Friday, January 31, 2020

Tactics for Playing Beat Sabre and for Project Management

I got an Oculus Quest Virtual Reality Headset for Christmas (everyone in the house gets to use it though), and also purchased Beat Sabre.  If you aren't familiar with the game, it's a like combining a dance-off machine with a light saber.  Instead of dance moves though, you have to cut colored blocks out of the sky to popular tunes.  I do OK with it, and it's a great cardio workout.  I've developed a number of different tactics while playing the game, and as I was enumerating them (while playing the other day), I realized that many of them are also applicable to any software development or standards project.
  • Switch tactics often
    Of all the tactics that I list, this is the only one that doesn't have an opposite on the list.  That's because no single tactic serves to improve your game to the utmost.  You have to switch tactics to deal with what is happening now, or what might be coming up soon, and you have to learn to recognize which tactics work in each situation.
  • Look ahead
    No matter what you are doing, if you aren't prepared for what's coming next, you can get overwhelmed.  Pay attention to what's past your immediate event horizon so that you can be ready for it.  You don't have to continuously monitor this, but you should do it periodically.
  • Stay focused on what is in front of you
    Pay attention to the next thing, and the thing after that.  If you can do this well, you'll keep moving forward.
  • Stay forward
    Get out in front, stay as far ahead in the space as you can, because it will give you more time to react appropriately, and you can often knock things out of your way before you absolutely have to deal with them later.
  • Step back
    When things start coming at you hot and heavy and fast, step back a bit while you deal with them to give yourself more time to respond. While this is the opposite of stay forward, you can never step back if you didn't start in a forward position.
  • Don't think
    You've got this, even if it looks difficult.  You've trained for this, you've played this game more than a few times, let your instincts work. Overthinking can slow you down, and that can result in "Game Over" (see also Go fast).  
  • Think
    OK, so maybe you are stuck somewhere, or a particular thing you are working on, just isn't working for you. Think about what is happening, and where you are failing. Look at the situation carefully (see also Go slow).
  • Go fast
    When you practice, put the pressure on, even if you don't have to. You'll train yourself to deal with the things that are the most important, and eventually learn the way to do things more efficiently and effectively.
  • Go slow
    When you get to a difficult section, slow it down, and pay attention to what you are doing. If you get stuck on something, try to go at it at a slower pace, so you can think about what you are doing.
  • Stick with what works
    If you've got this part, keep doing it the same way, otherwise you are going to mess with your rhythm.
  • Try something different
    If you don't have it, try a different approach. You may need to move in a different direction than you have been for this part. Keep trying, eventually you will work it out.
  • Work hard
    The more you do, and the harder you work at it, the better you'll get.
  • Make it look easy
    When you do something, do it with the least energy possible to succeed well, and make it look easy and simple, even if it's devilishly hard.  I don't mean do a half-assed job, I mean nail it, but make it look and feel like you didn't have to do much to get it perfectly right.  This is perhaps the hardest to learn (you actually have to work hard to get there), but also one of the most beneficial.  Because if you can do something really hard, but make it feel like it was easy, then in fact ... it is easy ... at least for you.


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