How to avoid having an ever growing task list / to do list?


I was wondering if anyone has some advise when creating a game how to not grow your To Do list or Task list.
Mine seems to be getting bigger and bigger.

Every time i fix something it sometimes exposes a new bug. Or sometimes by doing something i only realize then that i completely overlooked something else that needs to be added in the list.
Its pretty daunting as the left to do never gets less. Even though the Done sections are growing.

Concentrate onto one task until it’s finished -> will cost more time, but your list wont grow so fast :slight_smile: But games get more complex over the development time. So the amount of tasks will rise constantly.

Make sure to be well organised → which tasks are important? do I have to do this task to finish another one?..

Layout everything you want in an idea list, make 2 new lists of 5 items each out of the first list of NEEDs and WANTs (take care in thinking these thoroughly as some tasks might need another task to be completed).

Then after the lists are done; start with your needs list and program each task until its finished. Add wants tasks on to needs list once you finish ALL needs list tasks. You’re not allowed to add anything from the idea list to either want or need list until after you finish the needs list first.

Once both lists are completed make the needs and wants list again from the idea lists.

This is what i do and it works well.

I think death is the only way your toodo list ever gets shorter!

Have you tried using trello? Helps us focus on some of the more important tasks while backlogging other things. Helps us remember what we have to do which increases speed of development.

I use a google spreadsheet but I would second trello. It’s nice and responsive and easy to use and organize your list of todo’s!

I also suggest trello, we use it a lot for todo lists. But yeah, you NEVER get rid of the todo list. It just becomes full of “we can accept this as not done if we really need to” items.

Seriously, any major game will have thousands of bugs in its bug tracker. You get this sort of series of mountains of bugs, where you crush a bunch and the mountain gets smaller, then your testers give you millions more and it goes through a bunch of cycles like that. It can get quite soul destroying, but thats game development for you :slight_smile:

It DOES improve though. So don’t get too down if you feel like that now. There’s always light at the end of that tunnel, it just might be a very long tunnel :wink:

This was just posted! It has allot of good ideas in general not just first game.

I’m now working on my game for 2 months and I don’t really know why I should use something like a todo list. I have the vision in my head how the game should ideally look. So I just try to get closer to this. Adding more and more stuff. Why should I use a list? I don’t need to know what I already have done, I see this if I hit play and play the game. And why should I make a list with 20 things I still have to do, that would just constantly show me how dämn much stuff I still have to do. I can only work on one feature at the time. And if this feature is ready, I think what I should do next to get close to the game I want to have. And so on.
Really, why should I use a list?

Thanks for the feedback guys.
Will try trello.

Right now im using a simple spreadsheet.
The reason i use a list is to keep focus on what needs to be done. Prioritize between what would take longer as opposed to be quicker tasks.
For example when i originally made a game i never used a list.

Since i started creating project plans progress increased.

There is though one valid point John makes. Sometimes seeing this huge daunting task list does make you go sigh.
But seeing the progress that has been achieved is pretty awesome.

When i open my game i see how far i have gotten but this does not nearly look as much when you look on all the little jobs that was completed to achieve that.

On point.

Trello i will try.
I think right now by delima is not being able to predict exactly what needs to be done. I have 10 main points. Then as i tackle one point i realize this point has 12 sub points to be completed.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Planning is one of the greatest tools a game developer has imo.

I would also suggest you trello, it is very easy to use and organize your todo’s lists.

I use a similar system to SaxonRah’s suggestion but include the use of Trello.

I have a notebook with three seperate sections: Tasks, Bugs, Ideas.

Ideas are added to Trello (the only reason I have them in a notebook is because sometimes I think of something and I am not near a computer). The team then votes for the ideas on Trello and we prioritise them.

The Idea will then be transcribed to my notebook and as I start work on it, I sometimes will add extra tasks to my notebook that are needed in order to complete this larger task.

Well doing my tasks, I will sometimes discover bugs and these will be transcribed to my Bugs section. New ideas will be put in the Ideas section. Once I complete tasks, I will then tackle all bugs in the Bugs section. Once those bugs are complete, the next idea from Trello is worked on or I push the next idea up to Trello to vote on.

I used to use Sticky Notes … but then this happened:


Just kidding … 8-}

My main trick is Finish the Task → Squash the Bugs → Propose New Idea → Finish the Task … etc. etc. etc.

I have three documents I keep that help me:

  1. An overall ‘to do’ list that is SUPER high level, big ideas, overall goals of the game

  2. A smaller to-do list for the feature or bug I’m currently working on

  3. A little note that has a couple lines about what I’m working on currently, and where I left off.

The effect of this is that I never need to lose context for where I am at, and I don’t spend a lot of time maintaining to do lists.