[MUD-Dev] Development and Live Team Dynamics

Koster, Raph rkoster at soe.sony.com
Wed Jun 8 10:15:11 New Zealand Standard Time 2005


Chris Richards wrote:

> What are the dynamics between the development and live teams
> post-launch with respect to team cross-over, designer influence,
> maintenance, content updates, and architecture.

Alas, the answer is "depends" to most of the below, in all the shops
I have knowledge of.

> For instance, in a medium to large-scale production,

>   - How long after post-launch do the core developers support the
>   release?

Usually, the core developers BECOME the live team. Then you set up a
gradual transition plan and backfill over time.

>   - How much of the live team consists of the core developers?

Depends on company finances.

>   - Do members of the live team transition to core developers?

There is no distinction between core developers and live team, once
the game is launched.

>   - Does the designer hand over the world with guidelines to a
>   "live designer" or does the core designer stay tight within the
>   loop?

The transition works just like any other transition. The core
designer gets tired or burned out, gets an opportunity on another
team, and needs to be backfilled.

>   - What level of new content requires development support as
>   opposed to live team support?  For example, in games with
>   content patches that have new game dynamics (e.g., Castle Sieges
>   of Lineage II, Battlegrounds of World of Warcraft), which team
>   designs/implements these features?  If the development team
>   implements it, how long do they support this new feature?

Generally, you take your team of people and split some off to do
parallel development on the larger feature in a branch, while
everyone else continues the day to day live development. This is why
live team updates typically slow down a bit in the run up to an
expansion release.

>   - If the support or game architecture need to be revamped
>   post-launch, who has that responsibility?  Do business
>   necessities often require developers to be pulled from new
>   titles or expansions?

The live team does it all.

> I expect the answers are much like those if asked of the
> non-gaming, corporate world, but I'm curious to see where they
> differ, if at all.

I wouldn't know what the answers are for the corporate world, but
your assumptions embedded in the question make me think that it's
different.  :)

-Raph
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