Mysterious goings on in the night

Strange how the final stages of any software development project always seem to take place in the early hours of the morning!

When I was in college and writing Allegro I would study for my music course during the day, then code at night. I had no internet access in my dorm room, so my release process involved copying diffs from my dev machine to a floppy disk and cycling across town to the computer lab, where I would run a few final tests before uploading the new sources and sending out an annoucement email. The middle of the night was the only sensible time to do this, because the lab was too crowded and noisy during the day.

In my former job writing games we would typically be up all night before the big deadline, furiously fixing the final few bugs and applying the last layers of polish. At some point during the night we would kick off a build while playing the ceremonial fanfare from the opening of Mahler's Fifth, after which came the boring part: creating a DVD layout image, using WinRar to split this into manageable sized pieces, and waiting around while these uploaded to the publisher. I particularly remember one project where the upload was going unusually slowly and kept dropping the connection, so we had to sit around from midnight until 5 or 6 AM continually hitting "retry" and watching Spaced on the big screen in the company boardroom. Good times.

Last night we shipped XNA Game Studio Express. For the first time in my life I had the chance to stay in bed, because the product was already built, the bits were already uploaded, and other people were responsible for sending out the announcements. That just felt wrong, though, so here I was in the office at 2 AM, ready to kick off the traditional Mahler as the clock rolled over and the product went live.

Here is Michael buying the first ever Creators Club subscription:


And now here we are today. The day after shipping is a strange one indeed. The features that you loved and laboured over and worried about and dreamed of are finally out of your hands, gone off into the world where you can no longer take care of them. If all goes well they will flourish out there, growing up into something bigger and no doubt stranger than we could ever have imagined.

It is up to you guys now...

Comments (5)

  1. spinjax says:

    I’m glad you put all the effort into releasing those original Allegro releases, they provided many hours of enjoyment.. and helped me justify not sleeping. =)

    Until seven months ago I actually used DJGPP for part of my job!

  2. Gary Liddon says:

    Awesome stuff Shawn 🙂

    Congrats and all that

  3. ShawnHargreaves says:

    Hey Gaz, long time no see!

  4. Okay it’s been a while since I blogged on my personal blog. So I present to you my "wrap-up" post for

  5. Okay it’s been a while since I blogged on my personal blog. So I present to you my "wrap-up" post for the last two weeks, sorry that it’s compressed and bounces around but time flew by too quickly to keep up! We released XNA Game Studio Express!

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