EDA Sprint 0 is complete!

The number one question we get is, “What game are you working on? When I can play it?” The answer is, “Real soon now!” Heh.

"Talk is cheap. I go to a lot of gaming events, and people come up to me and say ‘I’ve got this great idea for a game’, and I’m like ‘Yeah, that’s great – I want to see your game.’"

Gamasutra – News – Tin Man Games’ Ben Britten: Why ‘Failure is Awesome’

Message received. We’ve driven the requirements spike. We’ve done lots of imaginary playthroughs of the first four “scenarios”. We’ve got the concept art. We have acquired all of the tools and all the toys to launch us into a successful Sprint 1. We’ve done the retrospective and will make some adjustments to our process for future sprints. Perhaps I’ll blog about those more in the future.

We are ready to roll!

Heads down, heads up?

It’s the end of week one of my “vacation”. Samia convinced me that instead of dragging the family on an unplanned road trip (the best kind!) for three weeks that I should instead take a practice run at being self-employed (again) – if I’m serious about making Glacier Peak a fulltime daylight gig some time in the next 463 days… Apparently writing the next number in the countdown on the bathroom mirror every morning isn’t enough. It’s not the first time she’s called my bluff. Heh.

After almost 20 years of being married to a wonderful career coach and business partner, I’ve learned that taking her advice is usually the wisest course of action. Every time I don’t, it winds up costing me money, blood, sweat and tears. But, I shan’t digress into my recent Toastmasters speech on the subject, but suffice to say, I’ve learnt my lesson.

I feel pretty good about the progress that I’ve made on the current project. (Sorry, no spoilers to share yet!) It feels pretty good to shut the [home] office door, fire up the tool chain and plug away at specific tasks when I haven’t already spent eight to 12 hours at the day job and then survived a krav maga training session. (A after year post-motorcycle misadventure surgery, the surgeon gave me the green light to get back on the sparring mat this month. He says that he’ll be ready when I show up with my next injury. What a cynic! Yes, my attention deficit disorder is very evident today.)

However, in order to validate my current business plan, I’m going to have to start keeping closer track of how much time each of the components take at a more granular level. The more that I practice, the better I get at modeling, painting, sound design, game logic scripting and level building, and the faster that I get at producing great output, but I really need to validate the pre-production, production and post-production time costs for the various assets in order to prove out the creative velocity that we’ll need to achieve the business plan’s predictions for success. Hrm.

In other news, I’m pretty excited to see that Autodesk dropped some PhysX support into 3ds Max with the most recent Subscription Advantage Pack. I plan to give it a work out next week and see how much time it can save me…

Teams or Stars?

When I have been a hiring manager in previous work lives, the question frequently came up: Is it better to hire a few rock stars (aka prima donnas) or a few more really competent people who know how to play well with others? In many software engineering circles, the conundrum is known as the Myth of the Heroic Programmer.

It’s always nice to see someone with quantitative research that backs up and validates the decisions that you’ve made in the past, and help to inform similar decisions that you’ll make in the future.

For the answer to that question, we don’t have to rely on hunches, or instincts, or a handful of individual cases. It turns out that some careful research has been done on this point. Data were gathered from a wide range of companies in an effort to settle the question of which is more important in generating superior performance: teamwork, or "stars?" The answer, hands down, turned out to be teamwork.

Caseplace: Teams, Not Stars, Are the Key to High Performance

Of course, if you can hire rock stars who are great team players, that’s the best of both worlds! However, in my experience, the personalities who gravitate toward building a “star brand” for themselves are generally the antithesis of team players. C’est la guerre.

I’m looking forward to growing Glacier Peak and adding quality team members to the mix, because there is nothing more satisfying than results that a small group of talented and highly motivated people can produce who are kicking ass, taking names and producing great products together.

Why?

It’s a great, though unspecific, question. Since I’m talking mostly to myself at this point, I’ll answer it a couple different ways (in case we forget later).

  • Why Glacier Peak? Because nobody else is creating the games that we know can change the world… for the better. The games that are missing defy labels like “serious games” or “learning games”. All games are serious, as far as we’re concerned! All games obviously involve learning. What’s missing is more! (The short movie, More, is better in IMAX, but buy the DVD anyway.)
  • Why now? While we’ve been operating in stealth mode since 2008 and have dreamed up quite a lot for ourselves to do, it’s time to march. As Seth Godin, Dave Ramsey, Howard Tayler and Scott Adams (among many other brilliant minds) have all clearly pointed out: ideas are inherently worthless – what matters is execution, delivery, shipped product. Blogging on a regular basis will keep us focused on these projects and accountable to the mysterious forces of the webernetz. After all, all y’all are our customers.
  • Why? Because.