Why Anything but Games Matters

On isolationism in game development; my Indiecade 2014 talk

A couple months ago, I was talking to a friend in technology media. “Sometimes I wonder why I’m in tech,” he started saying. He paused for a beat. “Then I think, at least I’m not in games.” He wasn’t even really talking about the Voldemortian “you-know-what” that was indeed the original impetus for our conversation. That’s just the latest example.… read more


The Future of Luxury: Avoiding People

Services like Silvercar, Uber, and pay-to-play airline VIP programs help keep the new aristocracy away from the rabble

When I power on my phone upon landing at LAX, a text message is already waiting for me: “Hi Ian, Silvercar here! We have your res at 1:00pm today. Let’s roll!” Silvercar rents a fleet of silver Audi A4s at airports in Austin, Dallas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. A slogan speaks plainly on the company’s behalf: “car rental that doesn’t… read more

OAuth of Fealty

Resignation beyond sorrow on the Facebook Platform and beyond

In recent weeks, Facebook has been sending emails imploring me to complete a survey about how they might improve their development platform. I’d been deleting the messages, but after the third request or so, I decided to click through. For those lucky enough to have avoided it, the Facebook Platform is a set of tools and services that allows developers… read more

Netflix Didn’t Kill the Video Store

On online video subscriptions

As you couldn’t possibly have missed, Netflix announced changes to their subscription plans this week. Specifically, they separated streaming subscriptions from disc-based ones. It used to be possible to add DVD rental to a streaming subscription for $2 extra, but now you’ll have to pay $7.99 more for a single-disc plan. While many are complaining that the company raised their… read more

Mission Uncritical

Facebook and Software Architecture

I’ve been thinking about software architecture lately, mostly as a result of continuing to suffer at the hands of Facebook’s horrific platform and API. For those who haven’t tried to use it, Facebook’s platform is notoriously atrocious. It’s badly documented and doesn’t always do what the documentation says. It breaks regularly. It rolls out changes without notice. The entire architecture… read more

Another Faculty Job Opening at Georgia Tech

in Digital Media / Public Media

My program at Georgia Tech has yet another job opening, in the area of civic digital media. I hope you might apply for it, or share it with those who might be a good match. The School of Literature, Communication, and Culture of the Georgia Institute of Technology seeks applications from digital media theorist-practitioners with a Ph.D. (field open) to fill… read more

Pascal Spoken Here

Learning about Learning Programming from the Apple ][

Among the many, many things we talk about when we discuss curriculum for the Computational Media degree is how to make learning programming facile and appealing all throughout a student’s career. Many sub-problems arise, for example, how can one help students learn new languages and environments after they’ve become familiar with one or two? Just after having some of these… read more

Racing the Beam is a Front Line Award Finalist

Game Developer Magazine holds an annual Front Line Awards, for “the year’s best game-making tools in the categories of programming, art, audio, game engine, middleware, and books.” Racing the Beam is among the finalists. We’re definitely an outlier, the other books covering much more “practical” development concerns (Game Coding Complete 3e, Game Engine Architecture, Mastering Unreal Technology, and Real Time… read more

Videogames are a Mess

My DiGRA 2009 Keynote, on Videogames and Ontology

What follows is the text of my keynote at the 2009 Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) conference, held in Uxbridge, UK September 1-4, 2009. The text corresponds fairly accurately to the address I gave at the conference. In a few cases, I’ve added some clarifications in square brackets, where additional context or commentary was relevant. (You can also download the… read more

The Metaphysics Videogame

Part 2: What Kind of Videogame?

In part 1 of this series, I introduced the idea of a metaphysics videogame and described why such a thing might be a good idea for philosophy. That was the easy part. In this post I’m going to explore what such a game might look like, in the abstract. The idea is not to suggest only the most viable approach,… read more