Meta-man and the Transparent Process Machine

One day in, and already many lessons have been learned. Not about game design, mostly, but about this whole “see through” process. It’s all very well to say you’re going to put up all your processes for the public to view, but that doesn’t describe how you’ll actually do it. Almost immediately, questions emerge. Here are a few:

In what format should things be recorded?

How can they be displayed, in order to be accessible to outside viewers?

What can be done to encourage people to come and check it out?

And just how deep does this “see through” philosophy go?

One problem is that we’re working out these reporting processes at the same time as we’re working out the processes we want to record. So there’s nothing initially in place to work with – there’s just me scrambling to take as many notes as I can on my laptop. So this is me, making transparent the process of developing transparent processes. Just call me “Meta-man”!

The first and second questions (how to record and display our data) are essentially logistical ones, and can be solved with a bit of experimentation. The current plan  is to throw raw data into the wiki, sift the best bits into blog posts, and throw anything really catchy out into the twitterverse. That’s fine, and should be of interest to people who are into the nuts-and-bolts development stuff. But blocks of text aren’t going to draw the crowds (which was the third question).

The easy answer is “lots of images and video!”, and that’s certainly true (though it requires some skills that the core of our team don’t really possess). The current fugly look of the site is off-putting even to me, and who reads un-illustrated blog posts these days? This is something we’re working on. Hopefully David Molloy (aka Pretty Picture Man) will be in on Thursday to help shiny us up.

But beyond the pretties, there’s something deeper that needs to be developed. And this is the answer to question four: it has to go deep. People connect with people, not code. The main thing we have to do to get people reading about this project is to present ourselves as human people – talented, flawed, but ultimately just like them. Just like you. This hit home this morning when I read a private message from boss-man Paul, and realised it was a lot more human and interesting than anything we’ve put on the site.

This point is kind of obvious, I guess, but the human tendency is to shield the vulnerable (interesting) parts of the self from exposure to strangers. Some of us have only known each other a short amount of time, and thus aren’t all that good at opening up to one another, let alone to the whole wide Internet.

How can we address this (very human) shortcoming? Well, by admitting, first of all. And the next step? I’m the guy doing most of the words, so it falls to me to lead by example.

So I’m going to tell you a bit about myself – about the winding path I’ve taken to get into game development, and how I’ve tended to trip myself up. I’ll tell you why I believe in this team and this project, the things about this gig make me anxious, and what I believe games can potentially be.

Only I’ve rambled too long already, so I’m going to do all that next time. Stay tuned!

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