A space explorer in a dark blue spacesuit giving a thumbs-up.

Choose Your Own Deployment

I love the aha moment people get when they grasp a concept. It’s a lot of what gives me energy about this job. Being there to help people see how an abstract concept can make their concrete life better is amazingly rewarding.

Because of this, I try to change up all the parts of my talks, to make sure people feel like they’re going on a journey with me, ala Nancy Duarte in Resonate. I want you to feel like you’re on a trip with me, like we’re learning together, and exploring what interests you.

This game was born as a conference talk. It’s a longshot bet for a conference to accept a talk that has no set length, or pattern, that is entirely driven by audience participation, but several did, and I’m so grateful. The Toggle Game is an interactive exploration of how feature flagging can be used to make deployment safer and less of a big change.

Now I’ve taken the conference sketch and expanded it out into a playable game about an adorable space explorer, Toggle:

A space explorer in a dark blue spacesuit giving a thumbs-up.

The Toggle Game

I built it in Twine. I’m saving the deep details of that for an OpenSource.com article, but the experience was pretty straightforward and quite enjoyable. You can find the source at https://github.com/wiredferret/Toggle. I’ve left in all my flaily and cranky commit messages for your enjoyment, because I like it when I can see an arc in other people’s commit messages.

In case you don’t want to play the game yourself, I have a video of how the people at DevOpsDays Toronto played it.

Choose Your Own Deployment Adventure, DevOpsDays Toronto

Talk write-up: Choose Your Own Deployment

Yesterday, I was in Phoenix for their first DevOps Days.


The interesting thing about doing this talk in Twine instead of my beloved Google Slides was how much I had to learn to make it look anything like I wanted. There’s a lot of CSS and Twine-specific syntax. At first, it felt like I was wasting my time and being slow because I know other people know this better than me, but as the project went on, it was honestly delightful to learn something new and get my pages to look like I wanted. There was a lot of fist-pumping success in getting a font to work.

It’s still not perfect, and I need to do some pretty drastic revisions for version 2, but now I know which of the resources are most useful to me and I have a conceptual model that I didn’t have when I started, so I think it will be easier to learn the parts I still don’t have.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had to learn something that had immediate tangible results, instead of concepts and pitches and taking what I already know and distilling it down. It was good to do that, and I should remember to schedule it into my life sometimes.