Today we begin the third day of the 2009 Summer Scripting Games. One thing has become clear to me as I have been reviewing hundreds of scripts, all of which are designed to do essentially the same thing, is that there is not a single way to accomplish a given task. When I designed the events for the 2009 Summer Scripting Games, I wrote “solutions” for each event. This was how I decided if an event was a beginner or an advanced event.
For problems that required a great amount of thought, or perhaps a great deal of code, I decided that was an advanced event. For problems that I solved quickly, or required a minimal amount of code, I labeled the event as a beginner event. This is, of course, a fool proof approach.
The reason is that we all approach problems in a different manner. Some of the advanced events have been solved quickly, and using a minimum amount of code. Why? Because the person writing the script used a different approach than the one I envisioned. Some of the beginner entries have been horribly convoluted and complex for exactly the same reason.
The one thing I believe I did right in crafting the events for this years Summer Scripting Games is I deliberately left the tasks a little vague (and in some cases really vague), I was able to do this because this year the games are not a competition, rather they are a show case. It has been extremely fulfilling to see how different people approach the same set of guidelines.
This is where collaboration comes into play. It is obvious that no single person has all the answers, or all the best approaches to a task. Clearly experience exposes one to a variety of disciplines, methodologies, and insights that can be gainfully employed in a judicious manner to craft novel approaches to mundane problems. However, the naivety of inexperience can likewise play a significant role when the simple question, “Why can’t we just …” is raised at the appropriate time in the planning process. Experience often rules approaches out of hand without serious consideration because such a solution has failed to meet our needs in the past. It is the gift of inexperience that allows for a fresh examination of previously tried and discarded approaches.
What would be cool for next years Scripting Games would be to have the events written way ahead of time, and to farm them out to a group of people and have them rate the event as beginner or advanced. Of course having 40 people work on a single project instead of a single person does not make the project go 40 times faster … it is not exactly like 40 times slower, it just seems that way.