High Moon is the only video game company named among 2005 winners, lauded for its adoption of Agile Methodology, and specifically the Scrum method, for production of video game titles for next-generation consoles. High Moon is listed alongside innovators ranging from startups to well-established companies operating in high-tech industries such as digital security, mobile technology, computer software and wireless communications. The "Top 50 Technology Innovators of 2005." list is published in IT Week Magazine, and is available at the web site www.itweekmagazine.com.
"We see High Moon as setting a timely trend in the video game industry," said Ken Durham, reviews editor of IT Week Magazine. "They clearly recognize, and have very creatively addressed the growing complexity of developing successful, mass market video games. We hope more people in the game industry are inspired to take notice of High Moon's approach to game development."
The Scrum method is named after the tight formation in rugby where players huddle to move the ball up the field. As a product R&D method, the formation is applied in spirit by promoting small non-hierarchal, interdisciplinary teams who work together to complete vertical slices of a project. Working in short cycles called sprints that last no more than 30-days, teams work to produce iterations of a project that can be demonstrated, tested and evaluated. Guided by the project's broad objectives, Scrum gives its "customers," such as publishers, the ability to define goals for each sprint. Teams are then given the ownership to achieve the goals, providing the framework for enhanced productivity during the course of a standard workweek.
"Agile Methodology is an ideal match to game development in many ways," said Clinton Keith, chief technical officer of High Moon Studios. "It promotes an incremental and iterative approach to game development, where interdisciplinary teams of artists, designers and engineers focus on `finding the fun' rather than working from design and technical documents. Scrum, one of the major agile management tools, promotes daily communication, team ownership and product value. The benefits to product quality and team productivity can be enormous. In this era of skyrocketing development costs across the industry, Agile Methodology is something we evangelize for the sake of the game development community."
In November, High Moon received the 2005 Workplace Excellence Award from the San Diego chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management, who cited the company's adoption of Agile Methodology as underscoring its efforts to foster a close-knit culture and an environment designed to stimulate creativity. High Moon began implementing the Scrum approach in the final phases of development for its debut video game "Darkwatch." The critically and commercially successful first-person shooter was released earlier this year for the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox video game system from Microsoft, and was recently listed as a backward compatible title on the Xbox 360.