Well, the new year is here, our Harpoon Commander’s Edition is selling ok, considering we don’t have the boxed edition in hand yet, and Sunday the Team decided that version 3.9 was ready for RC1! We are shooting for the end of January – but with this game schedules are an unpleasent subject! We also are making deliveries for one of our Professional clients which is also good as we seem to have more work coming…
I’ve had time to start thinking strategically about the general situation at AGSI and after I set aside my gut reactions to some of the crap being thrown at me, I’m able to think big. Basically, with the addition of some new staff we are able to re-organize and low and behold once we started doing that – we started getting more leads on H3 Pro work! An old mentor used to say "Be, Do, Have". Meaning "Be the way you imagine you will be, Do the things you would do, and you will Have the things you see." He wasn’t being materialistic, it was more of a spiritual thing but it seems to apply to the company as much as to me.
I think the Team is now doing a better job working the the Content Creators Committee (C3) and that’s important as they create more content (i.e. levels) for our game than we could possibly afford. It’s true that we can’t please everyone, including those who want us to follow their vision, but I think the Team is coordinating better so that everyone gets a few things in each of the next releases. Given we have 2 million lines of old code, and (today) only 2 programmers, we have a real limit to how quickly we can fix things, add things, and ship things. Another twist is that some bugs aren’t going to get fixed as their underlying code is going to be scrapped and re-written to provide the correct functionality plus new features – which results in the bug getting fixed – just later. With the history of this code base "quick fixes" just don’t exist. Too many of those have been done already and now we are paying the price. So we are going to do it right, fix defects, and add features. This works well with our mixing of coding projects for both Commerical and Professional players.
At the day job we are preparing deliveries for the City of Austin and right after that Texas. It’s a wee bit stressful these days doing that manager business, but I find that I’m actually happy to do it. More on this side of my life at http://esl-seg.tamu.edu. It’s kinda funny as I build this team up (I now have 3 full time developers as well as the usual 6 or so students). They are really bright these guys, and have experience in different areas. Getting them to jell is one thing, getting them to jell and fulffill appropriate SE process is a bit slower. They have a different prioritization than I do – and theirs has the merit of being applicable to the work in hand. So even though it isn’t the sequence of implementation I am used to – it sticks and adds immediate value by following their sequence. It’s that the boss isn’t the one who usually experiences change – he gives it! Oh well, this is the 21st Century so I better get with the times!