The History of the Video Game Development Process

The modern software development process is sort of out in the open. Any sizeable project like a new version of Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop is discussed widely in technology forums and blogs. Although beta testers generally sign NDAs with companies, details or full copies of beta software leaks regularly.

Google’s Android OS is not quite Open Source, but will rely heavily on the Open Source contributions from the public. This past weekend an ARS Technica article about updates to Android acknowledged Google’s creation of a public bug tracking system as a “sign that Google is taking the needs of the Android third-party developer community more seriously.”

Clearly, expectation of visibility into today’s major software projects has increased with the growth of the web. But what about older software? Who is looking into the games and tools that we used on a daily basis 15 years ago?

Know Your Mario History

nintendo power glove is a hardware part of video game historyA new Download Squad article discusses the impending release of a historical documents related to Sega video game development between 1993 and 1994. It claims that a “large community of Sonic fans have been searching for prototypes and lost levels in the games for many years now.” Indeed, you can read the granular details.

The new article says that a community member is planning on releasing “an entire year’s backup of data from the Sega of America offices from 1993-1994.” The article calls the eagerness of the community to review the information as part of a post-modern archeology culture, where people examine the assembly-level code of these game ROMs. Continue reading The History of the Video Game Development Process

My First Database Refactoring

I spent a good portion of the day today refactoring the database used to power the Dave Matthews Band application I’ve been writing for Facebook.

I’ve been interested in writing for Facebook for some time because I believe that companies need to be expanding their online presence into applications built for major social networking platforms. It is easy to say that people should pay attention to things like OpenSocial or Facebook’s API, there have been plenty of articles about it. But nothing can convince you like building and running one yourself.

facebook application traffic statistics

My application began with only allowing users to choose a photo for their profile. Then I added the ability to select prior Dave Matthews Band shows. The problem came when people said they wanted to show their tour history further back than 2007.

I’ve been sourcing my data from the DMB Almanac, a site that I promote fairly heavily through the Weekly Davespeak’s front page and in the forums. I have a feeling I send them a good portion of traffic. Continue reading My First Database Refactoring