This week Turbine released a diagram detailing their development cycle.
“I hoped this would explain the cyclical nature of our development process (and in fact, of most game development, actually), why we know things when we know them, solicit feedback when we do, etc. Anyway, I hope this doodle is interesting and informative!” – source
“Making games is a surprising amount of work. And by that I mean that we game developers (and not just the LOTRO team) are constantly and perpetually surprised by how much work we’ve signed ourselves up for. It’s also iterative work with multiple dependencies. Although we might like to pretend that makings games involves a) making a plan and then b) executing it, this is basically never the case. As you can see (and hopefully read, if my handwriting isn’t utterly illegible), things like art and music can come in mid to late in the process, meaning that some of our work waits until fairly far down the line for us to discover whether it looks right, plays right, or sounds right.
Now we’re not complaining. We love our jobs! And we’ve grown pretty accustomed to the bumpy bits in the road. But there’s a particular pattern to the work and coordination involved–a pattern in roughly the shape of an ever-rolling wheel.” – source