The director of mobile and online games at Blue Fang (Zoo Tycoon
), Eduardo Baraf, says that transitioning a developer from long development cycle packaged games to short projects for iPhone and Facebook is possible only in a flexible environment.
"Even though we were all under the same roof, each team had its own culture, identity, processes and even work hours. This independence and autonomy, more than anything, was critical to building the foundation of our group and preparing Blue Fang for the move to an online, mobile, and social world," writes Baraf, in Gamasutra's latest feature: From Two Years to Two Months: Transforming a Studio
Though the developer had shipped both popular PC (Zoo Tycoon
) and Wii (World of Zoo
) games -- and intends to keep that business rolling -- there was a recognition that today's landscape required more, which lead to the hire of Baraf to run its mobile/online division and directly to Facebook game Zoo Kingdom
and iPhone game Lion Pride
was developed in seven weeks; Zoo Kingdom
was targeted at Facebook in November 2009 and launched in February 2010.
"The key to delivering a high quality product in a limited amount of time is clearly defining the objectives of the project (this is not scope), dispersing this to the team, and having centralized decision making," writes Baraf. "Many people confuse project objectives with project scope. This is an important point. The objectives of a project are the concrete goals of development -- the target you shoot the arrow at. The scope of a project are the parameters of development, which must be flexible and change to ensure you hit the target."
To learn more, you can read the full feature, From Two Years to Two Months: Transforming a Studio
, which details more of the relevant process changes between large and small-scale, fast development for new platforms, and which features case studies of the development of Zoo Kingdom
and Lion Pride