Friday, May 26, 2017

Team Synergy

Synergy enables the emergence of something new. It makes the aggregated value to be more than the sum of its parts. Team synergy makes a team accomplish something much more than what the individuals could have accomplished if they only added up their works. The important reality about synergy is that it is not simply adding the parts and saving time when it comes to teamwork, something new needs to happen in the team and in a new level, something emerging.

I've wondered about this in teams quite a lot and where and when exactly it could happen in teams, as an example in a game development team. One interesting and important answer seems to be related to personality types. People have various personality types and during a long project, various personality types each can have their benefits and advantages, they can complement one another in order to have a creative, effective and efficient team.

Various personality types can be categorized in the broader topic of cognitive diversity in a team which while looks like a big challenge, it contains huge opportunities for a good functioning team. Other matters related to this type of diversity include different work cultural backgrounds or experiences.

I will try to write more about various personality types in game development teams and how they can be challenging or create opportunities if managed well.

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Alchemy of Teamwork

Thinking about teamwork and the ideal specifications for teams has turned to be my curiosity for a while now. I've always been part of various teams (at school, basketball teams, at work, ...) and you always feel some differences between teams and how they deliver results but I had never had a chance to delve into the subject in detail and try and analyze it.

The fact that something happens between the members of the team that makes them become a new whole, the synergy effect, is absolutely interesting. The magic in teams with normal players that lets them deliver much more than teams with stars has always been a beautiful phenomena for me.

Learning about the mysteries of teams and teamwork will have actual practical benefits these days too since our game development activities are all heavily team based and have got various challenges which require highly functioning and productive teams to tackle them. The fact that great products are made by great teams is extremely true for game development.

Looking at our past experiences, I can easily see when we were a good team and the types of results we've got. This is something that can be felt intuitively but my concern these days is to try and find out some details about what was exactly working in those teams and what wasn't at other times.

My aim is to write and summarize the various things that I study or think about in a few blog posts, hoping to integrate them in the near future and wishing to uncover part of the teamwork mysteries.

One very interesting book that I had read close to ten years ago was Herding Cats by Hank Rainwater. I read it when we were working on software development and this is a book about programming teams and how there are various personality types among programmers and how tough it is to manage them, therefore herding cats. I would get reminded about the paragraphs in the book when engaged in daily work with our team members, never knowing how it would all get insanely more challenging when we start game development. If programmers are varied and tough to deal with, adding artists and game designers to your pack will instantly make everything in that book seem like a very introductory tutorial to the chaos of dealing with the extremely different type of people gathered in one place called a game development studio.

My journey to explore the land of team mysteries has led me to reading quite a few books, various articles, thinking and talking to many people and most recently a plan to do some actual computer simulation about teams.

I will be writing about all of the above in the coming posts.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Slides Time

Slideshare has become very convenient and feature rich for some time now and I recently decided to upload a few of my past presentation slides on it so here is their new home:

http://www.slideshare.net/amirhfassihi

Monday, September 21, 2015

4 Decades

I have always had a special feeling about a 40 year old person. Partly due to having heard about the lives of people who revolutionarily changed when they hit 40, somewhere deep inside me has always been the belief that I will experience major changes when I get 40 years old. A belief which has always been mixed with excitement, joy and mystery. Wondering if anything will really happen and occasionally sensing doubts that it might all be part of the myths of life, somehow wanting to believe that there is some truth in it. Maybe because I just enjoy changes, maybe because I despise a routine deterministic life or maybe since I am hoping for an empowered self that magically happens at a point in time.

I should know the exact answer in 4 months from now when I turn 40. The good news is that I have already been feeling the change coming. The world is moving slower, phenomena are seen and understood better, mindset is changing, patterns are being seen in memories and they have found more meanings, balance is even more king, there are more "nows" in time and all in all it appears that the miracle of 40 might in fact not be stuck in the books. Can this be me shedding skin? I will embrace this new self with arms wide open! This new consciousness.

What enhances this euphoric feeling is that I still sense a childish joy inside for many joyous experiences from the past. The beginners excitement towards learning many things, doing many things and becoming many things is still there. Getting back to the ring with better gloves and still loving the fight!

Maybe it is my subconscious making all this up, maybe there is in fact a miracle of 40, but does it really matter? What matters is that I am feeling this miracle with my bones! Getting a chance to be more of yourself sure feels good.

Hello me, get ready to see the new me very soon!

"Life begins at forty." - W. B. Pitkin 
"The first forty years of life give us the text: the next thirty supply the commentary." - Arthur Schopenhauer
"We don't understand life any better at forty than at twenty, but we know it and admit it." - Jules Renard

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Shadow Blade: Reload Trailer

Here is the brand new trailer for Shadow Blade: Reload


Sunday, February 15, 2015

The final stretch for our first Kickstarter campaign

Under 4 days remains from our first Kickstarter campaign for Children of Morta:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/deadmage/children-of-morta

We have reached our first stretch goal so far, which is the PS4/Vita version. This has been a very exciting month and things have turned out to be great for the project. The team behind the game has been very passionate and worked together really well and they deserve a big success.

Looking forward to the remaining four days.


Friday, December 26, 2014

Competition is for Losers!

The "How to Start a Startup" series of lectures from Stanford University are quite interesting to watch and follow, however, the talk from Peter Thiel : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_0dVHMpJlo is quite in contrast with the other lectures and very thought provoking. Thiel is indeed a very interesting person.

The basis for that lecture is that if you are doing something where there is serious competition, then you are doing it wrong and it is best to pursue journeys where no one else is engaged in, in order to gain monopoly. It is s a very aggressive mindset for doing business and developing projects and ideas. He describes very well how our whole culture is fixed on cheering people to enter specific competitions and hope they succeed, which in reality a tiny fraction of them will and most will not. He believes the sole reason there is serious competition there means the odds for success are very low.
The whole startup hype these days is around the idea of Lean Startups and he is against the whole idea and believes that the best businesses show quantum leaps and not incremental improvements to existing ideas.