November 28, 2009

One Year And Thank You

Well whaddaya know? Yesterday was first anniversary of the day I started this blog. This year passed surprisingly (disturbingly?) quickly, and has been an exciting time replete with career changes, interesting discussions, and new friends with which to have them. This blog has helped provide me with all of those things.

The most useful thing about all this writing, though, is how much it's helped me to refine and clarify my thoughts on game design as a discipline and a career, and my place within it. I've learned a lot in the past year about what parts of game development I'm best and worst at, and what my goals and values are.

Even if I never had any readers at all, that kind of self-knowledge would be completely worth the time and effort of blogging. This is especially true within the context of job interviews: It's amazing how easy and comfortable that whole process is when it's just an extension of the conversation I'm having all the time here.

I also use this blog as a place to make public declarations that I know will make me feel like an idiot if I fail to live up to them later. It's the place where I design the kind of game designer that I want to be, and harness peer pressure to be better at living up those ideals.

Writing this blog would be a good experience even without any readers, but I do have a bunch of readers and other people that have made it a great one. I'd like to thank all of you, as well as call out some specific people.

People who helped make this blog possible

I'd never have a blog at all without Penelope Trunk. She entertained and enlightened me with her blog for quite some time before eventually convincing me that I should start a blog of my own, and that I should just jump into it whether I knew what I was doing or not.

Joel Spolsky showed me that having a blog could be a useful outlet for someone who's frustrated by the state of their industry, and that there are more productive ways to communicate than ranting. I set out to write a blog that would be "like Joel's, but for games."

Around eight years ago, I stumbled onto Raph Koster's old webpage and spent a lot of time digging through all the game design writing there. This was the first time I had thought seriously about becoming a game designer. His descriptions of how difficult and frustrating it could be to make games that stood up to player interaction the way developers expected them to intrigued the masochist in me.

At some point I really need to just hire a webdesigner and make myself an actual portfolio page with an integrated blog, etc. In the meantime, tweaking one of Douglas Bowman's blogger templates has served me pretty well.

People who help make this blog successful

This blog would be much less successful without all the people funneling traffic my way, leaving insightful comments, or just posting great posts of their own which get me thinking. I'm definitely also leaving out a bunch of people, but here are ones that really helped get me on my feet:

Simon Carless (Game Set Watch)
Steven Savage (Fan To Pro)
Tesh (Tish Tosh Tesh)
Nels Anderson (Above 49)
Ysharros (Stylish Corpse)
Brian Green (Psychochild's Blog)
Damion Schubert (Zen of Design)
Steve Gaynor (Fullbright)
Gregory Piatetsky (KD Nuggets)
Tobold (Tobold's MMORPG Blog)

Thanks everybody! I plan to keep this blog going until I run out of things to say, which I can't imagine happening anytime soon. Now I just need to get better at posting on a regular schedule.

In the next year, I also plan on testing out some more interactive features, such as interviews, guest posts, and Q&A.