in which we use qt3 to blog about our tech jobs

Oh trust me I am prepared, as are a lot of others on the US side. It’s already obvious a reckoning is coming, though based on my talk with the CEO and investor I’m pretty sure I’m safe (not that that’s necessarily a good thing). The investor talk was actually pretty interesting because I was able to give him a lot of info on the state of things that he was not getting (though the reasons why he wasn’t getting them are up for debate). It was less of him trying to convince me to his side and him trying to get an understanding of what’s going on at a technical level at the organization.

Well shit this is awkward.

Long story short everyone got hinted that the US team was going to be disbanded (but 3 month severance is being floated around by the VPE that just resigned based on his talks with the CEO, because the business knows it’s not our fault things went sour, it was an upper management issue). I got a call from the CEO saying that me and one of the other senior engineers will be the only ones not let go on Wednesday.

Ok fine, glad I still have a job because I"m respected by the CEO and investors. However, I was already going a bit stir crazy being a remote worker, as I love the day to day interaction I had when I was in an office. I was still doing OK with remote because I was constantly talking with people (both about work and non-work stuff) and I was working with people who were smarter than me which gave me a chance to grow. But if it’s only one other engineer I can even talk to during my day that’s going to make me stir crazy fast.

The real sucky part is that since I"m one of the few not in Boston (where US engineering was based) I was getting a crazy good salary compared to here. My network here in Orlando can probably get me a job somewhat quickly (although the time of year sucks), but for $50k+ less than I"m making now (not a trivial paycut). It’s also a much better market up there overall so they are all in better shape than me.

fun times…

Your past story smelled of that. Especially the CEO showing emails. “I mean, here is my hand, there is only one way to play this …”

Sorry to hear that, man. Also sorry because as a fellow IT doer, engineer, wearer of too many hats, EIEIO, you also know what’s coming. A full plate for you and your fellow survivee.

Here’s hoping the dust settles and you are in a good place, man.

Well it happened today. All my US coworkers were given notice that they were laid off with 3 months severance, so they are at least treating them well. On the US side there’s no only me and one other engineer (one I brought with me). I have a face to face with the CEO to make sure the past forward looks like it will be a good fit for me (and that “if I feel it will be a bad fit we will depart as friends”).

As sucky as it is I’ll probably stay. Besides the fact that I’m making a Boston salary in Orlando (with no state income tax to boot) I’ve shuffled around jobs enough to know that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side and at least I know what I’m in for going forward.

My entire college education.

Wow. At least the hammer blow was softened a bit by the severance, but it still sucks to lose a job right before Christmas. Sounds like Boston is the place to be for those let go though, so hopefully they all land on their feet by early next year.

My only advice to you given the position you’ve been put in now is to remember that it is far easier and less stressful to look for a job while you have a job (even one that makes you stir crazy). It sounds like the people in charge of your organization like and respect you, and will be leaning on you heavily for some time to come at least, which is great. It is good to be needed. It doesn’t mean you can’t keep an eye out for an attractive opportunity elsewhere though.

I can’t develop networked fucking applications if you keep fucking expiring tokens and shifting strategies and shit in order to conspire against me connecting to any applications on the fucking network.


Fine. I’ll WireMock my own server. With blackjack. And hookers.

Anyway, I gave my first technical presentation to my new team today, on upgrading our testing strategy and flows to something not slapped together by people who seem to have no desire to understand or implement automated testing of a codebase. It went really well, despite sleeping through my alarm and waking up an hour before starting the presentation.

I have been nervous about this all week, and it went swimmingly. Really as well as could be hoped for, got asked some good pertinent questions and had solid answers for them. Get thee behind me, impostor syndrome!

Not really about my job but I didn’t really want to start a new thread for this.

Was looking for a new side project and ended up writing a Chip8 interpreter:

Includes a step-by-step (and backwards) debugger. Now I’m contemplating the feasibility of making a small NES emulator.

lttp but this kind of shit enrages me. If you really want to piss off the company ask the following polite questions.

“Whose idea was this? Specifically, some single individual must be the root decision maker on this approach to development.”

“Are they a currently practicing programmer? Not used to be. Not a “qualified technical director”, do they actually program each day in their job today? If so can I meet her/him?”

If those answers do not satisfy you or they cannot produce the qualified individual responsible for all the bogus red tape, then I suggest its time to start eyeing the exit.

I had a bad experience in my the last semester of school. I got stuck in the (Trumpist) pothead group and they took charge and had no clue what they were doing. And the long-time industry guy-slash-professor did not really understand or care. It didn’t affect my grade but I didn’t learn anything like I might have. This really soured me on the IT industry.

Huh. I wonder how common a thing that is. Not the correct forum, I suppose.

MDo any of you feel like your team communications tools work really well? If so, what do you use? We are eyeball deep in Jira and Slack and Google Docs and Discourse and and about 10 other tools, yet have no consolidated documentation system, etc. Slack chats are so ephemeral that conversations are lost to the wind. Anybody use a Jira alternative that works better for the non-tech team members? It’s like we’ve tried all of these different tools while looking for a perfect solution and now we suck at all of them.

p.s. I work for a small game dev studio

We use Slack with dedicated group conversations per team and/or subteam, along with plenty of ad-hoc subject-matter conversations (which arise and get archived as needed, and can be found later easily enough). We have bots that support links to our ticketing system, etc. to make things work better.

It’s not as good as it could be – threaded discussions are terrible and the presence + live communication capabilities could be vastly improved. But it’s still better than anything else I’ve used so far.

I’ve used Basecamp at three places now, and it’s always worked well. It integrates with your Google Apps account so you can continue to use Docs for long content, file storage, etc.

Does it provide enough tracking detail for agile implementation processss?

Depends on your process. I’ve set up a project with a checklist for each sprint and a backlog. You could also just categorize the work however makes sense and use due dates and assignments to manage sprints. If you have to deal with people who are really into the optics of agile/scrum then you probably aren’t going to be able to sell it, though.

We are a game team of 5, we use slack & google docs. We might transition some tasks to basecamp at some point soon though, its getting more than a little fractured.

On the programming/design side (which is the same thing for us, we do not have any designers only programmer/designers) we tend to break up tasks by a single owner who also has creative control over the feature she/he is programming, so documentation is usually backward looking (ie: “here is how I wrote this” rather than forward looking “here is how I will write this”) which I find helps a lot.

On the other hand we also cheated, we only hire very senior engineers who have all been a lead on a major title or programmed an entire commercial game solo before. Not sure our approach would work with a larger or more mixed experience team.

We’re about 25-30 people. It’s exhausting to try to transition communication norms because regardless of the talent level or experience level of people, they seem to hate changes to non-game-dev processes. I’ve looked at dozens of other project management and communication tools and they all seem to be 80% solutions for the problems we face. I feel certain that another 80% solution simply would lead us to fracture our methods again. I guess the search will continue. I was looking at Nuclino the other day, which seems clever for everything except communications. In my mind, something like Nuclino plus an integrated email/slack/discourse feature would be great. I could see chat/discussion threads being attached to relevant objects/docs in the graph while also being viewable in separate channels, like in Slack, and also in an “all chat” channel, like Zulip does.

It’s a frustrating problem.