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The latest issue of the 9th Scroll is here! You can read all about it in the news.

Our beta phase is finally over. Download The Ninth Age: Fantasy Battles, 2nd Edition now!

Von Shako,

With 2 LABs being in the process and another one announced (which means it's technically also in the process), I'd like to take a moment to (re-)introduce everyone to the LAB-Process.
We wish to inform you in which state which LAB is and every time they change a phase!


Abbreviations:
ACS = Army Community Support
ADT = Army Design Team,
BGT = Background Team,
LAB = Legendary Army Book (i.e. "full", with Art and background).
Legal = Legal Team,
PT = Play Test Team
RT = Rules Team,
TT = Task Team (LAB team)



-=-
Steps towards a LAB:


1. Preparation Phase
- The LAB team is built consisting of members 6-8 members between Army Community Support (ACS), Army Design Team (ADT), Background Team (BGT) and Rules Team (RT)
- The Background Team provides the LAB team with guidelines about the most important aspects of the background
[Important note: Background comes first, before the rules guidelines]
- The LAB team also receives from the Rules Team the general game guidelines as well as the faction specific guidelines. Those faction specific guidelines ensure overall consistency and direction of T9A.
- The guidelines are published and read by the community.
- Army Community Support & Rules Team collect the feedback from the community on needs and wants on a conceptual basis.


2. Conceptual Phase
- A task list is created and prioritized, so that each task in the same priority is worked simultaneously.
- A task could be the concept for a single unit entry “What should unit xyz feel like? What should it be capable of? How does it fit into the army?” to only name a couple of questions being asked here.
- These tasks take into account the Background Team written background, Rules Team expertise, Army Community Support surveys as well as Army Design Team advice. In short: the whole team works on every single task.
- Working with different priorities allows the team to focus on the most important stuff first, but doing several tasks within that priority order allows them to create an actual army book, not a collaboration of unit entries.
- The conceptual phase has several iterations, as changes to one thing can and will lead changes to another. At the end of each iteration the results are being reviewed by stakeholders (Background Team, Playtesters, Rules Team, Army Design Team, Art Team, Legal and all factions Army Community Supports).


3. Mechanical Phase
- A task list is created and prioritized yet on each task in the same priority the work begins simultaneously.
- A task could be the concept for a single unit entry, but where in the Conceptual Phase we had design questions, we're now getting into the mechanics. Actual rules and profiles are flying around! Boundaries of the guidelines are tested, crazy stuff is happening here
- Again, the team works together, after a priority list but within that category simultaneously on several tasks.
- The mechanical phase has several iterations, as changes to one thing can and will lead changes to another. At the end of each iteration the results are being reviewed by stakeholders (see Conceptual Phase)


4. Adjustment Phase (Internal Playtest)
- By the end of the mechanical phase the working document will be ready for the first games. Pricing is done by the LAB team at this point although stakeholders do raise awareness if they see something as too cheap or too expensive.
- A task list is created, about the Stakeholder concerns of the last iteration. Playtesters and LAB-Team playtest and adjust based on the feedback as well as on validation from Army Community Support.
- The adjustment phase has several iterations, as changes to one thing can and will lead changes to another. At the end of each iteration the results are being reviewed by stakeholders (see Conceptual or Mechanical Phase).


5. Public Playtesting Phase
- Pretty much like the adjustment phase, only that everybody is getting involved! We need as much playtest with and against the army as you can give us.
What do you like?
What you don't like?
What works?
Where are rules unclear?
What is underpowered?
What is overpowered?
And most importantly: what is FUN to play with/against?
- I assure you, all your feedback will be gathered by the Army Community Support (which does not translate to: "if I say something it will be changed").
- Based on the inputs from the Army Community Support, on your public playtest data and further Rules Team checks, the design will be adjusted by the LAB team and the prices adjusted by the Rules Team.
- The public playtesting phase has several iterations, as changes to one thing can and will lead changes to another. At the end of each iteration the results are being reviewed by stakeholders (see the Phases before ;) ).



This is not the full detail on how exactly everything is done, but should give you a good idea on what exactly we are doing, specially if we inform you about changes in phases.


-=-

Now for those of you wondering..the work for ID began early last year, we are one year later..does every LAB from now on take 1 year? How long will it take before all LABs are done?

I'd like to remind you that this process was newly created, and in particular the autonomy the LAB-TEam has now was unheard of, so we had to adjust a bit to this new way of doing our business. ID was the first LAB to follow this process. We learned a lot from it! We also will have more than one Task Team at a given time, meaning we can simultaneously work on multiple LABs. Our goal is to reach 4 LABs per year once we're fully familiar with this process and know which blockages could happen and how to circumvent them .

Finally, at the end of the process described above, it is not fully ready for the definitive release. Before the full LAB in all its pages and colour is available on our download site for your pleasure, it has to go through Layout where rules, intriguing background stories as well as amazing art is put together in a single file.



So where do the current LABs stand?
ID is currently in the adjustment phase and undergoing playtesting.
DE is well within the mechanical phase and nearing the adjustment phase.
VS is in the preparation phase, the guidelines are getting finished and will be published for their review by you, the community.


If you have any further questions:
Here is the thread in the forum for it.
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