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.

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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Text Classification


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!

Talking about my weaknesses

Things I need to deal with

Fear of exposure

Openly talk about myself, my feelings, my interests, my thoughts and my beliefs. Guess it is rooted in fear of being judged, Fear of not being liked, Performance anxiety,


Hard time expressing my thinking. I think a lot but it is not always easy to convey what I think to others. It’s partly because I like to think things trough and compare it to as much of the knowledge I already have before deciding what to do with information and it’s also that I enjoy listening to other people to get their full story and understanding their point of view. A lot of people’s deep thoughts are never heard if you don’t take the time to listen.

My expression problems are probably also related to my fear of exposure which I stated above that partly discourages me from interaction but also has a tendency to stress me up when interacting with people, especially people I find interesting and amazing, because I am like “This person is awesome, I don’t want to fuck things up.” Then I worry a lot.

Uneven “energy” distribution

I feel like I have periods of low energy and periods of high energy.
I’m not really aware if there are any consistent cycles. Like when or how or why or what it is that triggers it. Seems to be different in different situations. And also “energy” is a very vauge term. So I need to pinpoint exactly what I mean.

First I would describe it as partly a physical aspect. Like I actually feel less capable doing things, I feel tired or heavy in my body, I don’t think as clearly and I generally don’t seek doing things and prioritise sleeping or resting activities.

Sometimes it is combined with a sensation of stressed stomach, heartburn, lower temperature of and something a sensation of tingling in hands and feet.

Related feelings could be described as low and is usually in combination with sensations of stress.

Things that experience helps:

  • Sleeping and resting.
  • Calming music.
  • Long periods of stretching, yoga, meditation, etc.
  • Making sure to go out, get fresh air and some sunshine.
  • Slow stomach breathing.
  • Meditation.
  • Taking off time, doing something fun. (In my case, playing piano, drawing, starting a new project, learning something new, etc.)
  • running (Only helps sometimes).
  • Standing up! (Especially in regular intervals on days when I’m doing a lot of work sitting down)

What I’ll test in order to deal with this problem:

  • Planning for and implementing the things I experience helps.
  • Find ways of regularly measuring the phenomena over time.
  • Measuring what activities it is correlated with.
  • Being more specific about
    • Physical sensations
    • Feelings
    • Situations

Over scope!

I would call myself a pretty distant minded, I zone out and can usually be internally focused on ideas and dreams. Think about many things I could do and end up doing just a tiny bit of everything. I believe I learn a lot as I cross many ideas! But I don’t get a lot things implemented in my life right away.

I’m also really open to new ideas and a bit to easily convinced to jump onto projects I don’t really have time for, believing too much in my future ability and not considering the infinite spectrum of things that could go wrong.


I’m fairly unstructured in my thinking. I like to just zone out and let my mind wander between thoughts. I day dream a lot. There is not a lot of intensionality behind it when I do it, it more like just happens. (This is the main reason why I go by the domain as I think it describes my thinking.)

What I need to work on more is to be more attentive and structured in my thinking, in my documentation and in my actions to get some sort of throughput from internal world to the external world.

  • I need to do things with more specific intentions.
  • I need to stop starting over and start picking up  my own projects I believe in the most.

Knowledge navigation

I feel I have deep knowledge pools but for me it takes time to navigate between them. Basically memory navigation. I think deep about issues that I’m pondering in any given moment but it can be hard for my brain to go quickly between subjects.

I have a tendency to start over or repeat my work but with different words instead of embracing previous documented knowledge and iterating on it. I believe it is mainly caused by a sense that I need the information now and I don’t have the time to navigate and find my memories or documentations about it. Sometimes it is hard to identify if it is something I’ve pondered before, just that I’ve pondered it from another angle so I don’t recognise it.

This is both about my past self and other people. I somehow prefer dragging ideas out of my current conscious mind instead of just reading my notes and notes of others which in reality would have helped me better and faster. I guess I don’t want to rely on notes. I want to be able to be creative and generate information in the moment as opposed to just repeating some specific script.

Interestingly there seems to be a trade off for me between consistency and creativity. Both are very useful in different situations but I can’t really handle both at the same time.


Sticking with things and being strict about following them through is something I have trouble with. I know I am capable of finishing. But I need to take the time to consistently work until it sticks. I’m aware of my tendency to get back to sloppy work or old habits. Usually in situations where I believe I am under stress or pressure.

Being hyped to start but stopping when I feel tired. + not being strong or motivated enough to pick up on where I left off the day after. Basically addicted to starting over?

It goes through both big picture, like bigger projects and small picture like how I write.

Here is an example of how I wrote this post:

I have a vague idea of what it is that I want to write about and communicate. I come up with a lot of anecdotes but then I get lost in trying to describe it as a bigger picture in a structure where these anecdotes makes sense. Like how do I put them all in a coherent text that can be followed linearly and then be understood? I try categorising my anecdotes into some form of chapter structure? Like if they are all separate problems that you can deal with individually. Even though I know they are all big bundle of problems, more like a sphere like interconnected systems of elements that interact with each other in unique ways. Writing this document is like taking this sphere and just trying to find a way to flatten it out into a one dimensional sequence of words and characters. There is just no way you can simulate the bigger picture with linear text. Some things will be disjointed, so I’ll have to focus on the most important ones.

So part of it is about calming down and slowly observe what I am doing, focusing on what I believe is most important to see if it is really what I want in the long term, focusing on one habit at a time until I perform them naturally, consistently and without effort.

Keeping track of specific things. I can’t remember names well, I can be bad at remembering specific words for things. I remember general ideas and scopes and ranges of systems and processes more than I remember specific examples instances and happenings.

Maybe I should just leave this post incomplete just like it is, as I am starting to get tired. Which makes this blog an example itself of the problems I try to describe.

I might never pick this blog post up again to “finish” it. And maybe it’s incompleteness is what makes it perfect after all. (Too meta.)

I’ll continue identifying and trying to deal with weaknesses. Iterate on them one step at a time and building systems up slowly.