Author Topic: High Level Design Series: Product Phase/Stages (& Internal Names)  (Read 1613 times)

Offline Shem (aka MadScientist)

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While tinkering, I decided to write a product release schedule.  High level, pure SWAG; however, possibly informative.  I put together layers of functionality and took guesses at what order would cluster nicely so I wouldn't constantly be stepping on myself.  (Some say: "Admins are ... [#@!]."  I wouldn't want to step on myself, my ideas, project plans, or anything else that is semi-important.  ;) )
 
So, as both a teaser, and as something I can laugh with (at?) myself over later, here are my preposed releases.  As a one man "band" dev team, the data is ugly/sobering/depressing.  It reminds me of when I climbed Mt Baker, and THEN discovered that I had activity induced asthma.  BTW, Asthma & High Altitudes don't mix well.  I barely remember the summit because I was so far gone from lack of oxygen/fatigue.  ("I don't have to finish the journey, merely take the NEXT step.  OK, good.  Now, another one.  And, maybe just one more .... ")
 
MUD(R,n)  [pronounced: "MUD: R, to the N"; (or maybe just "Medic!") ] Release Stages
  • Pre-Project Prep [~40 days] - Proj Planning, Infrastructure, & Sanity Checks    /* IsSane?(False()) */
  • MUD(R,1) - "tiny(r)" [~13 Iterations] - Introducing D.R.A.G.O.N, the Multi-Verse, Multi-MUD, Gossip
  • MUD(R,2) - "RPG ToolBox" [~13 Iterations] - MUDs as a Virtual TableTop Experience
  • MUD(R,3) - "ARRR! NEW WORLDs for the Plundering" [~18i] - RoomObj vs 3D ECEF Mapping; Build(er) Tools
  • MUD(R,4) - "RetroVision, Gaming like its 1989" [~13i?] - Client/Server *UI (TUI, GUI, ... "Huey, Duey, & Louie")
  • MUD(R,5) - "ReBirth & Renewal" [~13i?] - MUDs Revisioned (21st Century); MultiMedia Extensions; Hands Free
  • MUD(R,6) - "Aren't We DONE yet?!?" [~??i, Repeating] - Extensions, Patches, & Maintenance Releases
  • MUD(R,7) - "Rhovania: the Smudged Mirror" [~???i] - Finally!  The VTT/RPG Game World I originally wanted ...

Unless a miracle occurs, the projected release dates seem just painfully slow; however, it is what it is.  I love software architecture, game theory, software engineering, roleplaying, & storytelling; at least sometimes.  Mixing it all together in a HUGE project seems logical.  Given a large enough kettle, I'll have enough to share.
 
Ironically, ~20 years ago I tried to solve the scale issues primarily by recruiting and throwing bodies at the problem.  I ended up with a very large pile of bodies, and an infrastructure that was almost unmannagable (I had to reinvent it 3? times because the system/org chart outgrew my infrastructure); it was awful! 
 
For anyone still around that remembers  Rhovania: I'm sorry!
 
However, I learned a very valuable lesson. More Bodies do not increase group productivity in a linear fasion.  Given sufficiently large teams, the maximum net output  is aproximately 30% of what they could do individually. Go Team!   (Yes, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts; but only in special cases.  After that you had better just hire Rumpelstiltskin to spin Gold!)  After that experience, watching Managers try to do the same thing over and over during my software engineering career has been amusing.  (Don't you study this exact problem in school, Mr MBA?!?  Google: Handshake Problem, Triangular Numbers)  After this I decided I hated trying to Manage people.  (Trying to Manage a Computer Science project, especially as a Comparative Religions major, twice removed me from my chosen field of study; plus they were Volunteers.  I couldn't actually beat a dead horse.)
 
PS.  If anyone is curious about my style of thinking, or sense of humor; check out the following video.  It's not me; however she has a very similar process and thinking style as I do.  (Frequent Left & Right side of the brain hops; Literal to Symbolic, Numbers, Words, & Pictures)  If I was younger, I might think I was HEART Vi!!  :-*
Shem R-MUD-1 & 2
X-Admin Rhovania (1993-1995)
D.R.A&.G.O.N. Writer

Offline Shem (aka MadScientist)

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Re: High Level Design Series: Product Phase/Stages (& Internal Names)
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2012, 10:59:12 AM »
PPS.  Since I mentioned Rhovania and Staffing / Scale issues ...
 
The Data (my old tarballs) I have/had suggests:
  • Aproximately 170 (160 ~ 180, I can't double check at the moment) people, total,  volunteered, in one role or another, during the multi year "Rhovania" project.
  • My Dev Team grew from 3 (min, initial) to aprox a max of 45 (40 ~ 50) people; as measured by 'Currently Active' volunteer statistics at any given time.
  • Recruiting, Interviewing, & Training almost 200 Staff (Coders, Builders, and/or Beta Players) willing to put up with an incomplete & often broken MUD is a [#$]!  That ended up being MY primary job as Admin.
  • As an experiment, 4 people working with new/specialized (HLL/DSL) tools for two weeks accomplished both quantitative and qualitative better work than the entire project over 3 to 5 times that time period.  Team: 1x CS major (Coder), 1x Comparative Religions major (me, as Admin), & 2x English majors who enjoyed RP'ing (Builders), recruited specifically for this side experiment.  They had ZERO programming experience.)

In general, I went from happily organizing, designing, coding, and building to spending more, and more, (& !!MORE!!) of my time managing Builder, Developer, or beta Player interactions.  As I mentioned, my planned process/policies broke under the sheer relationship complexity (i.e. "Handshakes") weight about 3 times during that growth process (3 ==> 45).
 
For any NEW Admins, let this be a Lesson to you:  Plan wisely.  Consider all the costs (time/effort, financials, family).  Don't presume you will ever get direct help, this is Your Dream/Project.  The LPMUD Community (people, forums, existing example projects, etc) are already helping you.  MUDs are simplified MMORPGs; .i.e. HUGE PROJECTS.  (See http://forum.unity3d.com/threads/138870-Let-this-be-a-lesson-to-you-all-MMO-maker-quot-38-Studios-quot-broke-with-112-million-debt)
Shem R-MUD-1 & 2
X-Admin Rhovania (1993-1995)
D.R.A&.G.O.N. Writer

Offline Shem (aka MadScientist)

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Re: High Level Design Series: Product Phase/Stages (& Internal Names)
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2012, 11:09:23 AM »
ARG!  Important Typo.  /* I must be tired.  Small typo's OK, but this one I need to fix.*/
Quote
    8. MUD(R,7) - "Rhovania: the Smudged Mirror" [~???i] - Finally!  The VTT/RPG Game World I originally wanted ...

That SHOULD be:
  • MUD(R,7) - "Rohandara: the Smudged Mirror"  ... [snip] ...

Time for me to Step Away from the Keyboard.  Bleh!
 
 
Shem R-MUD-1 & 2
X-Admin Rhovania (1993-1995)
D.R.A&.G.O.N. Writer