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Soln
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the opportunity for evil is just delicious


Reply #140 on: June 28, 2006, 02:31:53 PM

That's only one way to slice it though. The other is to question the idea of reasonable. Maybe Valve and 3D Realms have it right. Games take time, don't rush them.

Perhaps crunch time exists not to finish on time, but to finish early.

In my experience so far, crunch cycles happen for two reasons.

(a) We bit off more than we can chew and are unable/unwilling to adjust our schedule accordingly.

-or-

(b) Feature Creep after the planning/spec deadline and we're unable/unwilling to adjust the schedule accordingly.

There's a reason for Scotty's old engineering advice, whereby the boss asks for a schedule and the good engineer replies with a schedule about four times as long as he thinks it will actually take.

Of course, if you don't actually have a schedule or any organization supporting scheduling.. well.. then you might as well just be a bunch of guys in a garage.

Unrealistic, bullshit, egregious schedules come from people who do not have any interest in the welfare of the people who build/test/deploy the product.  In my experience with this situation it's because the Business team who controls OIBDA (and thereby headcount) doesn't give a shit about "teh details".  partly because they can't, partly because they're lazy, but mostly because they don't TRUST engineers.  They want it now... <cue Billy Connolly>  And I literally finished a meeting like this 30mins ago and am on f13 now cause Im pissed and wanna go home and turn off the lights.
Jeff Kelly
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I'm an apathetic, hedonistic, utilitarian, nihilistic existentialist.


Reply #141 on: June 28, 2006, 03:37:46 PM

Typical conversation at project kickoff for every software company I have ever worked for/with.

Management: We want [huge featurelist] at [unrealisticly low budget] how long do you think it will take.

Engineers: About x man months for design, y man months for implementation and x man months for tests. We have already done a similar project and this seem about right.

Management: Well we need to do it in [half the time] because we have already promised the customer that the project will be finished by [unrealistic shipping date]

Engineers: WTF.

Those projects tend to either be long painful death marches with huge overtimes or to be hugely over schedule. Depending on wheteher or not the customer is heavily commited (money, outcome) or not.
Viin
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Reply #142 on: June 28, 2006, 03:43:48 PM

There's another acquisition coming up, but only one of the players is well known. More details whenever I find them.

- Viin
Yoru
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Reply #143 on: June 28, 2006, 04:28:04 PM

This came up at lunch today.

When examining a feature request, the three involved parties look at things differently.

The devs ask "Can we do this before the deadline?"

The QAs ask "Can you make it work before the deadline?"

The managers ask "Can I get that in cornflower blue by EOD?"

And Soln/Jeff, yes, that's pretty much my experience as well, a lot of the scheduling bullshit comes from above... that's why I said "unable" to move the deadline. Management wants it now but doesn't want to pay for it with extra dev/QA time.
Stephen Zepp
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Reply #144 on: June 30, 2006, 12:20:51 PM

That's only one way to slice it though. The other is to question the idea of reasonable. Maybe Valve and 3D Realms have it right. Games take time, don't rush them.

Perhaps crunch time exists not to finish on time, but to finish early.

In my experience so far, crunch cycles happen for two reasons.

(a) We bit off more than we can chew and are unable/unwilling to adjust our schedule accordingly.

-or-

(b) Feature Creep after the planning/spec deadline and we're unable/unwilling to adjust the schedule accordingly.

There's a reason for Scotty's old engineering advice, whereby the boss asks for a schedule and the good engineer replies with a schedule about four times as long as he thinks it will actually take.

Of course, if you don't actually have a schedule or any organization supporting scheduling.. well.. then you might as well just be a bunch of guys in a garage.

There's nothing wrong with  working in a Garage!.

Rumors of War
Yoru
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Reply #145 on: June 30, 2006, 01:24:40 PM

There's nothing wrong with  working in a Garage!.

:-D

I was wondering if someone was going to catch that.

Those look like much nicer digs than a garage though, especially the parts that have been.. you know.. painted. I've worked in spaces that are barely-converted or completely unconverted warehouses. Kinda like that basement you've got there, only with a wrecked forklift instead of a makeshift server room.
Stephen Zepp
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Reply #146 on: June 30, 2006, 02:52:22 PM

Heh..it's actually a combined office space + warehouse building. We leased all of the west side office space (the colorful areas you see), the warehouse, as well as a second suite of offices elsewhere in the building.

I tell you what...going from 32 people in an office area smaller than many apartments to everyone actually having room to all breathe in their office at the same time is quite fundamental to general morale...we didn't know how bad it was until we moved on.

Now we just need to get the rest of the roof work done so the sunlight office can have them installed :)

Rumors of War
Yoru
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Reply #147 on: June 30, 2006, 04:24:12 PM

Yeah, I've seen (and worked in) those kind of conjoined office-warehouse buildings. The warehouse parts aren't too bad if you light and partition them properly. ABig sheet of thin canvas works great, especially for the creative sorts, since they can pin stuff to it and you can cut/hang it in irregular shapes and angles to make things less equirectangular.

Hint: plastic garden chair + computer on floor + single bare lightbulb and an open door != 'proper working space'.

You know what else is good for morale in the tech industry?

Murgos
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Reply #148 on: July 04, 2006, 06:43:35 AM


You know what else is good for morale in the tech industry?



Rule #1. We do not talk about fight club.

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Ironwood
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Reply #149 on: July 05, 2006, 04:28:07 AM

Um, we do.  We totally do.

All the time.

"Mr Soft Owl has Seen Some Shit." - Sun Tzu
Xerapis
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Reply #150 on: July 05, 2006, 05:06:27 AM

Well, except for those times that we don't.

But other than that. 

Yeah, we do.

..I want to see gamma rays. I want to hear x-rays. I want to...smell dark matter...and feel the solar wind of a supernova flowing over me...
schild
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Reply #151 on: July 14, 2006, 06:05:29 AM

Little leaks here and there, apparently Mythic cost $50M with some tiered incentive based bullshit of up to $70M if WAR hits certain goals.

That's a whole lot of money for a whole lot of uh.

Yea, $50M-$70M.
stray
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Reply #152 on: July 14, 2006, 07:53:04 AM

for a whole lot of uh.

Better than going somewhere else. Mythic is the most competent mmorpg development team out there. A whole lot of "uh" is better than a whole lot of "ughh!!"
Llava
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Reply #153 on: July 14, 2006, 05:51:56 PM

Mythic is the most competent mmorpg development team out there.

Really?

You think so?

I mean, WAR looks good, and DAoC certainly had its charms, but if Mythic is the most competent team out there then we're in a sorrier state than I thought.

That the saints may enjoy their beatitude and the grace of God more abundantly they are permitted to see the punishment of the damned in hell. -Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica
Hoax
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Reply #154 on: July 14, 2006, 09:38:08 PM

I ignored that statement as being just another foaming at the mouth DAOC fanboi who runs around spouting shit like "DOAC has the best pvp EVAR!!" all the time...

Mythic was the first company to have a solid MMO launch of an AAA title that I can remember.

Mythic also has the WORST record of overall class balance at launch of an AAA title that I can think of by a mile.

I've found bad launches are recovered from more quickly then bad design descisions that lead to gross class imbalance but that may just be my "omg I played a blademaster at launch fuck you mythic" side talking.

A nation consists of its laws. A nation does not consist of its situation at a given time. If an individual's morals are situational, then that individual is without morals. If a nation's laws are situational, that nation has no laws, and soon isn't a nation.
-William Gibson
stray
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Reply #155 on: July 15, 2006, 03:42:50 AM

I ignored that statement as being just another foaming at the mouth DAOC fanboi who runs around spouting shit like "DOAC has the best pvp EVAR!!" all the time...

Me, a fanboi? Hell, I've barely played it, man. I wasn't coming from that angle at all.
eldaec
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Reply #156 on: July 15, 2006, 03:52:23 AM

Mythic is the most competent mmorpg development team out there.

Really?

You think so?

I mean, WAR looks good, and DAoC certainly had its charms, but if Mythic is the most competent team out there then we're in a sorrier state than I thought.

Well, who has been more competent?

I can't think of anyone?

"People will not assume that what they read on the internet is trustworthy or that it carries any particular ­assurance or accuracy" - Lord Leveson
"Hyperbole is a cancer" - Lakov Sanite
Reg
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Reply #157 on: July 15, 2006, 05:22:27 AM

Up until now I think Mythic has had much less turnover than the average MOG dev company so I bet that their average competence level was higher than the others. I understand that Blizzard has lost a ton of good people and EA has always been a revolving door where people abandon ship as soon as their resume looks good enough to get them a job somewhere that's less of a hell hole.

I don't expect that situation at Mythic to last though. According to Lum's blog Matt Firor has just left and I'll bet that he is just the first of a bunch of high profile departures to come.

Murgos
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Reply #158 on: July 15, 2006, 06:35:24 AM


Well, who has been more competent?

I can't think of anyone?


Blizzard has managed to not screw up too badly....

"You have all recieved youre last warning. I am in the process of currently tracking all of youre ips and pinging your home adressess. you should not have commencemed a war with me" - Aaron Rayburn
stray
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Reply #159 on: July 15, 2006, 07:48:08 AM

In my original response to Schild, I meant that EA couldn't find anyone better than Mythic that was available.

Blizzard (coding pace, shoulder standing, server hiccups, and crappy patcher aside), is still probably as competent as Mythic too. But they can't be bought either.
Murgos
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Reply #160 on: July 15, 2006, 08:27:43 AM

I'm sure that with EA's bank account they could have found a magic number that would make a partnership seem palatable to Blizzard.

Afterall, the potential income is in the BILLIONS.

But I doubt if EA has the ability to not fuck up in the MMOG arena regardless of who they buy/hire/partner with to do the design and implementation.

"You have all recieved youre last warning. I am in the process of currently tracking all of youre ips and pinging your home adressess. you should not have commencemed a war with me" - Aaron Rayburn
Llava
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Reply #161 on: July 15, 2006, 11:01:50 AM

Hell, people complain about the grind in CoX.  Remember staying in a fins group for hours and hours?  Forget the ToA grind.

And yeah, I know there are alternate servers where you can avoid that crap.  I don't much care- that it was there is proof enough.

Who's more competent?
Every company for every game we're playing instead of DAoC.

That the saints may enjoy their beatitude and the grace of God more abundantly they are permitted to see the punishment of the damned in hell. -Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica
stray
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Reply #162 on: July 15, 2006, 12:55:36 PM

Who's more competent?
Every company for every game we're playing instead of DAoC.

Now you're just being silly.

And like I said, I don't even like DAoC....Don't try to use that one against me. I hate it more than you (after all, you're the one who spent so much time playing it :D).

Hoax
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Reply #163 on: July 15, 2006, 01:37:37 PM

I ignored that statement as being just another foaming at the mouth DAOC fanboi who runs around spouting shit like "DOAC has the best pvp EVAR!!" all the time...

Me, a fanboi? Hell, I've barely played it, man. I wasn't coming from that angle at all.

Knee-jerk reaction, my bad, f13 has more then its fair share of them tricksie daoc fanbois.  I'm not even bothering to get even sort of excited about WAR as I'm sure they will overdo the hype around here as it is.

A nation consists of its laws. A nation does not consist of its situation at a given time. If an individual's morals are situational, then that individual is without morals. If a nation's laws are situational, that nation has no laws, and soon isn't a nation.
-William Gibson
squirrel
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Reply #164 on: July 15, 2006, 06:14:58 PM

I'm sure that with EA's bank account they could have found a magic number that would make a partnership seem palatable to Blizzard.

Afterall, the potential income is in the BILLIONS.

But I doubt if EA has the ability to not fuck up in the MMOG arena regardless of who they buy/hire/partner with to do the design and implementation.

Unlikely - Blizzard is wholly owned by Vivendi Media Conglomerate who, although largely incompetent, are unlikely to let anyone come near they're sacred cash cow.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2006, 06:18:07 PM by squirrel »

Speaking of marketing, we're out of milk.
Johny Cee
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Reply #165 on: July 15, 2006, 07:55:15 PM

Bah... stupid keyboard.

On the edit:

1.  I don't think any of the people here who still play DAoC say stuff like "best PvP evar!1!"  We say stuff like:  despite it's flaws,  best fantasy mmo pvp available right now. 

The DAoC players here are generally pretty good at pointing out the huge and glaring flaws.  Despite those,  it's slightly more engaging than the competition.

2.  There is no grind in DAoC.

Speed of leveling hasn't been a problem in years.  You can solo a toon two high 40's/50's in about 2 days played, depending on class.

Mythic has been pretty good at saying "we fucked up" and fixing the ToA mess.  Most artifacts can be done in one or two nights of following around a scheduled artifact zerg.  MLs are done 3 levels at a shot now,  so that's not bad either.

3.  Class balance is fucked.  Not because there are a couple of classes that are extremely overpowered mass killing everyone at all times,  but because some classes are so specialized or situationally overpowered.

Animists, bainshees, and heretics are massively overpowered in any siege situation.  Animists and heretics generally suck balls everywhere else.  The balance in aoe available between realms is messed. etc etc.

4.  At Schild:

$50 million sounds like a pretty good number,  just going off what you can estimate of Mythic's gross revenues for the next 3 years.  Gross revenues of $25-30 million a year (based on available pop data).  Hell,  if you want to make your money back just fire the WAR dev team, reduce overhead,  and churn out a unique server type every 6 months or year.

You could milk the game for a long time.

A conditional $20 million to buy WAR if everything stays on target is no skin off EA's back.  They either get a complete new MMO or don't pay out a dime.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2006, 08:14:00 PM by Johny Cee »
tazelbain
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tazelbain


Reply #166 on: July 15, 2006, 08:31:13 PM

K beat up on Mythic.  But who would be the other canidates?

Funcom, Turbine? Funny.

"Me am play gods"
Hoax
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Reply #167 on: July 16, 2006, 06:21:23 PM

Why the fuck are we having excremint beauty contest anyway?

"ooh look, the definition of that peanut really brings out the log shape in that one, clearly it is the superior turd!"

Competent MMO company...   roflcopter

A nation consists of its laws. A nation does not consist of its situation at a given time. If an individual's morals are situational, then that individual is without morals. If a nation's laws are situational, that nation has no laws, and soon isn't a nation.
-William Gibson
Johny Cee
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Reply #168 on: July 16, 2006, 06:52:29 PM

Why the fuck are we having excremint beauty contest anyway?

"ooh look, the definition of that peanut really brings out the log shape in that one, clearly it is the superior turd!"

Competent MMO company...   roflcopter

Is excremint like excrement or peppermint?
Hoax
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Reply #169 on: July 16, 2006, 07:01:37 PM

Mother fucking Opera, just figured out how to run the built-in spellchecker it was fucking up f13's.  I see it is too late though and I've already constructed another lasting monument to my lack of spelling ability, yay me.

A nation consists of its laws. A nation does not consist of its situation at a given time. If an individual's morals are situational, then that individual is without morals. If a nation's laws are situational, that nation has no laws, and soon isn't a nation.
-William Gibson
Llava
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Reply #170 on: July 17, 2006, 01:50:11 AM

Bah... stupid keyboard.

On the edit:

1.  I don't think any of the people here who still play DAoC say stuff like "best PvP evar!1!"  We say stuff like:  despite it's flaws,  best fantasy mmo pvp available right now. 

The DAoC players here are generally pretty good at pointing out the huge and glaring flaws.  Despite those,  it's slightly more engaging than the competition.

2.  There is no grind in DAoC.

Speed of leveling hasn't been a problem in years.  You can solo a toon two high 40's/50's in about 2 days played, depending on class.

Mythic has been pretty good at saying "we fucked up" and fixing the ToA mess.  Most artifacts can be done in one or two nights of following around a scheduled artifact zerg.  MLs are done 3 levels at a shot now,  so that's not bad either.

3.  Class balance is fucked.  Not because there are a couple of classes that are extremely overpowered mass killing everyone at all times,  but because some classes are so specialized or situationally overpowered.

Animists, bainshees, and heretics are massively overpowered in any siege situation.  Animists and heretics generally suck balls everywhere else.  The balance in aoe available between realms is messed. etc etc.


They've been moving in a better direction for a while, yes.

They did it far too late to retain me as a customer.

Out of curiosity- is Ripper fixed yet, or does it still scale off of weapon spec instead of Critical Strike spec?

Regarding the "competent" thing:  I could potentially agree that Mythic is the most competent MMG company that EA could reasonably expect to purchase.

That the saints may enjoy their beatitude and the grace of God more abundantly they are permitted to see the punishment of the damned in hell. -Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica
HaemishM
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Reply #171 on: July 17, 2006, 10:56:25 AM

Hell, people complain about the grind in CoX.  Remember staying in a fins group for hours and hours?  Forget the ToA grind.

And yeah, I know there are alternate servers where you can avoid that crap.  I don't much care- that it was there is proof enough.

Who's more competent?
Every company for every game we're playing instead of DAoC.

But they are consistently one of the only companies (other than Crytpic) that has a game whose server doesn't blow up and shit itself or strap long queues onto the player's back.

You may disagree with their design decisions, but most of those designs weren't implemented badly; they were just bad designs. They worked.

Llava
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Reply #172 on: July 18, 2006, 03:15:52 AM

I can agree to that.

If I wanted to log on in DAoC, I never thought to myself "Is my server going to be up?"

A lot of designs were half-assed or short-sighted in one way or another, but for the most part they did work as advertised... with some notable exceptions.

That the saints may enjoy their beatitude and the grace of God more abundantly they are permitted to see the punishment of the damned in hell. -Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica
Sky
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Reply #173 on: July 18, 2006, 08:17:25 AM

There are lots of queued games now? I thought that was the exception (and mostly WoW being too popular). SOE, if you forget the SWG team, is pretty strong. Planetside (will we EVER see another MMOFPS with as much FPS as PS?), EQ (the new M59), and especially EQ2 which has really improved to the point where it's actually enjoyable to play for the most part. Turbine was good with Asheron's Call, and DDO didn't seem to bad.
Quote
Every company for every game we're playing instead of DAoC.
All MMO companies are incompetent? :) Gogo Bethesda!

schild
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Reply #174 on: July 18, 2006, 08:20:33 AM

Pssst. Sky.

Huxley, duder. Is that even on your radar?
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