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Are you looking at agile development?
BC: Absolutely, we’re strong in agile development. I personally have my own hybrid secret sauce, a mixture of agile development and a couple of other things. I have a lot of theories about what works and what doesn’t. A lot of that is all about empowering the team and strong developers from the bottom up to be able to make their decisions, rather than top down, heavy-handed management decisions that aren’t even connected to what the guys are doing on the ground floor level.
Where are you from, because there's a lot of proponents of scrum and agile development here in San Diego?
BC: We’re in Maynard, Massachusetts, and as a side note, that we’re based in Boston is very interesting, because I see Boston as the next major hub for a game development city. There are actually a ton of tiny developers out there -- there's us, there's Irrational [2K Boston], Turbine, Blue Fang, Harmonix, and then you’ve got MIT, who’s actually got a game development program and is churning out a ton of engineers.
There’s a huge amount of fresh young talent out there that are very familiar with a lot of these new things that, frankly, a lot of these old game developers aren’t used to.
Do you actually think that people coming out of these game development programs are good hires? Some people feel like they’re learning game development like how people learn SATs. They learn to take the test.
BC: It depends on the university. MIT’s program is great, Carnegie Mellon’s program is great…
RS: Harvard's program is great.
BC: You obviously have to look at the candidate and that goes down to your interviewing process and how you’re sorting people out, and if they have a formulaic approach versus if they’re just a smart person. That’s a tricky filter.
Will you be able to eliminate crunch times with what you’re doing?
BC: You have to have a strong commitment to how you are setting up that linkage between expectations of what you’re delivering and the timelines of how you’re delivering it with the team. I’m not going to make an embarrassing statement to say that, for example, we’re not going to hold people to a deadline. I think that any company, in terms of being responsible about what you’re doing, you have to stick to your deadline.
I think there’s a big difference, there’s a chasm of difference, between sticking to a deadline and your guys being responsible developers, and crunch time, where you’re driving people for months on end, working ridiculous hours. There’s a lot that can be done, both from an ethical, and a smart development perspective, to make sure we don’t fall into that hazard.