Hey-lo, the software industry on center stage

I can’t really get too far away from it without talking a little about Halo 3. I’m pretty sure most of you weren’t up watching live coverage of the Halo 3 launch last week for 4 1/2 hours on cable TV. My son Alex made sure I did. He was so excited he could hardly stand it. And as if by co-incidence, the next day our new XBOX 360 Elite and our copy of Halo 3 Legendary Edition, ordered from two different sources, arrived with in hours of each other. He was in heaven and we’ve been a Halo house since.

I was fascinated by it all, and not because of my fascination with Master Chief, whose helmet is on display in our family room (for now). It wasn’t partly because I couldn’t believe there would be 4 1/2 hours of live TV coverage of a video game launch (what the heck was that), or that people would be lined up for hours on end waiting for a copy when they could probably walk in later that afternoon and get one in 10 minutes.

No, it was because when you tear away the layers of marketing and packaging and 3D models and animation, you had a pretty sophisticated chunk of software. Whether it was coded in C++ or C#, I’m not sure. But it is code and the developers could have easily used the CDT to build it, although I’m pretty sure they used Visual Studio ;).

It’s hard to imagine what the programmers at Bungie were thinking that day. When you’re busy mucking with class definitions and for loops and trying out everything you can to squeeze out every bit of performance out of your latest algorithm, I’m sure you don’t consider that you’d have thousands of people camping out overnight waiting to get a copy. Hell, you’re probably sitting there sick that someone will run into some latent bug in that mess you made.

But there is no doubting how cool it is to be in this industry and to see the affects that software has on everyday people’s lives. Most of us get into it because we love the challenge of making computers do stuff. But whether you’re building the latest block buster video game, or the next generation C/C++ IDE, you are making a difference in the world.