Saturday, February 04, 2006

Adapting to Termite Life

Computers have made it possible to create products of incredible complexity in a very short time. What happens to our roles as team members working together making these thingamajigs? There are more people with more specialties for one thing. Each person, although having a smaller piece of the overall pie, has their hands full of important yet microscopic tasks to perform. Say it's a cartoon. In the old days, a few guys would dream up the story, design the characters, do the cells, print the movie and that's it. Now, someone's entire job would be to be in charge of the wrinkles on fabric. But the movie as a whole is a staggering tour de animation force. Even the big boys, the ones in suits, true, they make sweeping decisions that affect larger aspects of the project but their understanding of and contribution to the virtual organism is small. So, what if this "organism," the project, could be represented with a game interface, say, SimThingamajig or something like that, where anyone could not only gain entry into their job "hut" with all the tools they need to do their job, but zoom in and out of the project community to see their relationship to the project from different perspectives and to see the community humming along with the interaction actually representing the progress of the program? That's what we were talking about in the GamePipe Lab.

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