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I just found out that Gamasutra has game developer postmortems:

Humorously, the Unreal postmortem came to pretty much the same conclusion as Joel about distributed dev.  (Coinidence?  I think not.)

In other programming industries, there's usually a level of fear in dissecting mistakes like this...  leaving it up to even crueller pundits.

Tuesday, August 27, 2002


That's not what the sight said.  It said there were some difficulties with a 2 sited development, and there were merger problems among other things.

But it also said that in the end, it was worth it, the game won awards, was a big hit in the market place, and shipped in 18 months - start to finish.  Hardly a failure in any sense of the word.  Based on this article, I would not be discouraged to take on distributed development.

Nat Ersoz
Tuesday, August 27, 2002

"During Unreal, Epic team members flew to Canada to work at Digital Extremes' offices. With Unreal Tournament, it became Digital Extremes's turn to do the traveling. Unfortunately, flying and driving back and forth every couple of weeks is a very draining experience. Many of the Digital Extremes team members spent several weeks away from their wives and girlfriends.  [snip..] Had the co-development happened between companies more closely situated, [the merger/morale] would not have been a problem."

In this case, they didn't even attempt true distributed dev, preferring to work in a tight local team when possible.  And Joel didn't say distributed teams couldn't work, just that he desires the design quality of close teams.  I suppose I was being glib though.  It reminded me of my stint in gaming, where the SF company had a guy in Texas, and while he could develop remotely, we got him in whenever we could so he could take part in fun, fast design sessions.

Shit, the site requires registration w/ a real email addy.

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

You may have to log in but the ubiquitous backdoor cipherpunk/cipherpunk

Virgin Poster
Tuesday, August 27, 2002

I think that distributed development can work well. Of course their can be problems, heck, software projects are full of problems.

Its all about WHAT's distributed, not merely the fact that it IS distributed. Understanding this was the key to the success of the distributed developments that I have worked on.

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

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