Flip side to the budget issue. The stars align and things are going better than expected. The game is actually under budget/ahead of schedule than projected. In this case do developers keep things within the original scope or try to add more to take advantage of the additional budgetary leg room?

Absolutely we do. It’s super rare to deliver ahead of schedule and we actually don’t even want that - we want to be on time so that the marketing schedule goes to plan. Instead of finishing early and going on vacation, we usually take that additional time to take on and finish out lower-priority tasks. Any additional time in the schedule is where we fit in tasks like polishing various aspects of the game, iterate and make things more fun, sand some of the rougher edges off, fix frustration points, finish more content, and so on.

Good news, everyone!ALT

As I’ve mentioned, there’s never any shortage of work to do on a game project. What players get when we ship a game is what we had time in the schedule to finish. Any given dev task, big or small, has a priority. The highest priority tasks are the most critical to get done and are always tackled first. Low priority tasks only get attention when all the higher priority stuff has been finished or all higher priority work is currently blocked. If we’re ahead of schedule, that means the high priority stuff gets finished and we can either build more content or we can polish the existing stuff with that extra time.

Holstering a pistolALT

I’m actually doing this kind of stuff at work this week. I finished all my higher priority tasks for this milestone faster than expected, so I’m using this extra time to add some helpful additional debugging tools for others and polishing the content I’ve been working on. This should, in turn, empower other designers later on to do their work faster, leading to even more time savings down the road.

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