Read about “Anti-design” philosophy

This is the kind of thing I always mean to write, but don’t because it would consume all my time.  Thankfully it’s consuming somebody else’s time, and we can just read it.  It’s the first part of a series on “Anti-design” philosophies in the game development community, which I think basically means “Reasons to avoid emphasizing the design aspect of games”.

Part one discusses the popular “Quantity Design” philosophy.  He sums it up like this:

“Make as many games as you can! Spend a week or two on a game, and then move on! You’ll get really good at making games by doing this! Don’t get hung up on working on the same game for a long time, that’s a trap that will make you learn more slowly!”

I suggest you read the article yourself.  The game development community is in a very interesting time, where indies have the spotlight and everyone is waiting for them to show the industry how it’s done with their creativity and thirst for new ideas, but this sloppy “quantity design” approach ensures that the already narrow distribution channels (Steam Greenlight, Kickstarter, etc.) will get filled up with forgettable, half-finished products that disappoint customers.

I think the root of this philosophy is actually still a failure to understand that game design is a discipline. Indeed, starting and finishing projects every few months is probably pretty good, if you want to learn to be a better programmer, or if you want to learn to be a better general “game developer”.

As the title of the series suggests, he wants there to be an emphasis on actual “DESIGN”, not simply “creating” or “producing” games.  Real design has always been a rare thing, from the old 1980’s industry Atari crash to the modern bullshit AAA sequel-fest.  In fact, most of the “Anti-Design” philosophies I’ve seen in the game development community are born out of underestimating it, and denying that it’s even really a thing.  The tabletop game design scene is extremely aware of its importance, and it’s one reason why I love to follow its resurgence; perhaps people hungry for real game design are finding it there?

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