A LucasArts Adventure in Programming

Did you ever think your life is similar to a game? Today, I recall a time in my career when I was living a LucasArts Adventure.

Last Updated: October 18th, 2017 • Business Lessons •
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Image of tentacle from Day of the Tentacle

Every developer I've met over the years seem to have their tales of horror and comedy throughout their careers.

Even I have a number of them.

It's amazing how you can look back on your career and a series of events can strike up a memory or something to trigger an association between two things.

My recent trigger was when I was watching the latest Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer.

When the LucasFilm logo came up, I remembered the LucasArts logo from the old style adventure games, like Full Throttle (intro still kicks butt...and yes, that's Mark Hamill as Ripberger), Day of the Tentacle, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Many, many years ago,I remembered a time when I was working on a project in a company (names withheld to protect the guilty) and I needed clarification on bullet points in a requirements document.

Looking back, this story I'm about to tell felt like a LucasArts adventure game.

What do I mean? Here's how it started.

I decided to head upstairs and talk to the business owner/stakeholder of the project. Now, imagine you are playing a game and controlling your side-scrolling 2D character to head upstairs to find their cube.

The person I was looking for was there. I asked Frank, "I need to get this API finished. Are you the person I talk to about the logic?"

Frank replies, "No, I need this question answered from Bob so I can finish the requirements."

So I went downstairs to talk to Bob. <Moving your character downstairs to find Bob>

"Bob, did you answer Frank regarding this requirement for the API?"

"No, I'm waiting on Jim for his research on the 'Bar' widget so I can finish the 'Foo' widget requirement for the API."

I walked over to Jim's desk. He wasn't there. It seems I had to wait a day before I could talk to Jim. The next day, I went back to Jim's desk.

"Jim, did you get your answer to the 'Bar' question?"

"Yeah, and I just finished coding it. I JUST checked it in."

Achievement Unlocked!

I walk back upstairs to talk to Bob.

"Bob, Jim said he checked it in and finished it."

"Great, I'll let you know when I get the 'Foo' requirement finished, but I need the 'Baz' question answered from Jeff."

Who is Jeff and where the hell is he at?

<Drop by the kitchen to look for clues as to who Jeff is>

You can see where this is going.

Projects are never point A to point B and task is completed. It's more like Point A to B, C, D, E, F, J, and back to Point G and H.

While we do have modern tools like email, instant messaging, and meetings to speed things up a bit (sometimes), there are companies who are still...shall we say...still behind the curve.

When I snapped out of it, I realized this particular experience was a "stranger than fiction" moment.

Do you have projects or moments like this when you can relate a game to your situation? Post your comments below and let's discuss.

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Picture of Jonathan Danylko

Jonathan Danylko is a freelance web architect and avid programmer who has been programming for over 20 years. He has developed various systems in numerous industries including e-commerce, biotechnology, real estate, health, insurance, and utility companies.

When asked what he likes to do in his spare time, he replies, "Programming."

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