[MUD-Dev] Design iterations (Was: R & D)

John Buehler johnbue at msn.com
Sat Jun 8 11:01:41 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

Sean Kelly writes:
> On Fri, 7 Jun 2002, Brian Bilek wrote:

>> However, this particular game company treated milestones as timed
>> events - it was crunch time before a 'milestone,' everyone worked
>> late and worked weekends trying to complete their bits of code,
>> art, or design prior to reaching the 'milestone' date.  Is this
>> just a word used in a different way, what I would call 'staged
>> releases,' with those releases being held to a deadline?  Maybe
>> this was unique to that company?  Or is this a difference between
>> game companies and other software development groups that you've
>> seen throughout the industry?

> From what I've seen, this practice of crunch-time is primarily
> restricted to the gaming software world.

You can expand this perception to include big companies.  Anybody
with hard deadlines is probably going to have 'crunch model' on
their projects.  It's standard operating procedure at Microsoft.  I
consider it simply a reflection of human nature.  When I was at DEC,
the situation was very similar, but there were no hard deadlines.
So we just kept working at a comfortable pace until we got the job
done.  Products were invariably released quite late.

> So I think the issue comes down to a matter of poor planning
> (which hearkens back to lack of established engineering practices)
> and an overzealous marketing department.  Other companies may have
> crunch time at times, but in my experience this is generally the
> result of last-minute changes that the programmers did not
> anticipate or the discovery of bugs that must be fixed as soon as
> possible.

Crunch time is really the scrambling to make sure that all the loose
ends are collected up and tied off.  In software, there are
frequently lots and lots of them.  If you're trying to push the
edges of a technology, it can really be a 'loose end multiplier'.


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