineering Education, 2012.[2] Reichlmayr, T., Working towards the student scrum – developing agile android applications, American Society for Engineering Education, 2011.

Glossner, J., & Bertozzi, N., & Stevenson, C. N. (2015, June), Game Design and Development Capstone Project Assessment Using Scrum Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24146

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