Well, based on the emails I've received at least a few people are reading my blog. Unfortunately all of the emails have one theme...No, I can't get you on the beta testing list! <g> If and when we decide to solicit beta testers the place you will likely know about is on the official web site. Until then, sit tight, please.
Speaking of sitting, that's what I did a lot of this week. The team spent several days reviewing design documents for various aspects of the game. This is a normal part of software development, especially at Microsoft. The idea is that you express the many different ways a user would expect to experience a program as a way to discover how to build it. You consider their background, needs and experience level and try to encapsulate solving a problem they have. (And by "problem" I don't mean something bad--their problem might be "I want to drive a train and have fun doing it!") Doing this as a group--even with a fairly large group--enables people to ask question and make suggestions so that everyone comes to an understanding about what we ought to try to build. This is also an iterative process that narrows the focus as you go along. It was good to have many different perspectives, too. Team members can look at the same problem from different points of view and help contribute to a very complete picture of the experience. Cool stuff.