Games – casual mobile games, First person shooters, real time strategy, driving, flight and space flight simulations, you must have encountered some form of game in your childhoold and even career.
I’ve been a gamer for over two decades now. I’ve been in business and software universe for more than 16 years. And I’m always amazed at how similar and yes so far apart both worlds are when it comes to product development.
At UXSG Meetup #24, I proposed this topic ?How Games help us master skills like User Experience? and was pleasantly surprised to find a roomful of gamers who were curious and willing to share about their experiences.
In 2007, I came across one of the most unique gaming experiences called EVE Online. It’s known as a Single Shard Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) game set in space. With a full time job, I dropped off the famous EVE learning cliff fairly quickly !
In 2008, I came off a major project and failure after a disagreement with my client who was building the next great business networking platform (Yet another challenger to LinkedIn), I decided to take a break and stumbled back into EVE Online as the idea of a single shard sandbox looked like the perfect place for a developer to unwind and learn more about how serious internet spaceships could be.
The year spent in a corporation of fully distributed team members utilising Google Spreadsheets, Teamspeak and simple tracking tools showed that with purpose, even the most distinct personalities can come together on a weekly (almost daily) basis after work to create unique objects and become an industrial backbone of 1000+ strong alliance.
Thankfully, when a job opportunity came across my desk in 2008, I took on these lessons learnt towards working with the next few companies and learning many principles of how Agility can help organisations. User Experience design became an integral part of the process and finally Product Management.
In speaking with 15 of us at the roundtable discussion, a common thread was that it was very easy to recall a specific type of game one enjoyed to play and the memory of it even if it had been years since they played the game. Each of us had different personalities and types of game enjoyed from Space flight simulations to Role playing games. And each person liked the game ?they enjoyed for different reasons be it to solve a challenge or even be challenged!
We agreed that the learning progression of most games that could be distilled into three phases which could similarly be mapped into real life skills like those in User Experience Design.
aka Specialists / Professionals / Managers
Aka Senior / Lead / Head
|Skills we learn in game e.g. EVE Online||With multiple paths to choose from in EVE Online and 210+ skills. It would take 20 years and 473,344,000 skill points to fully be able to get to Level V in all skills.||Some games have a respawn feature but EVE Online treats it differently with the ability to learn different skills anytime you wish so that you can truly doing anything.||In EVE Online, this tends to be the role of Fleet commanders and Alliance leaders leading small group gangs to thousands of players in battle or industry.|
|Skills we pick up In the real world||User Experience alone (http://www.uxisnotui.com/) has a number of skills one could pick up and speciailise in and one must be careful to choose the right one.||With more fixed specialities, one can get shoed into certain roles and be unable to look beyond silos||Thought leadership and the time needed to lead others is a skill many don?t train for but are hurriedly push into|
|What?s available to help us in both games and real life||RTFM aka Read the manual which most people don?t do which I almost map to how Internet makes searching for answer quicker as a ?cheat guide?
In game skils that progress by time is like reading versus actually practicing in First Person shooters how to move and get a shot on target
Griefers who try to stop us from learning and get us out of the ?game?. This can map to real life projects that suck the soul out of you.
|Support Forums are like communities to ask more questions and even answer them to get better||Conferences (e.g. EVE Online has its annual conference in Iceland)
UX field has a number of conference all over the world and UXSG has its own in Singapore!
I ended the session by sharing more about the M-shaped personalities I?ve come to appreciate in teams I work with as we cross siloes and bridge conversations with different companies and departments. In the beginning most people started being really good at doing one thing but as the breadth of knowledge required to deliver products that users love increases, so does ones understanding and specialisations need to evolve. Racher Mercer describes this perfectly in her share of ?Future Workforce : M-Shaped is the new T-Shaped?
A great story to leave you with is the development of EVE Online?s first Keepstart Citadel which has a real world value of more than USD $15, 000 for an in game object. The team at Hard Knocks learnt to be an industrial powerhouse to be the first corporation to create this player object in the game which no doubt would be visited by many to challenge it?s prowess. Many of the players were not used to building and organising the materials needed but in light of their pursuit to be first in game to build this player object, they rallied together and learnt new ways of working together.?
Imagine how powerful this effect could be if we applied this to real life and constantly learnt new skills towards new visions and create new experiences. Instead of being that rare ?Unicorn?, a group of polymaths could have a greater impact in many different skills and subject areas.
- A great read from Peter Sena about his journey in Fallout 4 thttps://medium.com/@petesena/not-all-who-wander-are-lost-how-fallout-4-changed-how-i-think-about-career-development-c0e00d3817db#.3y14yhyd9
- Watch CCP Ghost?s take on the new player experience https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3pw2eE_2ZE#t=53m ?
- Or read about CCP Ghost here http://crossingzebras.com/new-developer-ccp-ghost-takes-the-helm-of-new-player-experience-innovation/
- Racher Mercer shares about ?Future Workforce : M-Shaped is the new T-Shaped? http://www.slideshare.net/rachelmercer/future-workforce-mshaped-is-the