What we can learn about Application Development from Destiny

OK, I’ll admit it, I’m a gamer. I actually did not start playing console games until my early 30’s when I got invited to a Halo party and was so bad that I didn’t get a kill the entire evening! Realizing that I would be a social outcast as a result of this my friends got together and bought me a used Xbox and the Halo game which I ended up training on for hours daily to gain console competence. Eventually I moved on, as most did, to Call of Duty and then found my still favorite FPS to date Battlefield 2. In the meantime I also logged thousands of hours on World-of-Warcraft and Guildwars.

Destiny Released

Given this past it should be no mystery that I was anxiously awaiting the release of Destiny (the supposedly groundbreaking release by Bungie, makers of Halo). The magnitude of my enthusiasm for the game’s potential unfortunately only amplified my annoyance at how poor an experience it has been and thus I felt compelled to vent constructively.

I think this review by SpazioGames sums it up well:

Destiny is not a revolution, not a masterpiece and it is not even a complete product. It’s a set of foundations, pretty solid and full of potential in truth, on which Bungie in the coming months could build wonders. But we must evaluate the product for what it is at present, and now Destiny is a repetitive game, with a disappointing PvP, and able to entertain only thanks to the ascertained efficacy of the shooting and RPG elements that compose it.

http://www.metacritic.com/game/playstation-4/destiny

Or this one titled,“Destiny: Broken dreams and false promises”

http://www.gamespot.com/destiny/user-reviews/2200-12609180/

Destiny Gamespot Review - 6 Fair

Overall, I would characterize Destiny as being highly polished both visually and in the fluidity of the gameplay, but overall just not really fun to play. This got me wondering how a huge game developer with a pretty much unlimited budget could produce something that is essentially not entertaining; while developers like Mojang can build stuff like Minecraft and gain worldwide cult status for a game that looks like it was built in the 1980’s.

The answer, of course, is that games are fun because of the mechanics of the game and not because they look great on the screen. Whether board games, sports or video games, all games share common principles that make them engaging.

  1. An element of chance or randomness that makes outcomes unpredictable
  2. Competition or challenges where input, skill or choices from the player impact outcomes in identifiable ways
  3. A clear system of meaningful rewards for success

I also began to wonder if the work we do at MCFTech might follow a similar set of principles for delivering high value solutions. I recall often informing clients that building software solutions is like building a house, we need a great foundation, solid frame and roof, and well-designed plumbing and wiring first, then we can paint it to look pretty later. We often have clients worrying about how a specific form or report is set up early in our process; and we have to remind them that, while important, those are things that are easy to change later in the process whereas the foundation has to be right from the start.

So, what are the keys to a great application??

  1. Information alignment with the business process so that data objects and relationships support the way the organization operates
  2. Efficient management of work activities required by the system
  3. Access to quantifiable metrics about the business and the process to drive decision making

Just like video games, business applications have to create real value for users or they won’t produce the outcomes desired.

Need help with your business processes or system applications? We can help you! Contact us today.

Govind Davis

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