Thursday, March 22, 2007

Orcs And Elves

From John Carmack's blog:
O&E development was started high-end first with the low-end versions done afterwards. I should have known better (Anna was certainly suspicious), because it is always easier to add flashy features without introducing any negatives than it is to chop things out without damaging the core value of a game.
I think this is true of all development, not just games, and it's why adding a lot of flashy stuff up-front is a bad idea. Unfortunately, users often are much more impressed with the bells and whistles than with core functionality. Striking the right balance is one of the hardest things about software development. Agile approaches emphasize a vertical style of development - get it working end to end, then add more advanced capabilities, but it's often hard to do that with users often demanding cosmetic features that are not necessarily easy to implement and impose a debt load for ongoing development.

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