Carolyn Koh files her second report from the recent Online Game Developers conference. This time, she sat in on a talk with Scott Brown and Hermann Peterscheck from NetDevil, the company responsible for Auto Assault. In this talk, Brown and Peterscheck discuss their missteps while brining Auto Assault to market.
Day two of the ODGC saw me at the Auto Assault Post Mortem - a lecture presented by Scott Brown, the President of Net Devil and Hermann Peterscheck, the game's Producer, as they shared with conference attendees their missteps while brining Auto Assault to market.
"Want to make a great game?" asked Scott Brown, "Don't make a deal with milestones. There are better ways to do a game deal."
What Scott meant was that when it came to game design and delivering an MMOG, there are better measurables out there than milestones as contracted payment deliverables. Per the normal business models, a detailed time and progress schedule is tied to payment. However, with games development, planning out what you will be doing a year from now (or two, or three) is impossible beyond the most basic set of features. Without a dynamic and reasonably simple change process, developers will spend an enormous amount of time doing the wrong things at the wrong time or in the wrong order to meet the milestone schedule in order to be paid.
Most developers are unable to cover the costs of teams, in the event of missing a milestone. This puts incredible pressure on the publisher to pay for milestones they felt were not met, or cancel the project.
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