Spiral Model for Game Development, Best Choice For Developers?

By NIIT Editorial

Published on 01/05/2021

8 minutes

Game development is the art of creating games describing the design, development, and strategy to release the game. It also includes concept generation, builds, design, and test. While you are creating a game, you should also take care of the game mechanics, player engagement, rewards, and level design. Game development is a flexible niche and can be commenced by a big game development studio or even by a single individual. As long as you have the skills to create a game that enables the user to interact with the content and can manipulate the game’s elements, it is a game. 

There are some issues that game frameworks generally hold. In order to resolve such issues, the developers use tools like libGDX and OpenGL. These tools help them in video game development and make it quicker and simpler while providing several pre-made functions and features. Nonetheless, it becomes a bit difficult for the people who come from a non-programming background to understand the framework. And hence, knowing about all the basics of game development is important. Let’s start with the basic stages of game development!

Stages of Game Development


Since the video or android games development is a bit complex in nature, some of the structures and frameworks are available that help the gaming studios in running efficiently and completing the projects on track. The different stages of game development are as follows: 

  • Planning
  • Pre-production
  • Production
  • Testing
  • Pre-launch
  • Launch
  • Post-production

History of the Spiral Model of Game Development

The Spiral Model of Game Development was first explained as “A Spiral Model of Software Development and Enhancement” by Barry Boehm in 1986. Then after two years in 1988, he published a similar paper to acquaint a wider audience. Through those papers, the diagram which was introduced has been reproduced in many following publications that were discussing the spiral model.


The spiral model was first referred to as the ‘process model’ in the early papers. The same was in the case of the incremental, waterfall, prototyping, and other approaches. Nonetheless, the features of the spiral model risk-driven blending of other process models are already present. 

The model can be accommodated in any appropriate mixture of a specification-oriented, prototype-oriented, simulation-oriented, automated transformation-oriented, or another approach to software development thanks to risk-driven subsetting of the spiral model measures.


Later on, Boehm expressed the spiral model as a ‘process model generator’. This means the choices based on the risks of a project led to a generation of an apt process model for the project. Therefore, the incremental, prototyping, waterfall, and other process models, that fit in the risk patterns of some projects, are conferred to be the special cases of this model.


Boehm also uncovered the veil on some common myths that were taking birth due to the oversimplifications in the authentic spiral model diagram. Some of the risky misconceptions are:

-the spiral is nothing more than a series of waterfall increments.

- a single spiral sequence follows all the project activities

- each of the activities should be given in the diagram should be performed in the same order


While the aforementioned misconceptions can be said as a risk pattern to some projects, they are not completely true for maximum projects. The National Research Council stated that the spiral model included risks that were related to human users. 

What is the Spiral Model of Game Development?

When novice game developers try to build a game, they tend to insert lots of features together in one go and then implement it without having any order of priority. Here’s where the Spiral Model of Game Development steps in. It is a basic and well-designed technique that enhances the game’s efficiency. Being a risk-driven software development process model, the Spiral Model of Game Development is an amalgamation of the waterfall model and iterative model. This model assists in the adoption of software development elements from various process models for software projects based on specific risk trends, ensuring a smooth development process.


Each of the spiral model’s phases in the game development starts with a design goal and ends with the review of the client’s progress. The progress in the Spiral Model in the Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) initiates with a small set of requirements and undergoes through every development phase for the given set of requirements. The developer team augments the functionality of the additional requirement in each increasing spiral till that application is ready for the production phase. 


Phases of Spiral Model


The planning phase of the spiral model commences by collecting the feature requirements in the baseline spiral. This phase of the spiral model involves the elimination of costs, scheduling, and resources for the iteration. Also, it helps to understand the requirements of the system for continuous communication between the customer and the system analyst. The discovery of system requirements, unit-level inputs, and components info occur in this phase when the ongoing spirals act as the product evolves.


After planning and identification, the next one is the design phase. It begins with an easy mind mapping within the initial spiral and including the architectural design, logical layout of modules, and therefore the physical product prototype within the subsequent spirals.


The production of the software product at every iteration level is known as the build stage. When the software, in the baseline cycle, acts as just an idea of the design to be considered as a prototype happens in this stage to learn from the client’s experience. 


A working copy of every software product (also known as a build) is delivered with a proper version in the ensuing spirals with higher clarity on requirements and design specifications. Finally, then it  is provided to the clients for their inputs.


Evaluation and Risk Analysis


The risk analysis encompasses classifying, observing, and measuring the technical viability along with the business risks like schedule impact and cost escalations. Once the examination of the build is finished, the customer is then able to assess the software and give their valuable feedback during the end of the first repetition. 


Application of the Spiral Model


Here are some of the pointers that will help you to understand the common uses of the spiral model:

- When there is a huge project, a spiral model is used

- When frequent releases are to be made

- During the creation of an applicable prototype

- Because of the importance of the risks and costs evaluation

- Used in various projects of medium to high risk

- When it takes time for the changes to be settled

- When economic priorities become an obstacle between the long-term project commitment.


Advantages and Disadvantages of the Spiral Model


The benefit of a spiral model is that it enables the elements of the products to just get added in if they are available or known. This ensures that no conflict arises with the previous requirements and design. This method is reliable to approaches having multiple software builds and releases enabling an orderly transition to maintenance activity. The next positive aspect of this method is that the spiral model forces an early user involvement within the system development effort. On the contrary, really strict management is deployed in order to get the products finished, and hence there’s a risk of running the spiral in an indefinite loop. Therefore, it is very important to build and use the product successfully with the discipline of change and the extent of taking change requests.


Let’s have a brief look at the advantages as well as disadvantages of the Spiral Model:




- The spiral model enables you to add functionality or any kind of changes in the later stage too.

- One can easily estimate the cost as the prototype building is done in small bits.

- Repetitive development of the spiral model helps in managing risk. 

- The spiral model aids the speed of the development which further helps the features to be added in a systematic way. 

- The requirements are recorded more accurately and the users can see the system early. 

- The spiral model is flexible and always leaves room for customer feedback. 




- There is a high risk of not meeting the schedule or the planned budget. 

- Chances are high that most large projects are able to be benefitted from the spiral development.

- It demands risk and assessment expertise.

- If the protocol is not followed strictly then the spiral model will not be conducted smoothly. 

- Lots of documentation is required because of the intermediate phases. 

- The spiral software development is quite expensive and is generally not advisable for smaller projects.

Though it comprises a few drawbacks, yet the spiral model is considered the best gaming development technique so far. One can also take game development courses to understand the intricacies of this gaming technique. 

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Becoming a Game Developer: A Course for Programmers. Design and Build Your Own Game using Unity.

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