I think everyone who had anything to do with modelling came across an innocent colleague/supervisor/another academic enthusiastically exclaiming:
“Well, isn’t this a great topic for a simulation? Why don’t we put it together – you do the coding and I’ll take care of the rest. It will be done and dusted in two weeks!”
“Sure! I routinely build well-informed and properly tested simulations in less than two weeks.” – answered no one, ever.
Building a simulation can be a long and frustrating process with unwelcome surprises popping out at every corner. Recently I summarised the 9 phases of developing a model and the most common pitfalls in an paper published in Human Biology: ‘So You Think You Can Model? A Guide to Building and Evaluating Archaeological Simulation Models of Dispersals‘. It is an entirely jargon free overview of the simulation pipeline, predominantly aimed at anyone who want to start building their own archaeological simulation but does not know what does the process entail. It will be equally useful to non-modellers, who want to learn more about the technique before they start trusting the results we throw at them. And, I hope, it may inspire more realistic time management for simulation projects 🙂
You can access the preprint of it here. It is not as nicely typeset as the published version but, hey!, it is open access.