Week two of 2011 has started, and we had a great Monday. I've got a bunch of information to share, so here goes in a totally unstructured way:
We've written down major goals that we want to do for Minecraft release, and it looks like the release will happen sometime late this year. Hopefully we'll be able to set a date soon.
Because I want to avoid us just focusing on reaching release, I suggested that we should dedicate 50% of the development time in Minecraft towards adding fun new stuff. Basically, any developer working on the game (two people at the moment) can just come up with something they'd want to add on a day-to-day basis, as long as the rest of the team thinks it's a decent idea. If it ends up being fun, it gets added.
This 50% time has been accounted for in the time estimate above.
For development process, we've chosen some kind of variant of kanban where we keep a backlog for each project, and then extract user stories from those as needed. Developers pick a user story, work on it (and only that), and when it's tested and done, they move on to the next one. No time estimation is done per user story, which keeps the number of meetings needed to a minimum, but it could result in us missing a few deadlines here and there.
Each morning, we'll have a brief meeting with everyone from the company where we say what we did yesterday, and what we're going to do during the day. Other than that, we're going to try to keep the number of meetings down to a bare minimum. (Well, there's the Monday morning meetings.. I guess we COULD skip those, but I kind of like them. They get me started with the week!)
Minecraft is probably going to hit one million sales very soon. We have no idea how to celebrate that. It feels bizarre and amazing and huge, and I can't stop talking about it. One. Million. Copies. Sold. Wow! :D
We've got some carpenters and electricians and assorted handymen in the office. Today, they tore out the awful carpet and got rid of some shelves taking up too much space. They'll put in new floors, fix the wiring, paint the walls, install speakers and lamps, and sound absorbing panels in the ceiling, and the office is going to get pretty awesome.
The first quarter of the year is going to be pretty hectic for me, with first a two week trip with my family to celebrate my mother turning 60 at the end of this month. One month later, I'm going to the GDC in San Fransisco. Minecraft got nominated in three categories in the IGF!! There's a lot of people I want to meet there, and a lot of people have expressed interest in meeting me as well. In between those two trips, I will be working on Minecraft.
The new game that Jakob is working on is going fairly well, but we're still trying to snag a back end developer to help out with the game. We've got the basic theme down, and JunkBoy is working on the logo. We're hoping to get some kind of teaser information out in like a month.
For Minecraft, if you want to, you will be able to play the latest unstable nightly build. If you choose to, it will be installed parallel to the normal game, and it will be VERY buggy. But you'll also get access to the absolutely latest version of the game, way before we do any releases. We're also looking into putting up a Twitter bot that broadcasts all SVN commit comments, in case you're REALLY curious.
Oh, and I added cake today.
The Minecraft update is coming on Thursday. There's even a user story about that on the kanban board (anything that doesn't get added before that won't make it into the release).