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mauve @mauve

Something that's always kind of bugged me about gamedev stuff on bird website is like...

Any dev above a certain notoriety doesn't really talk about their development anymore. It's more of the hot takes variety, or little bite size clips to show off to try to grab attention.

Nobody talks about the nuts and bolts of development because it's over the heads of most people; or worse attracts the sort of player who's looking to pick a fight because they don't understand how design works.

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I got more involved in artist circles and found them to be much friendlier and open about their in-progress work, or the theory and logic behind what they do. I haven't really had much to contribute to them though.

Either way I followed a lot of gamedev types for awhile over there and just found it exhausting/frustrating rather than interesting and provocative.

I told myself I'd be more open about dev stuff and theory when I had the chance (which has not been this past year).

Bird website's _awful_ for that because every tweet must stand on its own. Like, you have to expect that everything you say can and _will_ be taken out of context, so nuance gets lots. It sucks.

@mauve this has been frustrating for me too, i keep trying to find small circles of ppl to hang out in and talk, and learn that way

@anotak yeah, i admit i've been a bit more reclusive than i should be, too, but that's how it rolls sometimes.

@mauve i have a lot of frustrations about communicating gamedev things online too

most forums, irc, etc. contain programmer types that muscle their way into technical discussion because they have coded something that is not a game and expect complete knowledge transfer

the spots that are welcoming tend to fill up newbies asking the same questions every day, so all the energy goes to supporting them

when it's exclusively professionals, it's usually a business-focused discussion

@Triplefox It's hard! Sometimes you just want to talk about things that require depth of knowledge and it's not possible in public areas.

It's pretty easy to understand why people get resistant to discussion that way though, because otherwise they wouldn't be inclined to say anything at all.

I've had to derive so many things myself that others just plain don't talk about unless you manage to talk to them privately.

@mauve for the most part, i really don't think the industry really discusses how to make games, it just steals from itself and goes back to a self-absorbed mode of "i am doing my thing here leave me alone", and then in little pockets here and there an actual conversation takes place, and sometimes someone presents the result of that to the world to advance their career

@Triplefox Yup. There's a few bright spots here and there but there's a sense of being thrown to the sharks for how to make everything come together.

Most of the people I've run into who actually talk about gamedev on bird website do so in context of promoting their own games and that's really sad.

@mauve i have some notions of writing a book or somesuch(i have since i started taking theoretical ideas seriously, which happened well over a decade ago) but there's so, so much to cover that it feels like more than i want to take on just by myself

@Triplefox Yeah, I just pick whatever subjects I'm happening to be hammering out at the time and roll with them.

Like a lot of game development knowledge itself, design tends to be pretty domain specific and nobody's talking about it. Devs don't seem to want to dissect each other's work in public even when they need to.

@mauve two things that i feel pretty confident about now:

* the programming techniques necessary to implement both the basic game logic and most interesting details of every existing genre aren't mysterious and can be distilled in an accessible way that goes beyond "here is a tutorial to make pong and tetris, now you are on your own". the niches are actually relatively limited

* we have an ugly tendency to brute-force our way into a good design without using tools like sketch, storyboard, etc.

@mauve (more on the latter) and there is definitely a need for more design tools that do not take the form of "build it and find out"

@Triplefox Development's relatively easy, all things considered. Even though nuts and bolts engines are beyond the abilities of most people, that's fine.

I feel like there isn't enough information on how to chart interesting progression. Either on a micro level via level design or on a macro level with character growth and enemy difficulty increases and so forth.

In a vacuum everything is explained, it's putting it together that's tricky.

Balancing is the art of finding your reference point.

@mauve balancing i kind of see as one of the few ways in which the really big overarching design goals/challenges manifest even when the rest of the game aims for a conventional template

It's not hard to do a good job balancing tetris. And a power fantasy(e.g. GTA) can cheat a ton. But if you get into making "balanced complexity" the design can quickly compromise on making each element satisfy expectations in order to chase after balance and maximize theoretical utility of each option instead.

@mauve (this problem of achieving satisfaction happens to be a prime reason for current game project to be in trouble, too. There were so many compromises and iterations made to meet a breadth of goals that the core of it just got lost and is likely to be reduced to a backdrop of a simpler game now.)

@mauve Also there's not really room (either technically in terms of character counted or socially) for actual discussion of stuff in a deep or nuanced way. Which sort of combined with what you described in a feedback loop.

@benhamill Yeah I was kind of just touching on that a couple seconds ago, ahaha.

Every tweet must stand on its own over there, because it will be taken out of context. 140 chars wasn't enough; 280 is... sort of better, but still lacking.

I found myself writing things out to a scratch pad and then trying to organize them into bite sized pieces and that's just exhausting/tiring.

@mauve Ah. I didn't see that there was more context. Speaking of standing alone, heh. Oops.

I did the same thing a few times and agree it's exhausting.

@mauve It makes me want some more grease on blog publishing.

@benhamill I've been tempted to open up a Medium before but I haven't had the time to brush up my writing form for proper blog posts.

I think my ideal length is 'give me like 5 or 6 paragraphs to gush about something' and not a full-length article, and I haven't really got a good grasp on it right now.

@mauve Yeah. I feel liked there's some kinda half way thing that (some) people want. I tend to polish and edit blog posts and get feedback from folks. But sometimes I just want to barf out some ill-formed thoughts and see what people say.

I guess that's another thing: I don't have comments on my blog. But I often want some interaction on this half thing I'm thinking of. Which is why it ends up here, but here isn't quite the right fit. IDK.

@benhamill Comments are rarely helpful in my experience anyway. Too few people and nobody talks to each other, too many and there's no distinct voice.

Talking w/ people involved directly helps more, so I'd rather just direct people to talk about things elsewhere if at all possible.

@mauve Yeah. I had a line about people tweeting at me. I should probably change that since I took my Twitter link off and replaced it with this.

@mauve
JoBlow was pretty good about it for a while, but yeah of late he took to shitting on other people a lot.

John Carmack is a treasure, though.

@shoeberto I liked him better when he had a game to develop and didn't have the time to barf garbage all over everyone else.

Carmack's great. He comes off as genuinely interested in things and more about making observations than anything else.

@mauve I've read a whole thread (or article? can't remember 🤔) by a developer confirming that it was really the last reason: players are really super toxic and believe shit like "why don't you had multiplayer, it's like 2 weeks of work!" therefor they can't be open otherwise they are always attacked :(

@bram Yyyyyyyyup. It's not a new thing. It is just frustrating though, it makes me not want to follow people who are also developers, at least in public spaces. Everyone's retreated to private communities; local friends or slacks.

@mauve I feel like that's part of the social media growth curve.

Early stage: Earnest tweets about my field to connect with people in my field.
Late stage: More like butt-coin, amirite?

I never really got popular popular, but I certainly got fatigued.

@mauve every time I hear some Game Reviewer explain how a game is "badly optimized" or how feature x is not there even though it would be "really easy" to include my life is shortened by another week

@halcy right? it's frustrating no matter the source.