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


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.

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


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


Putting objects closer to each other or within a specific area


Process - Distribute.png


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


Process - Arrange.png


Put objects according to a pattern.


Process - Assemble.png


Connect elements to form a system.


Process - Disassemble.png


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

Best free resources online to improve your writing

Proofreading, readability, spelling, grammar:

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Finding the right words and language





Documentation overflow

I have a problem.

I come up with ideas and thoughts that I want to recall and revisit. But if I do not write them down, I tend to lose them. It means I can lose unique viewpoints on things that I could otherwise foresee. I risk never having the same perspectives again.

So I document.

A lot.

I write it down the easiest way where ever I can:

This enables me to store and recover information. But it is not enough. I must still find the right notes in the right moment. I must find it when I need it and I need to easily navigate all information.

So far I have tried solving the problems with these methods:

Eliminating – Removing or rewriting the information that is no longer true or that lacks utility.

Tagging and labeling – Putting on labels, tags and keywords on notes to know what they are about. This enables me to find things without having to read the full text or it’s content.

Chunking – Finding commonalities between notes, such as concern, category or function. Then structuring the notes into documents structured by chapters.

Synthesis – Putting together notes with similar meaning and removing repeated content.

This has taken me from 1000s of notes to 100s of documents. But in doing so I lose specificity. Instead of one note for each idea, there is now one document for a cluster of ideas. (Separation of concern?)

What I am trying to do now is:

  1. Automating the above process. I still take notes the same way. This forces me to spend time and focus connecting notes to my bigger documents. I need to jot things down and continue with what I was doing without interrupting my flow. So I write on whatever material I have nearby.
    1. One solution is making me take notes more mindfully to remove the extra step of the process. But that introduces a delay between finding where to write and getting thoughts on paper.
      1. Use one platform. Keeping everything in the same place. I have too many places to look when searching for particular information.
      2. Limit the vocabulary / type of language to make it more generic and easier to search.
      3. Make my information more searchable. This helps me find the correlated information quicker.
      4. Train on merging it quickly and effectively with these notes.
      5. Simplifying the steps of the process enough so that I’m confident I want and can do in a way that doesn’t take up all my time.
      6. Create a Keyword map. Make a head document that acts as a mind map connecting the most important search words in one place.
  2. Making the bigger documents easy to read and navigate. Putting notes in bigger documents creates an unnatural linearity of the information. I’m thinking about using tagging systems to link information in a network structure. I’ve tried this before in Google Keep but stumbled upon multiple problems. Especially increased loading times.

I think my ideas and thoughts are useful so I’ll keep working on them. I aim to open up more and share more. Just need to organise it more!