Nov 042005


Go read the post and the thread. I commented somewhere in there.

FWIW, I think the best background for a designer is a broad education with an emphasis on liberal arts and humanities; and the best personal qualification is intellectual curiosity and a dedication to self-education.

  6 Responses to “Lost Garden: The myth of programmer-designer greatness”

  1. Blogroll Joel on Software Raph Koster Sunny Walker Thoughts for Now Sex, Lies and Advertising

  2. Bartle?s 5 most important folks in virtual worlds [IMG] Posted by Raph’s Website [HTML][XML][PERM] on Fri, 20 Jul 2007 03:12:38 +0000

  3. I agree with your comment, Raph. Design is really multi-disciplinary, and you need to know your strengths in order to do your best. A wide variety of talents is necessary, especially when you start talking about virtual world design. I think most of us will admit that most of the skills necessary to be a top-notch virtual world designer can’t be found in a single person. That’s why we often look to teams to build these things, even on the modest scales.

    And, I can’t agree more about being willing to learn. Of course, I think that’s an important aspect of anyone wanting to be near the top of their industry. Anyone who stops learning will quickly become obsolete, especially in industries relating to technology like games.

  4. Saw your comment, Raph. Thanks for stopping by. I very much enjoyed your book.

    The crux of the whole discussion was not specifically about whether designers should have programming experiance. I too believe that a broad liberal arts understanding of all the moving pieces in a game is highly important.

    Instead the post was more focused on the concept of bringing people into the industry that have different values and expectations of gameplay than the current crop of designers. The concept of a programmer-designer is really a straw man to get folks talking about how there exists a very narrow spectrum of game design focused on a very narrow audience in our current industry.

    take care

  5. I very much agree that the best designers are going to be Renaissance people.

    Though, at the same time, is the programmer-designer thing still a problem? Is anyone seriously still hiring programmers to do design? I sure haven’t seen this going on recently.

    I must object, however, to characterizing programmers as a bunch of narrow-minded techies, without a sufficiently diverse background to be good designers. A programmer should not design, because a programmer should be programming — not because they’re social crippled, or somehow otherwise unworthy of design work. I don’t hire socially crippled programmers, thanks. All game developers should have “soft skills” and diverse interests, whether they’re programmers, artists, or designers. A broader view of the world benefits our work at all stages of the process.

  6. The revised sequel to the previous essay has now been posted. It hopefully will hit it’s point home a bit more cleanly.

    – Five step program to move beyond game geek culture

    “If you don’t succeed the first time, try, try again.” 🙂

  7. […] And to really conclude, the very first quality of a designer is about learning. In the same way “learning” is what these games are about. As Raph says: “the best personal qualification is intellectual curiosity and a dedication to self-education”. Learning is about change. If a designer “fears change” he is just done. He hasn’t anymore anything to say. […]

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