How Is Video Game Development Different from Software Development in Open Source?

Luca Pascarella, Fabio Palomba, Massimiliano Di Penta, Alberto Bacchelli

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)
299 Downloads (Pure)


Recent research has provided evidence that, in the industrial context, developing video games diverges from developing software systems in other domains, such as office suites and system utilities. In this paper, we consider video game development in the open source system (OSS) context. Specifically, we investigate how developers contribute to video games vs. non-games by working on different kinds of artifacts, how they handle malfunctions, and how they perceive the development process of their projects. To this purpose, we conducted a mixed, qualitative and quantitative study on a broad suite of 60 OSS projects. Our results confirm the existence of significant differences between game and non-game development, in terms of how project resources are organized and in the diversity of developers’ specializations. Moreover, game developers responding to our survey perceive more difficulties than other developers when reusing code as well as performing automated testing, and they lack a clear overview of their system’s requirements.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 15th International Conference on Mining Software Repositories, MSR. ACM, New York, NY
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Acknowledgments: European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 642954


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