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A look back on 2013

Wow, 2014. It's been a crazy year in hindsight, but I can't believe what's been produced by the team. I was told about the Whiskey acquisition (1 week after I started my new job!!) in May 2012 and then met with @snide to start hashing out details. Over the course of the next 16 months, we launched Giant Bomb (February 2013), Comic Vine (April 2013), and then GameSpot (October 2013) and onGamers (October 2013).

Wrong Phoenix, but close enough!
Wrong Phoenix, but close enough!

All told, we've written about 800k lines of code in our Phoenix framework and then an additional 90k lines in Giant Bomb and 140k in Comic Vine (deeper wiki structure is the majority of the difference there). GameSpot deviated the most with 200k lines of code added to the source repository.

Dragons! Beta! Dragons!
Dragons! Beta! Dragons!

The amount of top men who've worked on the rebuild has also gone up and down. The initial rebuild started with 3 engineers (@idbloc and @sdornan) working with Dave and @alexisg to settle the framework. We slowly grew the team to 7 engineers by September (@rchen, @tatsh, @ltsquigs, @tsubomi joined the effort) but still missed our first milestone by quite a bit (seaserpent was supposed to launch that month, NOT!).

By December 2012, we had some momentum, especially with the launch of the seaserpent (the sigh of relief at launching a beta was huge for morale among the team). We pushed forward with more engineers joining the effort (@waterlovinguy, @frobie) to launch GB in February. Comic Vine followed 2 months later and we were given a month of "rest" before jumping onto GameSpot which then launched 6 months later.

Website Under Construction
Website Under Construction

Unfortunately, due to the size of the GameSpot rebuild, we were forced to branch off Phoenix and leave Giant Bomb on a side branch for the last 6 months to maintain stability. Fortunately, the remerge is finishing up and we should be merging everything back in next week. This will provide a new and better video player that has been rewritten from the ground up (it has already been tested on some of the chats last month) , performance tweaks to activities and notifications, and a foundation for us to bring back features and decrease tech debt across the board.

The incredible thing is that the engineering team has never grown past 12 top men working on the sites. Most of them have been faceless, periodically popping up in chat or forums to deal with issues. Some have left (@sdornan, @idbloc, @rchen, @tatsh, and now @ltsquigs) to move on to bigger things and roles, but not before leaving their mark on the framework and the site.

2014 will be a growing year for us, both for new features as well as in head count. The specter of the rebuilds is gone (it's actually amazing to look back at how much has been accomplished) and now we can look forward to working on new features (including integration with the new consoles!). To do this, we need more top men, so if you're interested in working on some of the best gaming (and comic) sites out there, playing with new and scary tech, breaking stuff, and chilling with some great guys (both top men and the communities on the sites), send me an email at danny dot

Happy 2014, this year will be fun!