Commonality Between Engineering and Gaming: a Rant

I haven’t yet become a slave to blogging; but, I’m starting to feel the pull that cries compulsion. It’s been a week since my last post (excluding Valentine’s Day, which I’m claiming doesn’t count – not that I had particularly grandiose plans).

The last week witnessed a few half-assed attempts to work on the Regiment and another, good Thursday session of Apocalypse World. Results: a few more tweaks to the Regiment and an illustration of a tank, a few beers consumed MC’ing AW.

Rant Alert: you’ve been warned.

I don’t know what other occupations are like. I’ve always been an engineer, whether at heart or in practice. In engineering, we have Processes and Metrics. Processes are procedural things that you are supposed to do because they encourage a consistent approach to doing things. In theory, it’s a rational thing; in practice, it’s mostly bullshit. Invariably, someone (management) wants to know how well the Process works, so they make you collect Metrics. Metrics are measures of performance or effectiveness: usually things that are countable, like duckies and horsies; because, units like foot-pounds or dollars-you-pissed-away-collecting-metrics don’t resonate with people who have a mind for the consistent and the countable. Designing and implementing a Process or a Metric is a lot like GM’ing a campaign for a well-known, d20-based roleplaying game: there’s the rules lawyer, the power-gamer, the game hostage-taker, and the guy who either doesn’t show up or doesn’t have a clue what’s going on and always fucks up on his turn. The difference is, in this analogy, the GM typically works for one or more of the players, so the GM’s paycheck is tied to the continual suckfest of running that game on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis. Running the campaign for 30+ years is called a career.

Today was actually a good day at work…

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About Paul

Full time nerd, part time game designer. Creator of Undying and co-creator of the Regiment.
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