One hour to office
Another hour back home
Eight percent of day

Welcome to the height of my poetry, which of course needs to involve numbers and patterns. During today’s commute I started reflecting on the things that don’t… spark joy. 10 hours a week in crowded transit is definitely one of them.

Loosely reminds me of a concept I used to chat about ages ago (pre-developer time > 15 years) with online friends, “preparing to have fun“. The idea that game features can be used as a carrot-on-a-stick to entice gamers to stick with a game for a longer period of time while forcing a highly-repetitive “grind” of time-investment before they can access these things.

It’s all a matter of perspective, I mean, as a child I’m sure I killed the higher end of 3 digits worth of Dragon Quest Slimes in the NES Dragon Warrior, them level-up stat points giving me all the reward required to keep slaying until I felt confident I could smash through the next thing. Today various idle games have kept me coming back waaaaaay more than I would’ve ever expected to.

That said, weapon skill grinding for hours in an MMO before getting to use that shiny new toy? Double to triple digits of hours invested before I get to enjoy the competitive portion of the game (and start actually building my strategy and skill that can only occur after the peak vertical progression point has been hit)? Many no-thanks. Games are primarily entertainment, and after turning over our dollars or choosing to invest our time it seems like we should be offered more than just the promise of fun later.

When I’m playing games, I know that feeling of preparing to have fun distracts me from the joy of playing, so while developing it’s something that I keep in mind. I like to view the pace of feature introduction in any game through both the lens of on-boarding and as a reward mechanism, I feel they go hand-in-hand quite well. “Hey! Congratulations, you’ve shown a level of mastery with what we’ve shown you, here’s more complexity” vs. looking backwards with a target and dolling out features in an attempt to hit that XX’th hour of gameplay.

Preparing to have fun is a lot like a commute. It’s a necessary time investment forced upon you to get to the thing you actually want to get to. When it comes to my own entertainment, I have options, and I tend to go with the one without the commute to fun.

Hi, I’m Blake. I’ve never owned a journal or diary, I tend to share my stories synchronously over beers at the complete absence of any asynchronous sharing. Had an idea to start putting down my thoughts on Game Development that aren’t theoretically owned by whatever corporate entity I currently work for. It’s been a lovely experience over many years of professional development (since 2006) that I feel I want to express, or wish I had something I’d of expressed to look back on.

I don’t think I’ll be reminiscing about past experiences, those I feel are still best delivered over drinks and good company. Pretty sure I won’t be rambling on about current experiences, as all the juicy bits tend to be covered by the standard Non-Disclosure Agreement. For now, I’m leaving this site as an available platform for when I feel something… fits. It’s just the seed of a concept, not sure which way it’ll grow just yet.

I’ve been a huge fan of iterative game development. Whether it’s a 100+ or a 5+ person team, as the ecosystem of the game expands reacting to its current state and not following a rigid blueprint or scripture tends to yield better results, and that’s how I’ll be treating this site.