18 Jul

Analog Game Design 103: First Solo Playtests

Analog Game Design: First Solo Playtests

Analog Game Design: First Solo PlaytestsSo there I was, a game in my hand, my game, my cards, my design. Felt great.

For about two minutes. Then I was ready to see if I could commit suicide by paper cut. That’s what my first, solo playtests usually do to me.

But let’s recap. I’ve written about the spark, the part where creativity reigns free and I spew ideas the way a first-year computer science student spews regurgitated lager1. I’ve written about building the first prototype. This post is about what happens next: the solo playtesting, where crappy games are beaten into gold2. Read More

11 Jul

Inventing Non-Gendered Pronouns for AI

Inventing Pronouns for AI

Inventing Pronouns for AII’ve been writing a lot of AI/Singularity based stories lately, and I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s no good pronoun for non-human, intelligent, asexual entities.

Him/her suggest a divergence that likely won’t exist amongst AI (due to the aforementioned lack of sex). It suggests that AI is a thing – and once you get self-aware AI, they’re likely to object to that.

There are several solutions to the problem, question is, which is more likely? Read More

04 Jul

Dealing with Lack of Motivation

Dealing with Lack of Motivation

Dealing with Lack of MotivationI’m losing my will to write. I’m losing my will to design. In fact, I’m losing my will.

And I should have seen it coming.

I’ve learned some things about myself, things that I can’t seem to change. First off, I’m a carrot type of guy. I work best when I’m motivated by positive feelings. Negative motivation, stress, and pushes don’t work for me. And I know that I’m not alone. Read More

20 Jun

Worldbuilding 101: Writing Unequal Societies

Worldbuilding: Writing Unequal Societies

Worldbuilding: Writing Unequal SocietiesWhere are the chamberpot-technician? The dragon-brushers? The stepping stools-carriers? Nowhere, that’s why.

Fact is, that most works of fiction, whether SF, Fantasy, Horror, you name it, operate from the basic assumptions of an equal society. And that means that we’re missing whole segments of world building, encounters and stories that are never told because they can’t be conceived of.

But way, you say, here’s the poor pig herder who became prince. There’s the general that grew up in the slums. Aladdin – the diamond in the rough.

Nope, still operating from basic assumptions of equality. Let’s take a look. Read More

13 Jun

Analog Game Design 102: From Idea to Prototype

Analog Game Design 102: From Idea to Prototype

Analog Game Design 102: From Idea to PrototypeLast time I wrote about analog game design I took Magnet Puzzle from spark to idea stage. Unfortunately, that’s where it’s remained. For every 10 sparks, I take one through the idea stage. For every 10 ideas, I take one through the prototype stage. Magnet Puzzle hasn’t made that leap yet.

So instead of me waiting until inspiration strikes and I figure out what makes it fun, now that magnets are out of the picture, I’m going to backtrack a bit and show you how I’m working on another game: a quick, quite random, “take that”-inducing card game prototype named “Das Amt”. Read More

06 Jun

Rapid Idea Generation with “If … Then … Why”

Rapid Idea Generation with If ... Then ... Why

Rapid Idea Generation with If ... Then ... WhyI used to have troubles coming up with writing ideas. Nothing I did felt interesting, or if I managed to come up with something it would fail in practice – the ogre in the musketeer uniform would be just that, a dressed up ogre, and nothing more.

A dressed up ogre is boring. Just mashing together two concepts isn’t enough. You need something more.

That’s where the double whammy of “if … then” and “why” works wonders. Read More

30 May

Easy and Safe Writing across Multiple Computers with Scrivener, Dropbox and Crashplan

Easy and Safe Writing across Multiple Computers with Scrivener, Dropbox and Crashplan

Easy and Safe Writing across Multiple Computers with Scrivener, Dropbox and CrashplanSome years ago I lost all of my writing in a hard drive crash. I’m not crying over spilled milk – the writing was rather horrible – but it did set me thinking about redundancy and safety. I started doing backups.

At first, I did backups to CDs. That worked all right, until I thought I had done a backup and formatted my hard drive. Of course, I didn’t have any CD with my latest stuff on it. And then, when my computer crashed and I had to reformat it, I lost a few months of work as well.

So instead of CDs, I started using an external drive to backup all of my files. Which worked fine, except that it’s a pain in the behind to hook it up all the time. And I didn’t want to leave it hooked up and out in the open because part of the reason of doing backups was to protect me in case my computer got stolen.

But, two years ago, I found my main backup and sync solution. And last month I found the perfect way to work across multiple platforms, multiple computers, in complete safety, without having to do anything. Read More