Monday I spent mostly just getting things installed on my machine and learning how to use the tools. Yesterday and today I spent really digging into the codebase and grokking how it works. I still don't have a great handle on it, but I'm diving in-depth into a few pieces and have at least a shallow understanding of many more parts, including some of the underlying engine architecture. This has allowed me to actually start contributing on at least a basic design level for my first task. By tonight, I had worked it out enough and done sanity checks with other devs enough to ask for some art assets to test the new pieces, so this was a good step.
Tomorrow, I get to try my hand at a design document to put down in writing what I'm intending to implement. Would be nice if I knew what the boundaries were on what I can talk about here. I'll have to ask soon as I actually want to post some of the details (which are quite fascinating, imho) and gather feedback on the ideas.
So far, this really is a wonderful work environment for me. My manager rocks, my coworkers are very helpful and knowledgeable, my dev machine is a monster (a good thing), and my cube is about the best cube I could ask for (given that I have to have a cube rather than an office; it's a corporate culture thing - everyone here has cubes). I have a nice window cube overlooking the central lawn area and its a generally quiet, peaceful area of the building. Best of all, I have a really neat email address - maxis.com.
Anyway, I have my flight booked for the night of June 3rd to come back to Seattle for the weekend. I'll definitely be needing the break by then, I suspect. In the meantime, I'm having the time of my life digging into this job - it really is everything I'd hoped for in the game industry.