I was at the museum today exploring an exhibition about Dali, Van Gogh et al. and there were also some modern pieces exhibited amongst the others. I’m not a very big fan of “modern” art but some of them caught my attention because of their “rules”. Three exhibits only existed temporally within the timeframe of the exhibition and had to be recreated at every new place that were they shown.
This apple/pear exhibit required the curate to have either a red apple and a green pear or green apple and brown pear, split them in half (eat the other half) then bolt them together. This would have to be renewed every 3-4 days during the exhibition as you can clearly see the signs of rot showing at the bottom of each fruit.
One of the other two was this typographic exhibit on the wall, whereby the rules were just to have the text printed a certain size and shown onto a wall with a framing. For different exhibits, the text could be silver or gold, and the rectangular box, here blue, could be red, purple or any colour you like.
The last one can be glimpsed at the bottom of the same image and comes in a box filled with flat rocks. In a tribute possibly to Stonehenge and other circle making cultures, the only instructions are that all stones need to be laid in a circle, on the flat side, no stones should touch each other and no two similar stones should be next to each other (mostly big large rocks can’t be next to other big large ones but could be surrounded by smaller or thinner ones).
I couldn’t help but see the parallels here between games which have very definite rules that define the form that we perceive and that evolve every time you play them. Always the same but always different, maintaining an essence without being the exact same thing. A sense of play and ephemerality for the viewer.
While reading the marketing material for the iPhone fingerprint sensor, it’s clear that apple wants to test the waters for adoption rate and getting people to trust the sensor for authentication system and allowing you to potentially sing all of your apps and preferences in one touch but more importantly payments.
Combined with iBeacons, the iPhone essentially becomes a replacement for your wallet. Square may have been one of the first to try to make payments more mobile and accessible but Apple here is reclaiming their territory and trying to compete directly with PayPal and Amazon in the payment services sector.
Obviously the success of the App store as a money printing business is encouraging apple to see what other markets they can milk with their 30% commission
I had been thinking about the internet of things (i.e. your own personal cloud of all your things, phones, TVs, cars, lightbulbs, etc…) and this blog post seems to encapsulate pretty much all the half-formed thoughts that I had about the subject, saving me the time to write it down. Handy!
I surprised some people when I said I was taking November off Twitter.
I’ve been using Twitter since July 2006 (user #1568!) with almost completely unbroken usage since late 2007, so that reaction is understandable—most especially from those in my life who consider me addicted to my iPhone.
If you’re one of the many who, like me, watched the movie The Social Network, then I think this is a worthwhile read. What is it? It’s simply a deconstruction of the letter that Mark Zuckerberg sent to shareholders when the company went public and had its IPO (definition). What it highlights is that firstly, people don’t read the fine print enough and that secondly, Facebook and it’s founder may not be as evil as people may think. Alternatively, if FB is indeed evil, then at least this is the yardstick by which we will measure the company according to what it portends to achieve as opposed to what it will achieve in the near future.
Either way, I found it to be a great and inspirational read and here’s a slight quote from Mark Zuckerberg’s letter to shareholders:
Simply put: we don’t build services to make money; we make money to build better services. And we think this is a good way to build something. These days I think more and more people want to use services from companies that believe in something beyond simply maximising profits.
By focusing on our mission and building great services, we believe we will create the most value for our shareholders and partners over the long term - and this is turn will enable us to keep attracting the best people and building more great services.
Now that Facebook has told us what they want to achieve, we can and will measure their progress and how far away they may stray from their path.
An interesting article on online economies and money supply. This is specially relevant to me since I seem to have hit the ceiling in Diablo 3 Inferno Act II. Between the exponential difficulty curve of monsters and maintenance of gear when you die, I am now broke and unable to buy any gear that would allow me to survive longer or kill more monsters and having to resort to ‘farming’ previous Acts and ‘trolling’ the auction house to progress any further.
I have a long list of things I dislike about d3 but I shall keep them for another post.
99% : Tony Faddell on Setting Constraints, Ignoring Experts and Embracing Self-Doubt
”(…)You don’t need everything in your first product, it’s usually too complicated (…) so you need to make sure that you set those milestones, set those constraints so that you can actually ship… because you must ship. Why must you ship? You must ship because the people on your team need to put something on their resume. They need to that result. What happens if you never ship? Or you never ship something that everyone believes in? They go to their next job and they try to find it and they go what did you do the last two years? Well we kinda f*cked around…”
Tony Fadell is the founder and CEO of Nest Labs, Inc., the company that developed the Nest Learning Thermostat. Prior to Nest, Tony served as senior vice president of Apple’s iPod division, reporting to Steve Jobs. He was responsible for creating the first 18 generations of the iPod digital music player and the first three generations of the iPhone.
This rings quite true when I think about the work I accomplished at Interzone. I think it’s important as a team leader to have results that people can look at and say “yep I did that!”
So, last week was Let’s Make Games 2012 edition of What’s Up Pitches?! over at Spacecubed. WUP is an evening of lightning talks where members of the community have 3 minutes to pitch their game-related ideas to their peers. The event is fully free to attend and to participate and we also had a live stream of the presenters broadcast over the internet.
I was personally on the organising committee and in the buildup to the event, we received quite a few questions from people afraid that their ideas might be stolen if they decided to pitch. After all, if you’ve watched the movie The Social Network, the threat of stolen ideas and millions of dollars of potential loss is probably enough to make most people cringe at the idea of willingly and freely sharing their ideas with members of the public without a single Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) in sight.
Now, before I go any further, I would like to state that this post reflects my opinion only and not that of Let’s Make Games as an organisation. I am also no lawyer, nor am I a serial entrepreneur with dozens of startups behind me or am I swimming in money from my ideas. I only have my own experience and that which has been shared with me but I hope to share it with you so that we both may know a little more about the topic. I have however been a graphic designer for 4 years now, worked at a games company for 2, launched my own iOS game with some friends and partners, been involved with quite a number of othercreativeprojects and frequently read a lot of articles on gamedesign, creativity, inspiration and productivity.
So now that I have my disclaimer out of the way, here’s a few reasons why I think you should be sharing your ideas a lot more freely than you might originally think:
1. Some ideas benefit more from being out in the open than staying in your mind. This is true for ideas that may require a critical mass to happen. That can be anything from getting people excited about a starting a new game, a games appreciation club or organising large-scale events. Some of these ideas may only live in the right ecosystem and letting people in on the idea may be the only way to start that ecosystem. I do think though that you should develop your idea a bit before throwing it out to the lions. An idea shared too early might end up with just confused looks while one shared at the right time should end up giving you a lot clearer perception of what people actually want or would be willing to do, thereby possibly saving you lots of time and energy.
2. Copyright does not protect your idea. You can only ever copyright the form of an idea, not the idea itself. What it really comes down to is the implementation of that idea. Facebook, Google+, mySpace, etc.. are all social networks, but they are also quite distinct in their own ways, possessing slightly different appeals and features. It’s more about the details and the philosophy behind the supporting ideas that surround your core one. You don’t have to give away all your implementation of your ideas in your pitches, you just need to give enough away that you might gauge people’s interest about specific parts. An interesting read semi-related to the idea of success being in the details can be found from iOS pictionary game Depict’s Post-Mortem where they also mention Charadium (another pictionary-style game) and keeping in mind the millions of dollars offered to OMGPop for Draw Something.
3. Creative development is 1% inspiration and 99% hard work! While you may think that this one idea you have is worth millions of dollars, it is worth nothing until you act on it. If you don’t have the drive to see your idea through then it does not really matter. Tim Colwill mentioned recently at our Indie Games Marketing Course that you will usually reap way more benefits in terms of exposure and feedback by letting people contribute in the early stages of development. You just have to be confident that it was your idea to start with and that you possess the vision to drive it to success better than someone else who might attempt to copy your idea. What you do with that 99% is really what will shape your idea to success, not the original 1%.
4. If you keep all your ideas to yourself, you’re slowly draining your stash of ideas. We all have a certain amount of ideas in our heads and sometimes we need to find some new inspiration from somewhere. If you don’t share your ideas and thoughts with other people, you are missing out on other people sharing their stash of ideas with you. You’ll be surprised at how many people will in fact be very happy to help you achieve your vision. Jay Wilson (Director of Diablo 3) had an interesting article recently describing how he viewed the designer’s role with respect to the team’s contribution.
5. Sharing ideas makes you accountable for them. As described in this article in the 99%, sharing your ideas may force you to take responsibility for them. To own them and refine them when people will inevitably find the flaws and drawbacks.
To close off this post, I will add that as with all philosophies, there is a reverse side of the coin. Not every idea should be shared with everyone. If your idea is very simple and easily replicated, you should get a headstart before pitching your idea to people. If you already have a strong internal team bouncing ideas around, you may not need outside opinions until your product is a bit more developed. Each project may be worth pitching at different stages of development, it’s up to your wisdom and experience to know when is a good time for a particular project.
Feel free to leave some comments if you agree or disagree :)
I have been rethinking for a while what I should do for this blog, the type of content, the format and everything and I’ve realised that I was spending a lot of time thinking and not doing which is one of the main resolutions that I had for the last few years. I am in many ways a perfectionist (I think most creatives are) and have been trying to learn over the years how to let go a little of that in favour of having something done rather than keep pushing it back because “it’s not ready yet”.
So here’s to some more doing and keeping tabs on what I’ve been working on.
‘Fat’ is usually the first insult a girl throws at another girl when she wants to hurt her.
I mean, is ‘fat’ really the worst thing a human being can be? Is ‘fat’ worse than ‘vindictive’, ‘jealous’, ‘shallow’, ‘vain’, ‘boring’ or ‘cruel’? Not to me; but then, you might retort, what do I know about the pressure to be skinny? I’m not in the business of being judged on my looks, what with being a writer and earning my living by using my brain…
I went to the British Book Awards that evening. After the award ceremony I bumped into a woman I hadn’t seen for nearly three years. The first thing she said to me? ‘You’ve lost a lot of weight since the last time I saw you!’
‘Well,’ I said, slightly nonplussed, ‘the last time you saw me I’d just had a baby.’
What I felt like saying was, ‘I’ve produced my third child and my sixth novel since I last saw you. Aren’t either of those things more important, more interesting, than my size?’ But no – my waist looked smaller! Forget the kid and the book: finally, something to celebrate!
I’d rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny – a thousand things, before ‘thin’. And frankly, I’d rather they didn’t give a gust of stinking chihuahua flatulence whether the woman standing next to them has fleshier knees than they do. Let my girls be Hermiones, rather than Pansy Parkinsons.
This article written by Sean Hood about screenwriting on the latest Conan the Barbarian script or lack-thereof could very well be about a lot of the creative ventures and the personal motivations that keep people doing what they are doing. I had a somewhat similar experience to this working in the games industry and it’s always interesting to see different perspectives on various disciplines with the same hope, blind faith, stupidity or conviction. And we all keep doing the things we do because that’s just what we do.