Weekly Links #267



The muses are funny sometimes. Somehow over the course of last week I went from dungeon crawls, through fighting games, and all the way to space strategy games.

(Screenshot of a terminal emulator showing a game map and command line.)

Yep, that's a clone of Super Star Trek. Don't ask. Let's just say people love classic games, and there's a shortage of modern versions for this one. Even though, surprise surprise, it's a more complex game than it seems. Definitely not a toy as I expected initially. But then, that's all for the best. Instead of this being just practice for the game I really wanted to do (an older design), it will be the first part of a duology. To top it all, I seem to have come up with yet another fictional setting, this time retro sci-fi. And that in turn opens up all kinds of possibilities.

In the way of news, we have a chat about diversity and crunch with Tanya X. Short, and a bigger discussion of the line between hobbyist and indie. Both painful yet necessary these days. Details below the cut.

On Monday, gamesindustry.biz publishes an interview with Tanya X. Short, and frankly it reads like sci-fi. A game studio with a healthy work culture, and a true commitment to diversity? Who knew that was actually possible? Dear young entrepreneurs: one 40-year-old with their enthusiasm intact can work a lot faster within regular office hours than an entire team of 20-something kids pulling 16-hour days, because the latter are fighting inexperience and burnout at the same time. And then there's this bit:

The studio has eight people on staff at the moment, and Short says there isn't a straight white man among them.

If you feel threatened by those words, you might be part of the problem. No offense.

On Tuesday, my good friend fluffy posts about the trap of monetizing hobbies, echoing my own feelings from nearly a year ago. And just two days later, Alex Schroeder echoes the same feeling in a blog post about the late Google+:

Perhaps I was reading it as a sign of the crass capitalism that has been eating our community. People have Patreons instead of blogs. They sell stuff on Drive Thru RPG instead of posting it on their blog, they have effectively joined the spammers of our world, posting in ten communities at little inconvenience to them but at the cost of hundreds of people having to see the repeating messages and tuning out. Everybody hustling all the time, competing for my attention, it just put me off. Perhaps it put me off most of all because it was a constant reminder of where our society is going.

This has been going on for a while though, the sick idea that every waking moment could and should be monetized. I know people who fell to it, and the results aren't pretty. While me... Look what I have right here. All these games. All these engines. Nearly a decade of accumulated wisdom. And for the few years when my friends helped out, it really looked like No Time To Play was getting somewhere. Still is, in fact. Just not as a business.

Frankly, it's better that way. Even though I could use some help from my readers.

A week with not too many news items then, but good. Oh well, see you next time.


Tags: indie, business, interview, retrogaming, philosophy