First day at the office

Wow, it’s amazing how spreadsheets can bring you back to reality.

Today I learned where the sacred form is. There was a stack of them in my office. Now I can requisition anything from toothpaste to all the computers we’ll need for the team. In fact I can request more forms with the form.

Today Stan Winston escorted me and Adit to the Simulations lab. I guess we work weekends. Abzu is a surprise behind every door. Down one flight of stairs and down yet another identical hall was a door labeled “simulations” (yes – in lower case). You open the door and zoom you are in a glass corporate office building, without the windows to the outside world. Rows of offices with glass walls, a cubicle farm that went on and on to the point of parody; this was going to be big.

“Welcome home,” Stan said with all honesty. I think I had just witnessed some kindness. I was allowed a few minutes of acclimating before the rest of the team showed up: Janice, Alice, Kaitlin, Erik, Chen, everyone.

In the middle of the cubicle farm there is a clearing and a sunken open space. Though there are meeting rooms, this is probably the only place large enough to hold all of us if there is a team wide meeting.

I introduced everyone to where we would be working and I showed them the sacred form from which all things derived. The assignment over the next couple of days was to fill out the forms for everything they needed. Each group was to get a meeting with me to go over their needs (and their forms) and I’d approve them. We were starting from scratch. Most of the cubicles had no chairs and none of the offices had desks (which made the chairs seem so lonely).

There were lots of questions I couldn’t answer, the most important being of course how we were to access the server farm or if there even was a server farm or were we to spec it out all over again. Other questions centered on how to get Alpha back up, did we have any access to earlier backups of the Alpha code with which to jump start this project. And of course, my favorite: What the hell was this project. I didn’t know that either.

I did have one piece of hardware though, and it held the only piece of information I had. Stan gave me a laptop with access to my corner of the Abzu grid. Nothing there except a meeting on my calendar for Thursday to discuss servers. Hopefully that will answer some of these questions.

The highlight of the day was the mess hall on the simulations floor. It was massive and had an Italian Market theme, and it was the first time we got to “mingle.” Yes, we got to mingle with other inhabitants of Abzu. In fact Stan instructed all of us as to the importance of this. This cela was the ultimate think tank, and information, thought, and retention only grows when it is expressed face to face.

A nice theory and the people I met seemed nice, but very reserved and cagey about what they were working on. It actually was pretty uncomfortable. Hopefully communication and sharing will gain with time (as will our access to other research areas). Maybe to increase mingling we should have a mixer. Deck out the mess hall with ribbons and mirror balls. Serve bad punch. Bring up the awkward another notch.

Stan’s the Man

Stan came into my office today, luckily after I shook myself awake. The request forms they used here have such a horrible layout that the brain wants to shut down in revolt. I assume this is purposeful as it probably cuts down on the amount of requests that are made.

He wanted to talk to me “in his office.” For some reason I had flashbacks of high school whispers of “ohhh he’s in trouble….”

Stan has an office in the simulations lab too, behind what I had thought was just door to an electrical closet was yet another hallway (seriously, how massive is this place?). The hall ended with another door that opened into a very roomy office. On one wall sat his desk with oak cabinets behind him. That scene would have been at home in any office park office building. Another wall however was all monitors, each monitor flipping through video feeds that seemed to cover the entire simulations lab floor. I’m sure Stan wanted me to see that both as a threat and a warning. We were watched. It was a given, but it was something else to see it in living black and white. Seriously it was black and white. This place seems to have no limit to its budget and scale and they can’t be bothered to spy on us in color?

But as spectacular as the wall of monitors was, the wall across from it was a wonder. I think it was a window (or an amazingly clean video monitor) to the server farm. But it was massive. They aren’t doing just a hundred or so tangents, they are doing thousands, tens of thousands. Server rack after server rack in a warehouse sized hole in the rock. We must be on the outer edge of Abzu because the server farm was sitting there surrounded by bare rock. It looked so fake honestly, like an underground factory from an old sci-fi film back when they used matte paintings instead of digital imagery.

Stan just wanted to reinforce the importance of this project, and how seriously “everyone” was taking this. It’s far beyond Greystle now.

I didn’t get to discuss what was of most interest to me: What “this” is. He just showed me his office and then pushed me out the door since he just “wanted to show me around a bit,” but that he had another meeting to go to.

Game night again tonight. It looks like we are using proper Abzu etiquette because our game is exactly where we left it. Adit would know if any piece had been moved.