Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Play the Long Game

When playing any game you have the option of playing a finite game or infinite game. I'd like to talk a bit more on advantages of playing the long game.

When you play an infinite game, the thing you are working on doesn't have to work out. Not right away. You can do what is right vs. what is easy. You can make mistakes and learn from them. And since you can tolerate mistakes you can actually move faster. You no longer have to be perfect.You have time to experiment. To put things out there and listen. Being perfect can actually be limiting as it can prevent you from shipping and getting valuable feedback.

When you play the short game, you are limiting yourself. It's like an American football team in the 4th quarter, short of time and timeouts. You can't throw to the middle of the field for the risk of being tackled and losing time. You can't run the ball because you won't get down the field fast enough and you'll quickly chew up time. You really only have quick deep throws to the sideline. Sometimes you'll be far away from the end zone and only time for one play: the Hail Mary. You say your prayer and toss the ball up for grabs in the end zone, hoping it will work out.

For things that matter, you don't want to leave it up to a hail Mary. Everything, every little battle, the game within a game  is important. But losing or having setbacks in any of those doesn't kill the overall game. For the football team that means losing a game doesn't matter. They  can learn from the loss and get better. Good teams take losses well and learn from them, keeping their eye on winning  the championship that year. Great teams, dynasties, work towards building up their teams to be successful over decades.

For myself, wanting to be a successful indie developer, I am looking to build skills to be successful in the long run. It doesn't matter if the specific project that I am working on works out or not. There will be many of them. I just need to focus on the things that I can control. What matters is that I put myself in a position to play an infinite game. When that happens it "opens up the field" for me and I have room to experiment and grow. That'd the dream anyhow.