My Favorite Game Design Blogs

Paul Sottosanti – Paul Sottosanti is my friend and a brilliant card/board/video game designer. My favorite article is his Tiny Adventures teardown, which has a lot of good talk about social gaming especially.

Sirlin – Sirlin is another board, card, and video game designer. Sirlin’s articles are super crunchy. My favorite article from this blog is Playing to Win in Badminton, a response to the 2012 Olympic Badminton debacle.

Andy Looney – Andy Looney is a very inventive and creative game designer. I especially like his personal Game Design Principles.

I’m always on the lookout for more, comment if you’ve got em.

Been a while since I rapped atcha

I love working at Sporcle and I love building Dargarth but even more than those things I love knowing that I’m about to have a kid! Please do forgive me for not posting much lately and in the near future. As my artistic friend Eric Hill puts it, people who spend a lot of time working really neglect their blogs. Such is life in 2012. I am a lucky, lucky person.

The Comment Transcompetency Halo Effect

When you’re reading comments on a [blog|youtube|forum|news article], and it’s the kind of toxic or wide-open environment that breeds bad comments, you might experience the following:

  • Comment 1: hay guise i think this is cool i don’t know about you but i like pickles
  • Comment 3: This post kind of reminds me of Neuro Linguistic Programming or something. Also, the president is not a Scientologist. He is, however, a robot.
  • Comment 4: Macs suck, they dont have viruses becuz nobody even cares enough to right them lolol

After skimming those comments, I get the distinct feeling that “yeah, maybe the president is a robot.” It’s as if anyone who can string along a coherent sentence in a real landfill of a comment thread becomes a trustworthy informant, and things they follow with seem a little bit less crazy.

That, right there, is The Comment Transcompetency Halo Effect. Now that you’re aware of it, don’t ever be fooled by it again.

Echo Chambers

In keeping with his long tradition of thoughtfully incendiary blogging, Jeff Atwood of Coding Horror posted on the necessity/efficiency of English as a lingua franca for software developers.

Advocating the adoption of English as the de-facto standard language of software development is simple pragmatism, the most virtuous of all hacker traits. If that makes me an ugly American programmer, so be it.

So it goes, and it was, I’m sure, a reminder to native English speakers that they are fortunate to not have to learn another language in order to communicate with other software developers around the world. As you would expect if you were a frequent Coding Horror reader, the comments were full of offended and well-meaning developers who were angry at connotations of cultural imperialism. While communication would be streamlined if everyone spoke a common language, it would certainly be a shame to lose the world’s other languages.

When the story was posted to Slashdot – presumably a more rational and international community, the comments seemed to me to revolve more around a discussion of the use of English as a necessary common medium for code, comments, and technical documentation. There were vivid handfuls of stories from non-native English speakers on how they learned English – whether from Sesame Street, the Internet, or grade school. Snarky debates about the linguistic heritage of English, the relative usability of it, and so on. Fine points and spirited back and forth. All in all, nearly the opposite of the posts on Jeff’s blog. In all, the Slashdot echo chamber has a different shape that at this point reverberated with sounds of logical discussion. Particularly interesting to me was this post:

However, the main reason why finns speak pretty decent english is our school system. Studying english is mandatory from grades 3 to 9 in the elementary school and any route you continue from there also requires you to study english. We believe that in the modern world it is just a basic requirement for everyone to understand the same language.

I agree, a common language is necessary. Already the ability to speak the de facto language of the internet is a huge asset, for the individual and for all of us. More intriguingly, why the huge difference? The medium is similar.

10 to the 100th!

Project 10^100 is a call for ideas to change the world by helping as many people as possible. The due date is October 20th – get your revolutionary ideas in as soon as you can! – and the vetting process includes expert consensus as well as internet voting.

I’ve sort of been waiting most of my life for someone with a lot of money to ask “How can we change the world for the better?” and I’m taking this as my chance to get it all out of my system.

We’re going to be speaking Truth to Power, man. With Love, man. We’re going to be posting some of my pinko, humanist, fossy, digerati-ass ideas here in the next few days, after they go through the formal proofing and rigorous editing process and all that.