Project management improvements
Before we released EVE in May this year, we had been developing it under what is referred to as Staged Delivery Approach, covered, for example, in Steve McConnell's excellent book Software Project Survival Guide. During the last months before release and the first months after release we were in the mode of fixing existing immediate bugs/usability and performance issues, so the last delivery, Gemini, dragged out.
The fact that we hadn’t split up the development tracks, into a current and a next stage, has made it a bit difficult for us to fix little bugs/usability issues. This has become even more evident now that we are preparing for the Techlevel II release.
We have now done the work required to split up development into 2 tracks (deliveries), Gemini and Castor. Gemini is the track that ended with build 1238, having that in a branch separate from Castor (Techlevel II), allows us to fix some of the more annoying issues with that track, without being interrupted with the much larger changes going on in Castor. We are now doing that and are in the process of testing the fixes, so expect a bug fix and usability patch this week (if you have favourite, minor, bugs/usability issues with 1238 then feel free to post them here and we’ll see about adding them to the next hot-fix patch to Gemini).
Castor as some of you might already know, includes the techlevel II manufacturing process, improved agent system and standing system, along with fractional support in market and continuous market seeding. We are nearing code freeze on Castor, when that commences parts of the development team will be moved to the next stage, Shiva, which includes Techlevel 3, player items in space and manufacturer-id tracking for manufacturer specific bonuses to equipment.
For the duration of the Castor code freeze we’ll be working on 3 branches, Gemini and hot fixes to that, testing the Castor code freezed branch and bug fixing only and commencing the development of the designs ready for Shiva. This might sound like a complex endeavour but it is really much simpler than what we have been dealing with for the passed months, which has been keeping, this all in a one branch. This is also a process we are familiar with as we developed EVE for under it for 2 years.
What does this mean for you? Well it should mean that simple short comings with the current build on TQ are much more quickly addressed and major improvements to the game are more tested and can include even more exciting things. We are also working on marketing material to advertise to you, the player, and to prospective buyers what each new stage brings.