This week I’ve traded my basement dwelling ways for the ridiculously sunny skies of Southern California, somewhere around Irvine, to work on-site at Red 5 Studios for some UI-related work. The last time I did any game development work in an environment like this was the year I spent at Electronic Arts Florida in the late 90s, but last year I’d also worked on a museum installation that used video game technology; thankfully this means I’m relatively familiarized with current 3D graphics rendering technologies. What’s most exciting is the chance to be immersed in the game development team environment again, because there are lots of smart, creative people doing intriguingly-difficult creative work. Dropping one’s self into such an environment and being productive is, in my mind, a heady challenge for my toolkit of interpersonal skills.
When I was a lot younger, I would have been preoccupied with fitting-in and demonstrating that I could do the work and have been nervous about it. Being older, my emphasis has shifted into a listening and observation mode with less of an emphasis on hitting immediate home runs; I know now from experience that it takes me a while to get a true handle on what’s going on, and so I’ve learned to wait for the big picture to build over time as I interact and produce things with the people in the team. It’s yet another way to practice do not hurry, do not wait.
I also was reminded by one of my oldest friends that I tend to be on the theoretical side when taking about user interface, and that it’s probably not necessary to communicate an entire theory accurately and completely; instead, it’s enough to IMPLY there’s a theory and then answer questions or provide concrete examples. I’m going to test this today and see how it goes, though the thought is so new to me I’m not sure exactly how I’m going to do this. But we’ll see :-)