Hubbub has gone into hibernation.

From the trenches of project Maguro, part 3

Project Maguro is fin­ished and on this Mon­day, we’re doing a quick eval­u­a­tion. Enter­ing the war room pro­vides us with an inter­est­ing sen­sa­tion. It’s as if we can still smell the gun pow­der. Hear explo­sions faint­ly, in the dis­tance — but only when lis­ten­ing intent­ly. Sit­ting down, it feels like we’re expect­ed to start crunch­ing again. But all that is his­to­ry now. At the end of every­thing, what remains is for­mal­i­ties, food and fun.

It takes a while for the real­iza­tion to tru­ly sink in. The project that kept Kars, Karel, Alper, Simon and me busy dur­ing the ear­ly part of 2011 is done. It’s been deliv­ered to the client, as well as to the clien­t’s client. And all lay­ers of client seem to be hap­py. Which, in turn, makes us happy.

By the time you read this, our project has been revealed as being called Code 4. And the ‘large gov­ern­men­tal organ­i­sa­tion’ we made it for, turns out to be the Dutch Tax Admin­is­tra­tion. Cur­rent­ly the game’s had mul­ti­ple runs and should be caus­ing orga­ni­za­tion­al change like there’s no tomor­row, right now.

Asked by Kars how I feel about the project, the thoughts that pop up are not real­ly about Maguro — they’re about me, and about these oth­er guys. As a writer, free­lancer, web guy, I’m used to work­ing alone. Twit­ter, Face­book and e‑mail are my only con­tact with the out­side world. Projects seam­less­ly flow into one anoth­er. I don’t think about my process­es, they just hap­pen instinc­tive­ly. All that changes when you work in a team. Which took a while to adjust to — but I think I nailed it in the end.

And what a team it was. I guess it felt like being in a rock band because that’s what I asso­ciate with a bunch of smart, too-cool-for-school kids, each com­plete with their own incred­i­ble super pow­ers. (That’s a link to the first part in this series, which is wrapped up by this post. Be sure to also read the mid­dle episode. You know what they say about mid­dle episodes in trilogies.)

I then say some­thing about the game’s iter­a­tive devel­op­ment process, which revolved so fast that each pro­to­type felt more like a tram­po­line than the intend­ed qui­et moment of reflec­tion. It’s a mir­a­cle that in the end, the plan got togeth­er — which I love. Or maybe it’s just a lot of intel­li­gence, expe­ri­ence, hard work and per­se­ver­ance stacked togeth­er. In a box. With a ribbon.

We head out to Luce, where they serve great cock­tails and grap­pa, it turns out. The food is nice, too. An iPhone game called Coin Drop is dis­cussed, which I dis­miss as being a poor man’s Peg­gle, but end up spend­ing the next few days get­ting all of the game’s stars any­way. Next, we deter­mine that the idea that doing some­thing in real life is always bet­ter than doing it vir­tu­al­ly, is a decid­ed­ly calvin­is­tic way of see­ing things. After which we all agree that games are real­ly about learn­ing to learn.

Late at night, Karel starts draw­ing up two of the game con­cepts swirling around that enig­mat­ic mind of his. Nat­u­ral­ly, the end of project Maguro is the begin­ning of some­thing new.

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One Comment

  1. Posted July 6, 2011 at 10:47 | Permalink

    I am a uni­ver­si­ty teacher, and I have always been dis­sat­is­fied with the ‘pas­sive’ class­room teach­ing. Espe­cial­ly so for my entre­pre­neur­ship class­es. I am so hap­py to have come to your web­site and to know that out of class activ­i­ties are very much fea­si­ble and peo­ple are doing it. I will con­tin­ue to vis­it your web­sites to gain inspi­ra­tion, and to design games for my class. I can see that it is a very cre­ative process and I may need to get out of my com­fort zone (doing pow­er­point pre­sen­ta­tions etc!). But thanks for being such a huge source of excite­ment for me!.

    Best wish­es from Kuch­ing, Malaysia.