Quelling The Rage: Carmack and Willits Speak Out
August 1, 2008 Page 5 of 5
How big is the team on this game? Approximately.
JC: Well, id now is up to 60 people and growing, because we're actively growing now, as we plan to move up a second team to do a Doom project. And, historically, we're still a tiny team; we've grown very slowly over the years; we've had very little attrition, and we usually bring on one or two people a year, but now we're hiring good people as fast as we can find them. We're only taking people that are great on here. It's tough, you can't just snap your fingers and say, "I want 30 hot-shot developers to drop what they're doing and jump on to our project."
But, internally, we have the Rage team now, which is... How many people are on Rage exclusively? It's easier to go the other way, and say we have the Quake Live team, which has six or eight people.
TW: Eight. About eight people, yeah.
JC: Eight people on there, with some contractors working on it. And we have the id Mobile team, which only has like six people or something, on that. So that means we've got 45-some-odd people on Rage, and then a few other people that are cross-support on different things.
And we expect to be growing - I don't expect that you'll see id at 100 people in the next several years... I don't think we'll get to 100 people in that time. We're looking, for the Doom project, we want to fill out, have 30 or 40 people that are Doom guys, and then we want to be able to migrate resources between the other teams as they start the normal pipelines that most developers are in, that id's really been sort-of a laggard in coming to, where you want to be able to have the previous team going, and starting the work on another one.
Because we have been very efficient like that, where we have the entire team come off of Doom 3 - now a lot of people go to try and help the partners, help with Quake Wars: Enemy Territory, porting on that, but still, you're kind of left with a chunk of people more or less twiddling their thumbs, because it's not the right time to power them onto the project, and that's hurt us in terms of the utilization, and we want to be able to do a better job with that in the future.
I almost dread to ask this, because it doesn't seem like the type of question that you would usually be into, but do you have any comments on what management structure you use, in terms of Scrum or agile, or anything like that?
TW: Well, for us, we have no real model. Sometimes we have Scrums, with the artists, we try to be agile as much as we possibly can, but it's really about talking to people, putting the best people on the projects, and staying on top of it.
JC: But I will say, specifically, that that has never been a strength of id Software for people to emulate! And we have a much better team, in a lot of ways, than we used to. We used to have a, just a deserved reputation, for having a bunch of prima donnas - talented prima donnas, but, you know...
TW: Don't point at me! (laughter)
JC: But we have, especially with this project - to some degree through Doom 3, but definitely throughout this project - we have a lot more mature developers, and a lot of it is just that as people get older, and they are more mature about the way they look at it. This is your career; this is what you do. And they're going to be disciplined about it.
But the growth of a dozen, or two dozen people up there, to 60-something people, there are growing pains there. But those are, again, tasks that we look at and say, "These are challenges; we don't have the right answers; we need to learn what the right answers are," and go into that as a learning experience. And we're getting better at a lot of things there, and we're pretty thankful that things have been as placid as they have been.
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