The Game of Developing Games

There is a saying that work and play don’t go hand in hand. But what if I told you that all work is actually games in disguise. If you think about it, a project in development is in itself a type of performance, aka a type of play. By adding a few rules and some guidelines, the working process becomes an actual game in itself. A meta game in this case, since it’s a game about making games.

To start playing the meta game, you must first set it up. The setup can be though of as the Meta Meta Game; where the goal is to create the best Meta Game.

Meta Meta Game

Here is an example of my meta meta game

  • Set up a cause for your project or define what you like, enjoy or want to achieve.
  • Create a realistic long-term plan or a system that guarantees outcomes aligned with the defined cause.
  • Make it very clear when you can continue with the project and when it is Game Over. I strongly recommend setting this step up with other people who can check on you and your project.
  • Repeat these two steps indefinitely:
    • Play the meta game with check ups, to see if it works, and if there is room for improvement.
    • Change the rules of the meta game based on ideas and findings.

Meta Game

The core of my meta game is sustainability of my work and progress towards defined goals.

  • Sustainability by managing:
    • Health
    • Motivation
    • Resources
  • Progress
    • Of project/product by managing:
      • Research & Analytics
      • fulfilling objectives
      • Playtesting
    • Of skills by managing:
      • Experimentation / play time.
      • Research & Analytics
      • Kaizen – Documentation and performance measure.

 

I’m working on a more detailed draft of my meta game to give you better understanding and inspiration for when you set up your own meta game. I’ll post it here when it’s done.

The link will be —> here!


Thank you for reading! I hope what I’m doing in this blog is useful to you. If it isn’t, feel free to comment and maybe we can find a way to make things better. Otherwise if you liked it and you want to share it, do it. Carpe Diem, Emil

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A sense of purpose

Why do you do what you do? Why games?

I can’t stress enough how important this is to know.

Both for your own sanity, to have a form of direction and idea of what progress is.

Also for everyone else, for people, friends and family to understand  what and why you are doing what you are.

It’s even important for your audience, as no matter what you create, it will be most understood through a shared perspectives with it’s creator.

“I do it as practice”

Improved ability. I want to be better. At what?

  • Programming
  • Artistery
  • Musics
  • Communication
  • Story telling
  • Etc.

“I do it as Exploration, curiosity, novelty and learning”

  • Simulation beyond thought experiment – What would happen if …?
  • Generating things beyond imagination and expectation.
  • Finding and sharing that which no one have thought of.

 

This seems like explanations … but there still a bunch of unanswered questions:

Where are you going with this and why do you bother?

Making games is a means to to create and share meaning, experience and knowledge.

So what meaning, experience or knowledge do you seek? What of it do you not seek?

  • What makes you inspired?
  • What brings you a smile?
  • What leaves you in a state of awe?
  • What do you find beautiful?
  • What do you enjoy doing?

What does all these things have in common and where do you stand in this?

  • What’s your philosophy?
  • What are your values?
  • What character embodies those values, who are you?
  • What do you seek out in life?
  • What are your goals?

 

With a clear view on what you try to accomplish you get the ability to compare. You see the path you are on right now with your project but also the path you are on with your life. A visible direction on your moral or philosophical compass.

Finding a sustainable way to work alone

I’ve been struggling with starting.

I’m the master of exploring new things and abandoning projects.

But now I need to start looking back at everything I’ve been going through.

It seems to me I’ve had no clear direction, but mainly explored what interested me.

Simultaneously I don’t believe in clear direction. If I knew the end result and exactly what would happen then why bother recreating something I already have?

I’ve spent so much of my time looking up things to help me progress. So much as to leave me without doing much else. So much to also leave me without implementing what I’ve learned practically into my life.

Was that a good or a bad choice? I don’t know. All I know is that I have a bunch of thoughts and beliefs of how I should go forward. So I’ll try to make something with what I’ve got.

Only time will tell if it holds to reality.

Here’s a list of a few things I’ve struggled with in the past, which I intend to plan for and work with:

  • Dealing with anxiety
  • Dealing with fears
  • Dealing with health
  • Dealing with boredom
  • Dealing with motivation
  • Dealing with discipline Systematically.
  • Dealing with doubt in ability.
  • Just doing things and being fine with mediocre results.

 

This will do for now! I’ll expand this into multiple posts that eventually can be a guideline for indie game developers and other lonely workers.

Why “why?” is flawed.

When asked why, you have to choose a story and a context.

Why did I write this?

  • Because I’m frustrated about this word.
  • Because I want people to read my blog and understand me better?
  • Because neurons in my brain fired in a way that made my fingers dance over my keyboard which caused this blog post to be written.
  • Because I was motivated to do so.
  • Because it filled my mind and I want to get it out in a clear and understandable way for myself.
  • Because I want people to stop using  it in unhelpful ways.
  • Because I want to communicate better and I want people to understand each other.

The answer is not one. All of the statements might be valid, and yet when we ask why we usually want a definite answer. I can’t give you all reasons without creating an infinite list of these causalities. And to give you a truly accurate answer I must explain all  the history of what happened in this world since the start of time and existence itself.

When we ask why we really say: “Tell a convincing story. What made it happen?”

“Give me a satisfying answer”

So any answer to a why question will always be:

  • a constructed story
  • a simplification of reality
  • based on belief

Why would I use why then?

It can be used to make someone reflect and formalize their own reasoning.

It can be used to obtain indications of someone’s perspective.

What is a Black Box?

A Black Box is a system or process where all you see is:

  • Input – The things that affects the black box.
  • Output – The things that the black box produces or affects.Blackbox3D-withGraphs.png

This implies two things:

  • That you sometimes don’t know what happen within a system, even though you know what effects it produces.
  • That you sometimes don’t need to know how something works on the inside to interact with it on a meaningful level.

Whether used with intention or not, a black box symbolizes and represents hidden knowledge and the unmeasured parts of systems. Everything that is unmeasured or uncertain but happens anyways can thus be thought of as a Black Box.

Fundamentals of a process

Something that is changing is going through a process

Process - Alteration.png

 

The following are various forms of atomic processes:

Process - Storing.png

Storing

Putting an object inside another object or environment where it can not be altered by outside forces. (Usually for later use when needed.)

 

Process - Gather.png

Gather

Putting objects closer to each other or within a specific area

 

Process - Distribute.png

Distribute

Putting objects further away from each other or divided from one source and put into many other locations.

 

Process - Arrange.png

Arrange

Put objects according to a pattern.

 

Process - Assemble.png

Assemble

Connect elements to form a system.

 

Process - Disassemble.png

Disassemble

Isolate elements from a system, until it is not the same system.

Best free resources online to improve your writing

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