Sunday, June 10, 2007

Ugly Child Syndrome

Ever heard the expression that ends with “…only a mother could love”? This applies especially to game development. I’ve worked on a few crappy games in the past (most were mercifully killed before release), but I never thought they were as bad from the team (or even studio) perspective as they really were. Our child was something only we could love.

It’s hard to tell a feature team that their child is ugly, but it is exactly what is needed. The sooner the team knows it, the easier it is to turn it around.

This is the value of having external (publisher or focus test) people who speak their minds play the sprint review build. Customers that see progress on a daily basis start to see beauty where the buyer wont.


Chad Austin said...

And if you bring new people every week in off the street to test X, the team responsible will become less emotionally attached to X, and more to whether the customer enjoys X or not.

Which is much healthier. :)

Clinton Keith said...

It does balance things a bit more.

This highlights the danger or relying too much on focus test results. Focus testing is great as a litmus test for things you are doing wrong, but it won't tell you what should be done. It won't replace customers.