• Cracking article on John Chowning, who invented FM synthesis whilst at Stanford, and the long road to it becoming a commercial and creative prospect. Interesting on the relationship of IP to universities, but also fascinating on Chowning himself – a composer and musician, not a mathematician, who developed one of the hardest-to-understand forms of synthesis simply as a way to push the palette of timbres he could compose with. Brilliant.
  • "Where does this go from here? DVD boxes that have screens on them, that are players too. Or perhaps simply projectors. Player and media combined as a single usage item. Experiments like this have been around for ages but are mainly novelty items. I think we need more of this silliness, relating to what I said recently about dreaming and being experimental. We need seemingly crazy ideas like stickers that are screens. That's how we create the new stuff, from the random throw-away ideas." More hopeful monsters.
  • "I would separate out the true independent developer vs. the hobbyist," says Fils-Aime. "We are absolutely reaching out to the independent developer. Where we've drawn the line is we are not looking to do business today with the garage developer. In our view, that’s not a business we want to pursue." Sustainable, maybe, but sad at the same time.

Robin Sloan drops some smart science:

Also: what’s a media inventor, anyway? Here’s my (totally made-up) definition: It’s somebody primarily interested in content who also experiments with new technology, new processes, and new formats. Allen Lane was a media inventor. Early bloggers were media inventors. Right now, the indie video game scene is full of media inventors.

Fundamentally, I think, a media inventor is someone who isn’t satisfied with the suite of formats that have been handed down to him by his culture (and economy). Novel, novella, short story; album, EP, single; RPG, RTS, FPS — a media inventor doesn’t like those choices. It turns out a media inventor feels compelled to make the content and the container.

  • "I see Valve Software today holding the same position in the overall media landscape that Marvel Comics occupied in the early-mid 1960s. In both cases, we have two experienced studios, neither the mainstream-recognized giants of their fields, who made an unusual decision: they chose to spend the creative capital gained from prior commercial success to quietly revolutionize their respective medium's dominant genres, rather than take the safer path of grinding out more derivative sameness."
  • Ben Zeigler's notes on Bunge's Jaime Griesemer's talk at GDC, all about balancing. Sample quotation: "It can be tricky to balance, because designers can misinterpret competence (getting good at a weapon) with the weapon being balanced. We CANNOT use our intuition at this stage because it will lie to us. Changes will have to be done in larger batches, and we need to avoid bias effects." Really, the whole thing is jampacked with interesting stuff (not all of which I agree with, but most of it is very good indeed).