Notes on Jonathan Blow’s Reddit Ask Me Anything

Notes on Jonathan Blow’s Reddit Ask Me Anything

Jonathan Blow did an Ask Me Anything on Reddit Friday: I am Jonathan Blow, game development person; ask me stuff.

I was specifically interesting in advice type tidbits, here are my notes.

Who Is Jonathan Blow?
Game designer and programmer for the games Braid and The Witness; Partner in angle investor Indie Fund; And creator of programming JAI.

What advise do you have for aspiring game designers?

  • #1 advice for the creative process, do “Deep Work” as explained in this lecture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0m0jIzJfiQ&index=3&list=PL_c7zXuU-zzfg3nxNmQp8IYpR_TO0UNj3
  • Ideas aren’t worth much, it is execution that matter.
  • Learn to program, because then you can create your vision. (see above)
  • Take on ambitious projects
  • Design is an interactive process, try stuff, keep what works, throw out what doesn’t.
  • In fiction writing, there is this concept that you want every sentence to do more than one thing: you want to describe the setting and set the mood and introduce the character. You want to say what happened and show how a character feels about it and foreshadow a later consequence.
  • Video’s that go in depth about the puzzle creation process (some is universal to game design):
  • Do not listen to the Internet: “The internet is an extremely distorted lens. It is basically useless for understanding how your game is really reaching people.”
  • How did you keep at it for so long without giving up? “There are low points, as with anything, but you just know what what you are working on is good, and you keep going. 7 years is not that long. If you watch a movie like Jiro Dreams of Sushi you’ll see someone who is very serious and for whom 7 years is no big deal.”
  • How much time do you put into the craft of making games?  “Most of them.”

What games to you recommend?

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NAND To Rule Them All

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Seamless Texture Generator

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Let’s Play: Horse Lords of Bolighar

Pressrelease_CKII_Horse_Lords_1

I decided to do an experiment this month and make some Let’s Play YouTube videos.  I’m playing Crusader Kingdoms 2 with the Horse Lords DLC and playing House Dulo, the Khan of Bolghar who is related to the King of Bulgaria.  Here’s the playlist: Horse Lords of Bolghar

I’m up to 70 total videos now and my Let’s Code, Following Catlike Coding’s Tutorial Swirly Pipe, Part 1 , is still the most popular by far.

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Seamless Texture Generator

Exciting news! I’ve become the owner of Seamless Texture Generator which is a great tool for making tile textures for games (and other stuff) out of images. It work really well and part of the reason I bough the IP is because of how well it works. Here’s an example:

 —->   

Notice how even the jarring seem created by the cement bag is smoothed away.

See for yourself, there is a free demo: http://www.seamlesstexturegenerator.com/

The program is pretty old and doesn’t support Windows 10, but I’m hoping to write a new version down the road.

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I voted in the IGDA 2015 Board of Directors Election! Have you? #IGDAElection

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Tech Demo: Voronoi Algorithm

Here’s a small tech demo I’ve been working on. It’s the application of the Voronoi Algorithm to a map’s political boundaries as two players place bases or cities. It was written in Unity3D and essentially the system continuously loops over each cube and determines which of the existing bases (or mouse) is closest. One quirk, is there is a limit to how far away a cube can be or it will simply remain neutral. I have several different ideas about how to apply this to a game but I’m still searching for a theme that fits the mechanic very well.

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Here’s come Ludum Dare 31!

LD31

☃☃☃ Vote Snowman! ☃☃☃

Follow me at http://ludumdare.com/compo/author/mrphil/ I’ll also be streaming! Watch at http://www.twitch.tv/xmrphil

LD31 TV Wins

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JAI Language

Jonathan Blow of Braid fame gave a really interesting Twitch/YouTube talks about making a new language to replace C/C++ that is specifically for making games with: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TH9VCN6UkyQ .  I’m very interested and his rationals resonates a lot with me.  I gave up C/C++ long, long ago because it was so messy and conveluted.  This could totally bring me back to a “bare metal” language. I started a reference page to collect links, etc: http://www.mrphilgames.com/jai/

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Game A Week Resources (and Level A Week)

The idea: – Make Many Games: Learn Many Things and Game A Week: Getting Experienced At Failure

Game A Week: Facebook Group, subReddit

Level A Week: same idea for level designers, some folks on the Facebook group for Washington, DC Area Unity Users Group are doing it.

Constraints: Match your “A Week” with a gamejam theme using CompoHub

Inspiration clone a classic:

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