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One surefire way to annoy a game developer is to ask, in response to discovering his or her chosen career path, what it's like to spend all day playing video games.
But even if you accept the premise that video game development is grueling work, it's not easy for those of us on the outside to see why. People have been making games since the 1970s, haven't they? With decades of lessons and experience to draw from, shouldn't game development have grown more efficient?
Maybe it made sense for developers to crunch in the late 1980s, when gaming was the domain of teens and twentysomethings who gorged on pizza and Diet Coke as they coded all night and slept all day, but decades later, video games fuel a $30 billion industry in the United States alone.* Why do game developers still have so many stories about staying at the office until 3:00 a.m.? Why is it still so difficult to make video games?
To try to answer these questions, I went out and engaged in my favorite activity: bothering people who know way more than I do. I spoke to around one hundred game developers and executives, both on and off the record, asking them an endless number of nosy questions about their lives, their jobs, and why they sacrifice so much to make video games.
That's easy to answer: video games are often the state of art of software development
That's a great point.
I think the interesting thing though in relation to all software development is "why are estimates almost always quite distant from the actual time it takes?"
A lot of times we begin building on technology that supposedly works and then at the crucial point we learn that you can't get there from here with that technology.
The underlying API just won't do the thing and then comes the custom work.
Of course, there is a lot of "custom" work done in video games.
Plus, the graphics and so forth get more complex - and directly hardware dependant - with each passing year, so you're not only trying to create new engines and content. but learn how you use the hardware seriously efficiently at the same time.
Add in the humongous amounts of money involved, and you've got a workplace pressure cooker with the valve welded shut ...
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That looks interesting and I really liked the opening quote by Pirsig. I read the entire introduction. I wonder why he believes there was some ancient ability of navigation that is lost.
It seems since there were no maps that navigation would've been done more or less in a wandering manner where the traveler is interested in a destination that is better than her present location and that is it. In that case it would seem that there was no intended or specific direction but just a wandering until things got better. However, maybe the ancients did have a way of determining that they weren't going in circles.
Were you able to successfully understand natural navigation techniques from the book?
I think that with modern technology a lot of the old ways of navigation have been lost. The fur trappers were the first non natives to dicover the west. I don't think they had maps, it was passed word of mouth. When fur got scarce they moved to other areas. Some of it they got from natives but a lot was just wandering.
I found the book to be mostly common sense, just observe things around you, where ever you are just use what's available.
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Whenever I hang out with friends we make sure there's at least one non-straight and non-white person (not necessarily the same person) in our group so our reality can reflect that from TV.
As a result we never hang out anymore and I don't have any friends