Milestone week is the last week of a milestone period, at the end of which a deliverable is due. A working build will be given to the publisher. The importance of a milestone can have a big impact on the milestone week workload, at the least the milestone will have to be signed off on by the publisher, it is a check that our progress is on track. The milestone is usually delivered on a Friday, sometimes the following Monday. This week's milestone deliverable will be used for usability testing. It is an important delivery, since the game will be seen by outsiders, who will be asked to give their feedback by the publishers. That feedback can potentially have a huge impact on the direction we take from now on, the amount of work we have to do, and the support the publishers give us. It is an important milestone. The designers vision for the gameplay is being put to the test. Will his creativity and originality pay off? Or will the publisher insist we introduce more conventional mechanisms? We will find out soon.
How does Milestone Week work?
During a the last week of a milestone the way work is planned and executed changes. People should be running out of scheduled tasks (features) and the move on to working from the MiG (in house web based schedule and time tracking tool) an issues list (currently maintained as an Excel sheet). Issues are tackled by order of priority, and cover anything that impacts the quality of the deliverable, be it a bug, missing (unplanned) features, or other small changes to improve the game. And issue could be a 5 minute fix, or a problem that requires a day or more to resolve.
During milestone week there is often a lot of pressure to work longer hours, as the focus is on delivering the highest quality build we can, and there is always room for improvement. Even if your issue list is clear, there might be other people who you can help. Overtime is not paid - as is usual in the games industry - but free food is supplied for people who work late.
I'm sorry if this entry is a little short, and perhaps lacking in detail, but as I hope is clear, it is a busy time for me.
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