Wednesday 4 September 2013

A Movie, my D&D roots and software development

Just finished watching "Tad - The Lost Explorer".
Worth it btw... So go find it and watch it.

In any case...
There was a scene where the explorers reach a chamber.
With dozens of different coloured ropes hanging down.
They eventually picked the right one of course...
And the door opened and the movie continued.

I was reminded of my D&D roots back in the 70's.
I ran a dungeon.
A bad one.
An evil one.
A 'gotcha' one.
An 'oh... I'm dead.. Frack!' one.

One weekend I had a dozen or so people trying to navigate my dungeon.
They encountered a room.
With coloured ropes hanging down.
And a door on the other side with "нажмите сюда" on a button.

(For those that don't know any Cyrillic it *very* roughly means "press here" - I'm not a Russian speaker so I apologise in advance for any butchering of the language)

Here was a bunch of very smart people debating how to get across the room and open the door...

And did they debate?

Hell yeah.

For four weekends they investigated every rock, every crack, every sand grain at the entrance of the room.

I waited... Impatiently I might add...

On the fourth weekend, they had catalogued every rock, every crack, every sand grain...
They roped themselves together and formed a line across the room.
The one at the front (A guy who nearly had a heart attack doing it) strapped three spears together...
And with the air buzzing with protection spells, pressed the button.



The door opened.
The rest started the most excruciating process of getting each member, their donkeys, their supplies across that room.
They all made it.

Why? Because there was no trap...
They were inculcated with the idea that every move would be a deadly one.
My dungeons were death traps.
The slightest mis-step would end everyone.

That room.
They called it "The Room Of Sorrows."
Not that room.
I just put a simple room.
No traps.
No death.
No hidden issues.

I marvelled at their ingenuity at bypassing traps that weren't there.

They made it and congratulated each other.

And now, I look back and see how often a team of developers often does the same.
Not every issue is a "Room Of Sorrows."
You don't need to spend hours on some issues.

Sometimes you need to have the b***s to just barrel in and TRUST that you are frackin' smart enough and ugly enough to work out the issues as you take the path.

Pick a path.


Oh. And Push... Mustn't forget the push.

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