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