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Always Improving

The concept that software is released once and expected to work flawlessly without updates is dead. Whether it is a game, a phone's OS, or social media, the hallmark of good software is something that provides incremental value but continues to improve, always. We are not encouraging the release of broken or useless software. Instead, we are encouraging software to be released often so that it will continue to provide incremental value and become refined over time. This development pattern has bled from business software development into game development. Players are no longer just mindless consumers, players are the stakeholders in this brave new world.

System as Narrative

My philosophy for game design is that the systems and mechanics should tell a vibrant story, share ideas, and provoke thought in players. One of the biggest challenges we face as game designers is how to convey something deeper that "numbers going up". To that end, one of my strategies is simply to read and learn about everything. I think the world is more colorful when we understand a bit more of how different systems connect together. It's a revelation and a critical function to be able to see the bigger picture - and that's something I really want to help players develop.

The game is kind of a microcosm with its own rules, albeit a lot more deterministic and simple compared to real life, but not too simple - there is definitely a chaos factor. Some common criticism I receive of this approach is that it makes the game "not fun". I get it, lootbox mechanics are fun, dominating other players in PvP is fun, becoming extraordinarily wealthy in an RPG or city sim is fun. Realism, I often hear, falls short of fun; but I think that isn't necessarily true.