I wrote a new piece on TSR's internal process of making modules that the traces the evolution of one Expert-series product from its conception in 1982 to publication in 1984. It turns out the development process could be a bit of a quagmire - maybe even nine hells worth of development.
Interesting article. That sort of process heavy system doesn't seem unusual to me. It may be a symptom of distrustful management, or maybe a reflection of the old heavy manufacturing mindset that still shackles creative work in many companies. The cost of production for a printed module was high enough to make managers put up barriers so only those most likely to turn a high profit could survive. I suspect a far greater volume of high quality products could be released today with print on demand.
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