Software cost estimation: Pokemon Firefall

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I’ll introduce and test in one example how timeboxing works: whether my software complexity estimation holds. The app is relatively simple one. A web based interface that helps you keep track of points in playing Pokemon (the card game).

The non-usual suspects

Pokemon. The ultimate card game you’ll encounter at some point in family life. No, not the app. TGC – the card game. You’ve got these fancy cards shuffled and dealt, with which you start battling the opponent. Epic fun!

Waterfall – auch! The skeleton we all would like to bury. Waterfall is the name of a software project tracking methodology of the autistic idealist; which doesn’t work. In waterfall your team spends 1-6 months thinking and sketching, trying to sort out every possible minute detail of the software, and you’ve lost a major portion of time and/or manpower by the time you actually start implementing the plan. Waterfall is bad. Rael bad.

Time boxing. The “what” for some newbies to corporate software business. But for many professionals, time boxing means day in, day out activity: a software project’s parts (“Tasks” or building blocks), are being estimated, measured — and devs pressed against to reach their goals.

But really?! How to battle? I’m sitting at our living room table, with my 5-yo and thinking feverishly what should I do with the cards. Sure, Hitpoints (HP) seems familiar. I’ve had my share of role playing games along the decades. But what are all the rest of the figures and symbols on the Pokemon playing cards trying to tell me? No idea. Let’s find out.

Pokemon Firefall – tasks to make the app

  • scaffolding (initialize) the app on Codepen
  • 1 view: main view (=intro screen)
  • 1 view: Battle view (BV)
  • feature: Battle View setup (numbers) before going into live battle
  • code: Subtraction (live battle)
  • Next round (routing in BV)
  • Results

Here’s the plan. The app supports one-on-one battle: 2 cards are fighting each other. Each player has:

  • hitpoints
  • name of the card
  • primary attack method
  • secondary attack method
  • weakness
  • resistance

I’m testing coding on a cloud platform. For any experiment to be fruitful, it’s mandatory to have something to really work on.

CodePen is one of the obvious first platforms to try. My setup thus: a laptop and the CodePen. Let’s go!

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