Due to an unforeseen event, I am staying in a village in the heart of England for an extended period of time. For someone who has lived in big cities primarily, the village life is new to me. The buzzing streets and rush hour traffic jams are replaced by endless green fields, horses on the road, and farm/wild animals. A different way of life, and plenty of lessons for the technology-obsessed me:
Running games on mobile are popular; Canabalt, Temple Run, Mirror’s Edge are great examples of the genre (we even prototyped one ourselves in 2011). The basic premise of an endless running game is simple. You run sideways or forward continuously, and avoid obstacles by tapping and swiping to jump and turn. The game is over when you run into an obstacle, and it gradually gets harder with increasing speed. The goal is to survive as long as possible and collect as many shiny objects as possible.
We love our smartphones and tablets and thin light air-inspired laptops.
We love the shiny new app that makes everything faster, easier, cheaper, and more stable, more secure, more intuitive.
We love the new features with the upcoming version that promises to automate everything we don't want to do, to turn us effortlessly into amazing artists, photographers, programmers, designers, to create things magically with a click of a button.
I just got back from Demetri Martin's book reading & signing at Elliot Bay Bookstore. I went because I love the way he thinks, the wacky perspective on things, the comedy. But I learned more about his creative process, and that what makes great creatives is a power and complete control over one's work, in combination with great vulnerability - the part that makes it human, the part that makes it authentic.
You see Angry Birds generating millions of downloads, becoming an international sensation out of nowhere. You say to yourself, heck, I can make that too. So off you go, building the next physics based puzzle game with cutesy animal characters. Three months after the release, you realize your game is not going to be the next Angry Birds. You run out of steam and capital and close up shop.
I had an anger inside, much like Nick in the sitcom New Girl with a persistent, almost comical, fire burning internally.
It took me some time to realize what I was angry about - an anger stemmed from the sharp contrast I’ve observed between the Opportunists and the Craftsmen.
I operate in two related yet different worlds - the passionate, enthusiastic intellectual developer community, and the financially motivated fast-talking business world. Each group has its own sub-groups and individualities, and some developers are very business-savvy while some business people are very product focused. But if you pick one person from each group and put them in a room, it wouldn’t take you half a second to know which world they belong. In the developer community, people talk about technology, tools, interaction and experience design. In the business community, people talk about money, markets, and opportunities.
A little more than a year ago, I started the Unity3D User Group in Seattle (link). And I must first admit that the reason I started the group was rather selfish.
Let me start the story from the very beginning. After I left Sony and started Studio Pepwuper in early 2010, I soon realized a big problem I hadn't considered before making the leap - that I was no longer in a herd.
I was working alone for 99% of the time - just me and the trusted laptop. It never bothered me that I wasn't working with anyone else. I wanted to do everything myself and learn the ins-and-outs of every aspect of making an iPhone game and building a business around making games. I was excited, focused, single-minded.
(My dog in the uber packed car when we drove up to Seattle from LA)
I was going through all the drafts I'd written for this blog, and found this post I started in December 2011. Laura and I had just moved from Los Angeles to Seattle the month before. Everything was new, exciting, exotic. We were in love with the city (and we still are) and we didn't even notice the rain despite the fact that it was the fall going into the winter.