The video game Palworld, which seems to have become the new Minecraft as an unexpected runaway success, upended what the industry considered established wisdom. Doubly so did its development methodology which eschewed version control, homebrewed the gameplay, and used inexperienced developers.
Stories about the development team storing its files on buckets of flash drives, using an organic method of choosing a game engine, and refusing to follow conventional notions of what makes a successful game have shaken the community. These are disturbing because they point out that most of what developers do is not necessary.
What do we call things that are not necessary, but take up energy? Parasites, or at least, losses. They serve no function but require time, energy, and attention, all of which are zero-sum or limited in supply, which means that indulging the useless is a loss for the useful.
Your average development team is geared around the weakest performer on it. If he cannot figure out what to do, he will wreck something, so all of the tasks are divided and subdivided, which requires specifications and lengthy communications at each level, even though the parts of the final product rarely match up, requiring all-night fixes.
The people on these teams have made their careers by following procedures. They are not capable of analytical judgment; they are capable of going down a to-do list, matching the accepted method to each need, and then hammering out what they were taught in school while doing all the things like version control and project management theory.
Very few people can actually think. Most are limited to deductive thinking: give them principles, and they can trace what they are supposed to do. This is why people like simplistic open-ended principles like “equality,” because this lets them orient themselves despite having no ability to reason out what they should be doing.
Those who make the great advances tend to be thinkers. They can code up a game in their bedroom and invent new ways of writing code, like John Carmack did with Doom. They can describe and implement a new type of game like the Palworld guys. They do not need to follow procedure; they invent their own.
However, humanity is dominated by the simplistic because it allows lots of people to participate, even if they should be doing something else instead. Make a mediocrity full of contradictions and you have created job security for the vast majority of people, so it will live on despite being less-than-optimal.
At the same time it penalizes creativity, productivity, and realism. This stuff amounts to “red tape” and hoop jumping, and it drives away the creative. Instead the mediocrities gather, converge on an unthreatening standard, and ban any discussion of anything else.
The same is true of development teams, governments, church committees, rock bands, hunter-gatherers, and groups of friends. The group converges on what adapts to the group, and forgets that it needs to adapt to its environment in order to relevant, creating an inversion by making denial of what is forgotten the biggest goal it has.
Over time, it drifts farther from reality and further into its conformity, obedience, and time-wasting with procedure. People get promoted for doing the method, not achieving results. Those who break free are excluded. Then when someone does break free and do something great, everyone else is mystified by how they did it.