Common misunderstandings.
1. I talk about game design theory all day long at work.

Ha, no. Right now I'm planning out hair styles and how they tie into progression checkboxes.

Most of making games is grinding out the basics * people issues. Theory is a hobby.
2. I know people. And can connect you.

Ha, no. I spend most of my day in a tiny box staring a glowing box trying to make tinier boxes fit other boxes.

Yes, I talk with teammates about these boxes. But this is the opposite of networking. I don't even remember most names.
3. There is a magical secret community of game designers who talk about game design intelligently.

Ha, no. We try. And there are brief ephemeral moments where designers connect their mind-souls. Like iridescent mayflies mating.

But then we all have to go back to our boxes.

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More from @danctheduck

14 Feb
Every once in a while I return to an older essay to see if I still agree with Past Me. This is one on reaching broader audiences, multiplayer and how games achieve cultural significance.…
In the ensuing years, the market shifted rather decisively towards many of these trends.
- Multiplayer is now a dominant driver of revenue.
- Streamers market the emotion of gameplay
- Mobile and casual markets exploded with some games reaching hundreds of millions.
But as is the lesson with most technological shifts, it is a matter 'And', not 'Or'. We still have single players games. We still have traditional male markets. We still have niches who feels ignored by the broader culture.
Read 4 tweets
13 Feb
A great blindness of technologies is how easily they are coopted by systems of values.
The Internet, for example, is this wonderful bundle of connectivity technologies and standards.
But despite early marketing, there is nothing inherently about it that makes it Open. Or Free. Or Good.
These were true. Until they weren't. You can censor the internet. You can use it for evil. You can twist it to the needs of a specific regime.
Read 11 tweets
9 Feb
Scaling human systems beyond the natural constraints of how humans scale is almost always unethical.
Some natural human constraints that I've looked into seem to be:
- Number and strength of human relationships (Dunbar)
- Rate at which relationships and trust develops
You can't just 'friend' someone and make friends. That may work for a database. It does not work for human biology.
Read 9 tweets
30 Dec 20
The joke goes: An expert game designer is 20x more effective than a newbie. They are correct 20% of the time instead of 1%.

Why are game designers wrong 80% of the time? 🧵
Sometimes they are wrong by a little. Sometimes by a lot. Is it poor planning? Are they morons? An expert painter does not produce a completely broken picture 80% of the time. Why is this so hard?
I lay a lot of blame on the much larger gap between authoring a thing, experiencing the thing and revising.
- Many types of media (like drawing or painting) allow for real-time 'self-playtesting' with the author as the playtester.
- Game design does not.
Read 20 tweets
7 Jun 19
Read the Spirit AI interview on RPS with interest. It shows how hard it is to have a conversation about community moderation.

Three perspectives:
- Wronged user
- Moderator
- Social designer
1. User perspective: "I have been wronged/abused/etc. Mods should make it stop immediately. They are clearly in the wrong from a unarguable moral standpoint if they do not." Black and white, zero wiggle room.
2. Human mod perspective: "OMG, torrents of comments. Cold reality: It is very difficult to track all conversations, reports, etc. We do our best, but often even minor games would need lots of human bodies just to keep up with players 24/7. Budget is a thing too."
Read 16 tweets
8 Jan 19
Hello! I'm a game developer and today I turned 45. Some say this is older than the allowed max of 25. Still making games. Still excited about the future. (self-indulgent thready-thread)
All the accomplishments that I'm most proud of happened after 35. It took time to learn. And make contacts with matching souls. Turns out the average age of a successful entrepreneur is 45? Huh.
Before 35, the rest was learning. Often horribly accidental. 3-4 careers, marooned for years in cultural wastelands. But those side paths taught me critical life skills. Met my wife. Worth it.
Read 6 tweets

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