Sunday, April 10, 2011

Mythical Man-Month

One of the more interesting books that I read when I was in school was "The Mythical Man-Month" by Fred Brooks. This is the book that resulted in Brook's law, which is "Adding more programmers to an already late project will result in the project becoming even later." The point was that more people results in more overhead which results in diminishing returns so at some point adding more people to a project will actually increase the development time required to complete a project. Being a one and a half person team working part time, this isn't really an issue for me. What got me thinking about the book, however, was my looking into the indie development scene and noticing that small teams are becoming the standard.

It is interesting that in the early days of commercial game development (actually, pretty much all early software) was a single person working on the project. Slowly that changed to small teams. The team sizes began to grow, and now we have AAA commercial titles that cost hundreds of millions of dollars to create and have team sizes of hundreds of people. I don't think indie development will require that large of teams but I honestly never ever expected game teams to grow so large.

When you hear about a team putting together a game in 6 months, that is the time the team takes. If the team is 4 people, then a single person should be able to do the same thing in 2 years. But, that does not take the overhead into account. As I have the tendency to take on far larger projects than I should, this is actually scary to think about.

Still, I think watching a project evolve can be interesting and has the potential to improve the project if there is feedback so the larger projects I am working on will start to be posted to Blazing Games as sneak previews. Hopefully there will be more feedback than there was on my recent poll, but time will tell. If I find returning to a weekly release format is too much of a hindrance, I can always cut back to monthly or quarterly again.

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