USING A GAMING MENTALITY TO APPROACH APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT: From Minesweeper to Minecraft, Pong to Pac-Man, Dig-Dug to Dungeons and Dragons; No matter what platform, era, or genre of game you find yourself enjoying, they all have commonalities that draw them together. Games have always been the ideal form of escapism, allowing players to escape their everyday lives even for a fleeting moment and encapsulate themselves in another world.
In this new world they are faced with problems separate from those they face everyday (or at least we hope you don’t have to face a pack of hungry wolves or have to solve a complex multistep puzzle in an ancient ruin on your way to work). With each new game players are forced to put their brains to the test to overcome whatever challenges stand in their way.
I have always been intrigued with games, playing Dungeons and Dragons and Magic: The Gathering since I was about five years old. They always provided me with mental challenges that I just couldn’t get any other way. I not only learned how to overcome the challenges these games provided me with, but I learned how to think.
Now that may seem confusing at first, but let me elaborate. Learning a singular skill for instance, “How to program a basic website” is an extremely good skill to have, but it is very granular, there is not much you can do with it if your knowledge stops there. The second you face a new problem that falls outside your knowledge base, your usefulness ceases. You must learn to be adaptable to any situation and figure out any issue thrown your way.
The reason I play games is not only to escape the “real world” but to continue to solve problems I have never seen before, and to continue to expand my knowledge base.
“Gaming my entire life and going to school for Game Programing, I have developed an incredible ability to think of every new problem I face as a game – your business included.”
I approach each and every Web Application I build for a client as a new game. It is a new set of challenges, new rules, and new goals, each laid out in front of me. Each industry takes place in its own world with its own conditional logic, terminology, and nuances that make that world unique. Looking at different clients and applications with this mentality allows me to approach each clients’ needs with a clean slate, open mind, or blank map that gets influenced by previous knowledge from other “games”.
Once presented with a new project, the game begins. I start by filling my quest log, itemizing every single task that needs to happen for the application. I fill it with main quests, required tasks for the application to function, and side quests, or tasks that would be nice and are very appealing but not crucial to the application. I then make sure I have all the necessary equipment, technologies required for the application, and set up my save points, which is my version tracking of all my code and testing environments. After that I start the sequence of completing my quests and turning them in, working on each individual task in my local environment and then pushing it to the live environment once completed.
Now this may seem like a silly or obscure way to look at application development, especially if you picture me walking into the office wearing a tabard and sporting some chainmail ready to confront the day’s dragons, but it is an incredibly beneficial way for me to approach each client/application. Not only does it provide me with an incredible way to keep myself motivated as I work, but it gives me a venue to get competitive with myself. It allows me to constantly push myself to not only provide you as the client the best possible product, but it also pushes me to do it in the most efficient and effective way.
I am always shooting for that high score, the best of the best, the new record, and with each quest complete, each new world conquered I get bigger and stronger and able to face new problems with even more experience.
I encourage you to try this out, make your career a game, push yourself to always improve, and GAME ON!
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