6/27/2008

06-27-08 - 2

Jon Blow refuses to work on technology any more, he just does gameplay and the minimum of complex coding to make the game do what it must to be fun. Some see this as defeatist or stubborn. I think it's brilliant. One of the biggest pitfalls for smart coders who go indie and try to make their own game is wasting too much time on technology, getting lost in intricate details, and losing focus on just making the game. Smart coders are inherently drawn to perfectionism and arcane details like moths to a flame, and when they get free of the corporate yoke that kept them from doing things "right" they can finally do what they always wanted and really get into the technology. Good coders also tend to greatly overestimate their ability to do hard technology work, and underestimate the long term maintenance cost associated with new complex technology. Now, in theory you would like to be able to let yourself do a little technology work where it makes sense, but in practice it's like any addictive behavior - it's very hard to actually be logical and only do technology work where it makes sense. It's much easier to just cut yourself off completely and pledge to keep things simple and only use off the shelf libraries and simple coding techniques. Jon seems to have done that and the result looks like it is a great game (hitting an Xbox near you very soon).

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