Connecting the Dots

Middleware, middlemen and everything in-between.

Connecting the Dots

"It all started when Microsoft decided to build their technologies specifically with developers in mind. Mitchell says XNA came about when Microsoft realized the small-time developers, people new to development, were encountering 'the "country-club mentality." You sort of have to know someone to break in [to console development].'"

N. Evan Van Zelfden talks with Microsoft about XNA and the future of game development.

Connecting the Dots

"The reasons for changing the development model into a more distributed one are numerous. For one, he says, 'There are only so many great physics programmers in the world, so if every company tried to hire some of them, you would end up in a situation where you would have a few, but nobody would have a critical mass of, like, physics programmers.' In that case, it makes sense, in an industry-wide sense, to focus all those programmers on making a single great physics platform, rather than half a dozen good ones."

Shannon Drake talks to Remedy's Lasse Seppanen about Alan Wake, middleware and the perils (and joys) of distributed development.

Connecting the Dots

"You'd think this would encourage a marriage of architecture and gaming. In comparison to game engines, architectural packages need heavy hardware, aren't optimized for real-time walkthroughs, and cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. As the Fallingwater map shows, a good game engine can achieve many effects seen in the high-end packages, in real time. It also brings bonuses like weather effects, and it costs $50 or less. So why don't architects use game engines?

"Because, it seems, real architects laugh at game engines."

Allen Varney maps the rise of game engines as design tools - in and out of the game industry.

Connecting the Dots

"Two years ago, the word "scrum" started to buzz in game management circles, a buzz that in the interim has turned into a roar. Developers in producer positions are becoming Certified Scrum Masters (to the hefty tune of $1,200), a title that is now starting to show up in job headers at companies like BioWare.

"The industry focus point for the effectiveness of Scrum was the team at High Moon Studios. The two Scrum gurus were the studio's CTO, Clinton Keith, and then-Chief Architect Noel Llopis. Keith joined High Moon midway through its debut title's production, Darkwatch, and the studio was having a rough time. The introduction of Agile methods brought the game to ship, and High Moon has been a case study for Agile and Scrum ever since."

Erin Hoffman explains game development's new hotness, Scrum.

Connecting the Dots

"Starting with id in 1992 as an artist, Cloud has worked side-by-side with original artist Adrian Carmack on the original Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Quake and most of the installments of both blockbuster franchises since.

"These days however, as co-owner of the company that Doom built, Cloud has taken more of a management role, overseeing multiple cross-platform production teams hard at work on Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, coordinating with longtime id partner Raven on a sequel to Return to Castle Wolfenstein, and producing a new title they can't yet talk about. Small wonder he considers a chance to actually make art for a game 'relaxing.'"

Russ Pitts talks to id Software's Kevin Cloud.