26 Jul Cockpits
The amount of variables and knobs to tweak varies enormously. There was one big takeaway for me: The number of variables you need, depends on the agility of the thing you’re trying to control. The captain of the cruise ship says the following:
“When we’re going into port, we typically push the chairs out of the way and stand up. It makes us more agile”. And how does he steer? “The port and starboard command chairs have built-in joysticks for controlling the ship,” Wright says. But those are typically operated by other officers. “Captains should be mentoring and teaching.”
Which is different from flying an airplane: The Boeing 787 has a 8- by 4-inch fold-down, heads-up displays (corner of each windshield) to let pilots do instrument scans without shifting their focus from the horizon.
What’s also nice is that in the more advanced ships, most of the trackable data is tracked. The most extreme case is the Blackbird: “If a pilot screwed up, we could download the tapes and say, ‘OK, buddy, here’s what you did wrong,’” says Rich Graham, a flight instructor and retired SR-71 pilot.
We are currently working on our own dashboard for our upcoming games, something which we will probably share with you in the near future. The beauty of these real-life examples really makes you look at a software dashboard in a different way.
So what do you think? What is the ideal team size for game development? Should you be delegating and coaching, or should you be at the steering wheel making turns and shifting gears? And equally important, what’s the ideal dashboard for that product you’ve launched? Which variables are you tracking? How many knobs do you need? Are those the right ones?