Posted on March 30, 2011
Hotel Room Chrysalis
As 8bitjeff awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic code de-bugger. He was laying on his soft, as it were, free food fattened belly and when he lifted his head a little he could see he was still housed in a ridiculously trendy hotel room, divided in two by a king-sized bed. He had been cocooned for two weeks in this tastefully decorated, Union Square, sleeping compartment, complete with far too expensive mini-bar, wide-screen tv, and 500 thread sheets. On top of the bed was his company-issued lap top, iPhone, and giant bag of dirty laundry. Along side these was a pile of jackets, t-shirts, and other company graft that he could hardly keep in position and was about to slide off completely. His accomplishments over the last two, which were pitifully thin compared to the rest of his peers, were housed in the new laptop behind military grade security.
Just 7 months before, he had toiled for the “company”. It was not a bad company, but certainly it was not going in the direction that 8bitjeff saw himself moving in. After 7 months of complete freedom, which included, in some cases, freedom from an income, he had chosen to enter the Chrysalis and be re-born. Inside he found hundreds of insanely dedicated, intelligent, and driven individuals, all with a common purpose. So vastly different was this new company from the “company” that it took him all 14 days to completely comprehend his decision. The chrysalis consisted of a repeated routine: From hotel (complete with Salvador Dali coffee table – I kid you not) then to the office by way of paid taxi service. Next came a grueling, but entertaining, 14 hours day fixing bugs in a game system that was vast in scope and rich with both peril and surprisingly elegant structure. Mixed in the 14 hours were free meals, free beer, and as many healthy snacks and soft drinks that he could possibly ply himself with. When the end of each day would come, he would cocoon himself back in that taxi, then back in the hotel for a few hours of rest then start the whole process over once again.
By end of the metamorphosis, rather than finding the situation exhausting, 8bitjeff felt a renewed sense of purpose and a kinship with the other 300 or so fellow dedicated individuals who also spent countless hours making sure the game system was both fun and wildly profitable. After leaving the cocoon, he met up with his brother, who was also part of the 14 day Chrysalis. As they left the building for the final time, they mourned leaving their new friends, the free meals and the warm, safety of the pupa, but were certain that they would visit and be nourished by the mother Chrysalis many times in the coming months.
Note: Steve and I have both taken on new employment in with a large gaming company. We both spent two weeks at the head quarters, learning as much about the game systems as possible. New developers are placed on a team that attempts to clear as many P1 and P2 bugs as they can. This forces the developer to quickly sink or swim by learning the system through reading docs and asking the right people the right questions. Now that the two weeks were up, we are now working remotely on game fixes and small feature updates. Our hope is to learn enough about the system to start kicking ass making new games and features as soon as we can.
Also, my sincere apologies to Kafka for lamely bastardizing the only parts of this book I remember.