Wonderful writing from Kate Wagner, on Primož Roglič, and cycling, and the arcs of careers, and change.
"… believing, Elbow says, is a separate muscle entirely, a willed and practiced capacity to assume some idea in a text, or some possible technical choice, or some inkling held before a group, is worth considering as if it were full of truth, for a set amount of time. It’s not just the “yes, and” approach that improv-style brainstorming is famous for. Believing is granting some interpretation of what’s at hand a provisional but deep sense of rightness. For a set amount of time. For that time—for the length of the believing game—your whole self is devoted to this idea, to see if the space and breathing room you give it helps you to see it in its full possibility."
Sara Hendren on the Beliving and Doubting games; reminds me a bit of critical reading, where – for the duration of an essay – you work to believe it as truth, and only outside the bounds of it do you then start to interrogate it.
"As I have grown as a person and as a maker-of-things, that question has come back to me again and again. I have learned how and when to stop talking and start doing. To other more-talker sorts of people, that can look like a magic trick. I have better learned to recognize when someone is frustrated by communicating-in-words about a plan instead of performing the plan. These are learnable skills; and I have seen that there are commensurate skills that have to be hard-won for doers.
Instead of an accusation or a challenge, it’s become a gentle reminder: you’re more of a talker than a doer. Keep an eye on it."
Writing from Sam Bleckley on talking, making, thinking, and doing. Moving from one state to the other, and back again. This struck a chord.
Good notes on the value of interaction in data visualisation. I particularly like the emphasis on interaction as 'plussing', rather than a requirement.
Nice-looking CSS framework; I like that it's at least a little bit semantic, as oppose to the mess that is Tailwind. (For a bunch of what I do, shortcuts like this are handy).
I like reading Robert Yang write about games. In particular, I like how he separates out "lessons learned" from analysis – the two can exist independently – and I enjoyed seeing him point out when you coudl "probably stop" playing a thing. Completion is sometimes overrated.
I always love developers showing their working, and none more so than Valve. Here are ten dense minutes on the teleportation mechanics in Half-Life: Alyx. I like this because you're not just seeing some opinions; they're showing glimpses of the research and testing that informed those opinions, as well as early prototypes, coupled with being a studio with some really deep time invested in VR; it's fascinating seeing them come to their conclusions. Also, as ever, I love seeing how bit a role sound is in presence.
"The two points I want to focus on here are about Ricky’s initial attitude about this warehouse idea and about the fact that he made this prototype ‘to surprise me’
Earlier I said that Ricky and Nate were sick of hearing about this idea. That was an understatement. In reality they openly mocked it. They had a running joke that I should call it ‘Clown Warehouse’ and make all the things in it clown paraphernalia. I wasn’t particularly hurt by this. It was good banter. It’s kind of how we talk about game ideas a lot of the time.
But then Ricky made a prototype to surprise me. (Not to mention spending months taking it from a prototype to a finished game.) And my point is that this is how friendships work. These expressions of good natured antagonism and affection, Winding someone up one day and giving them a nice surprise another, are the hallmarks of real friendship.
If you make games and your game development process isn’t like this you are doing it wrong. In my opinion."
This whole article from Dick Hogg, on making Wilmot's Warehouse, is a delight. On making parts and working out what a game is later; on friendship; on playtesting; on games with endings. Just great.
I always have time for people writing about ZZT. (Anna Anthropy's book on it is cracking). I have fond memories, both of Sweeney's own 'worlds' as well as the awful things I made.
07 October 2019
Last night I came across a Lime e-bike, dead on its side in a disabled car-parking space. I set about rescuing it, thinking that its conventional home, annoyingly littering the pavement, would be less bad.
As soon as I picked it up it started beeping, loudly. Then a computery woman’s voice began saying, “Please unlock me to ride me or I’ll call the police!”
I set the bike upright on its stand but the beeping and the verbal warning repeatedly alternated. I continued walking home, quickly, while the once quiet street was filled with the alarming noise, which slowly faded as I turned a corner. Maybe it’s still going.
Somewhere deep at the intersection of “everything is tech” (tech, the all-consuming industry, rather than technology), “everything is a service” (and thus somebody else’s property you pay to rent), and “everything is increasingly awful in order to service a minority” (in this case: the owners of the bike, frankly, who are interested in preserving their property whilst acquiring new customers).
We joked that the future was rubbish because we still don’t have a jetpack; it is, in fact, more rubbish (and made up of more rubbish) than we perhaps could have imagined. We are all Joe Chip.
Marvellous work from Yann Seznec: impractical, deeply personal musical instruments, beautifully explained.