Daniel Cook Profile picture
Chief Creative Officer: https://t.co/JK7GZkpwwL Blog: https://t.co/78di4pHa5R Game Design: Triple Town, Alphabear, Road Not Taken, Steambirds, Cozy Grove, etc
Benjamin Nossin Profile picture 1 added to My Authors
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
29 Dec 18
We started out with 1 currency in our F2P games (Triple Town, Steambirds Survival) and have switched over to multiple currencies.

Several reason for this (of which obfuscation is not one) (thread...)
1. Easier economy balancing. Each currency maps to a functional area of the game. If one area of the economy is imbalanced, you can tweak sources and sinks for that unique currency. And not imbalance other areas.
2. Better player goal setting. You want to clearly signal player goals and progress towards those goals. A specialized currency enables:
A. Players see thing they want
B. Grok currency needed
C. Do the activity to gets the currency.
D. See progress as currency accumulates.
Read 5 tweets
15 Nov 18
The poison of a social network is this:
- Humans invest social energy in reciprocal relationships, building future support.
- Time spent reading and liking tricks our brains into thinking we have support.
- But in most cases, when a crises arises, there is nothing there.
There's a cruel math.
- A human struggles to have ~150 meaningful relationships.
- When following someone with >150 connections, you've entered into a relationship blackhole.
- No matter how little you give, you are spending yourself on acts that will never give back. A drain.
In real life, to listen to someone involves signaling to them that you are listening. You can build relationship off such small loops of gaze and attention.

With social media, this channel withers. You may read avidly, but unlike gaze, the act is one way. Energy out, never in.
Read 4 tweets