as I presented at NDC Oslo and QCon New York

Community, December 30, .

2017 Coding with Empathy in 2017

Empathy – the 4th most popular word in 2017

according to Merriam-Webster.
It’s interesting that this word has risen up in its popularity this year.

Mirriam-Webster also points out the connection between politics in the USA

and the increase usage and searches for empathy.
Here’s Google’s take on how empathy is doing 2017.
This is a trend graph compared to sympathy and compassion: So, definitely something people are becoming more aware of, and possibly also exploring.
The Blog.
This blog hasn’t been as active as in 2016, but there has been some activity.
3 of my most popular blog posts came out this year, and have been well-received both on this blog and on the great platform.

Rituals of Shaming in the Software Industry

Efficiency and Effectiveness in Software Development Teams

Please, break the build!.
As announced in the 2016 summary, I explored video this year, with a month of daily vlog episodes exploring daily reflections on The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday.
I was inspired by two of Ryan Holiday’s previous books; The Obstacle is the Way and Ego is the Enemy.

These introduced me to Stoicism

and how valuable this philosophy is.
The 30 episodes of the Vlog was an eye-opening experience for me, on a personal and professional level.
I found new joy in editing videos, learning about stoicism, and combining this with a daily journal that also doubled up as a vlog.
Feel free to check out the results, and let me know what you think: Conference talks / Podcasts.
Empathy was also in focus on the conference scene this year, as I presented at NDC Oslo and QCon New York.
Both talks are recorded and are available.
I’m really happy with how these talks turned out, and the feedback from them.
Though they are very similar, .

I think the second iteration at QCon NYC really struck home

I also had the chance to have a chat with Shawn Hastie for the InfoQ Engineering Culture Podcast where we dove into topics of team leadership and empathy.
It was a good chat, and certainly something I’d love to do more of.
NDC Oslo 2017.
QCon NYC 2017.

Pavneet Saund on Practical Empathy on the InfoQ Engineering Culture Podcast

I can’t have a summary of 2017 without mentioning the #goofyreligion group on twitter.
What started out as a joke by Dave Rael quickly escalated to a hash-tag a few of us rallied around to help motivate each other to take care of our health, physical and mental.
The tweet that started it all: To learn more about the #goofyreligion and also a great conversation on balance and functional programming check out Reid Evans on the Developer on Fire Podcast Gratitude.
The second half of 2017 has been about gratitude for me.
Not so much about external gratitude, but internal.
Appreciating the people around me.
Putting them in focus after a lot of focus on myself and my activities.
I suppose it’s about balance, really.
I spend time doing these things in public to help others, but at the end of the day I also need to be there for the people around me.
So a special thank you to my wife, kids and family.
I want to thank the wonderful people at KomplettDev.
It’s a joy to work with so many individuals bringing their whole selves to work every day and building the best web-shops in Europe.
I also want to thank the #goofyreligion gang (with friends).
These people inspire with their actions, and their words.
I’m lucky to have you, and looking forward to sharing the #goofyreligion with more people in 2018.
A special thank you to Emil Cardell for giving me a journal and pen after the NDC Oslo talk.
I now journal every day and am better for it.
150 days of journaling so far this year.
Looking Forward.
I’m striving for balance, and finding a healthy way to push myself on all fronts.
I’ve discovered this means tackling some bad habits I’ve built up through my life and understanding that changing my mindset is going to be hard.
A keyword here is rewiring habits.
There are also some new things happening, which have me really excited and I hope to share more of that in 2018.
Finally I’d like to thank each and every one of you readers for putting empathy in your lives, and for those around you.
I’ve seen a lot of positivity in our communities that give me a lot of hope of bringing safety into our profession.
But there’s a long way to go yet.
So, let’s continue our work in 2018.
connections empathy gratitude habits NDC youtube Share this:.

Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)

Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)

Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)

Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window).
Pavneet Singh Saund.
Focused on creating great user experiences by attending to folks needs with empathy and spaces of safety.
“How you build a product is as important a the product itself”.
Equalizing the playing field as User Experience Lead/Web Developer at [Dolittle](
Related Posts.
2018 in review.
January 14, 2019.
Reflecting on 2016.
December 27, 2016.

Coding with Empathy on the Legacy Code Rocks Podcast

December 20, 2016.
Previous: Efficiency and Effectiveness in Software Development Teams Next: Tribes – a search for belonging Leave this field empty if you”re human:.
Send to Email Address Your Name Your Email Address Cancel Post was not sent – check your email addresses.
Email check failed, please try again Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email.

please try again Sorry

Future Biz Tomorrow’s Tech.
To err is human … My favo(u)rite conference of the year #StopPeeMailing.
2017-08-16 #StopPeeMailing This is going to be a short, blunt post.

Toilets are for pooping and peeing and not for Facebooking and emailing

The (bizarre) custom in the USA of having lavatory doors that have a 1/4″ gap all around means that one can easily see if a stall is occupied.
It also means one can see the occupant thumbing away on their device (do not get me started on those that mix their business with doing their business and make throne-calls – I flush regularly when I hear them next to me).
In the building where I work there are two cubicles for a male population of about 50.
Often both are busy and I have found myself waiting several minutes to be finally seated.
I am no expert on pooping but a couple of minutes usually gets my job done.
Now sitters spend more time swiping their likes than wiping their butts.
If we are going to make laws about who goes in which bathroom I’d vote for those who are not pee-mailing or poop-posting.

Web Admin This entry was posted in

Bookmark the permalink.
To err is human … My favo(u)rite conference of the year Leave a Reply Cancel reply.
Enter your comment here.
Email Name Website You are commenting using your account.
(  /   ) You are commenting using your Google account .
(  /   ) You are commenting using your Twitter account.
(  /   ) You are commenting using your Facebook account .
(  /   ).
Things I thought about Select Month July 2020  (6) September 2018  (1) April 2018  (1) August 2017  (1) July 2017  (3) June 2017  (1) October 2016  (1) July 2016  (2) June 2016  (1) May 2016  (2) November 2015  (3) October 2015  (3) September 2015  (3) August 2015  (1) July 2015  (1) August 2014  (1) May 2014  (4) April 2014  (3) February 2014  (4) January 2014  (6) May 2013  (3) April 2013  (3) March 2013  (1) February 2013  (4) January 2013  (1) December 2012  (6) October 2012  (2) September 2012  (4) August 2012  (2) July 2012  (2) May 2012  (14) April 2012  (3) March 2012  (5) December 2011  (17) November 2011  (2) October 2011  (3) August 2011  (4) July 2011  (1) June 2011  (2) April 2011  (4) March 2011  (3) February 2011  (2) January 2011  (3) December 2010  (5) November 2010  (9) October 2010  (7) September 2010  (4) August 2010  (15).
A day is coming when we switch from full employment to a world where full unemployment becomes possible.
As technology advances it frees us to go from humans doing things to become human s being things.
“xChange16: Registration Now Open” by @ on @.
Click to take a brief 7 question survey to help me improve my blog.
Send to Email Address Your Name Your Email Address Post was not sent – check your email addresses.
Email check failed, please try again Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email.
bloggers like this:.

Classic Arcade Videos & Footage

Classic Arcade Videos & Footage.
Tag: arcade videos.
Golden Age Arcade Videos.
Thought I’d keep quiet this week and share a few arcade-related videos that came across my desk recently.
The first is a short film from award-winning production company 3 Angry Men based here in the UK.
It tells a poignant story of arcade days gone by through the eyes of a couple of operators based… Read More Footage from the Arcade Factory Floors.
I have some great arcade factory footage to share with you this week.
Way back when on the blog.

I wrote a piece called Tales from the Arcade Factory Floors

which proved very popular.
If you missed it, do take a few minutes to check out the great collection of pictures from back in the… Read More ‘High Score’ Arcade Marathon Documentary.

High Score was the original Classic Arcade Gaming documentary

It came out in 2006, and charts the journey of Classic Arcade player Bill Carlton as he tries to take down the then 20-year-old Missile Command marathon high score, held by Victor Ali.
The documentary tells a far more human and realistic story than The King… Read More 2017 Review & Free to Watch Arcade Movies!.
As 2017 draws to a close, I thought some reflection this week would be in order.
It’s been another great year for the site with visitor numbers in the hundreds of thousands for the second year running.
For a site like this, covering such a niche subject matter, the level of support has been fantastic… Read More Space Port: Arcade Training Videos.
A video post this week.

Space Port was a chain of arcades across America usually located within shopping malls

Along the lines of Time-Out, it was a staple of any eighties kid’s world.
As the name suggests, the branding was very space age.

I came across a couple of interesting videos on YouTube

that I… Read More ‘The Lost Arcade’ Documentary Review.
There are just a handful of films dedicated to the subject of classic arcade gaming.
Some you’ll know I’m sure (King of Kong for instance), and others which are more underground, but definitely worth a watch.
I’ll be sharing a few of them with you in a future blog post at some point.
Meantime, there… Read More Behind the scenes at Atari Coin-Op.
I stumbled across a great series of videos this week that I hadn’t seen before.
Into The Valley of the Space Invaders was a mini documentary produced by Field Communications back in 1982 – at the very height of the Golden Age of video games.
It managed to go behind the scenes at Atari’s coin-op… Read More History of Arcade Video Games Documentary.
So Christmas is here, and I’m guessing you are all busy getting ready for the festivities.
So here’s something you can sit and watch when you get a quiet few minutes from the kids and relatives.
Collecting, restoring and playing classic arcade games brings out interesting reactions in others.
For the most part, people come… Read More ’83 TV Mini-Series: Video Game All-Stars.
A video post this week.
At the height of its popularity, the video arcade industry was everywhere.
In the USA, it was simply impossible to ignore. Anyone of a certain age will tell you that arcade culture was very much a way of life for young people in every single state. The years 1979 through to 1983 or… Read More Older posts Post to.

Mutants in the Night TRPG public beta cover

Category Archives: Interview.
Interview “The Wave Is Building” – An Interview with DC.
June 16.

2019 Evan Torner  “It will be unfair

it will oppress them, it will hurt the people they love.
Mechanically, they can’t solve the real issues.
That’s what really makes it work.
You can’t solve a damn thing.
You can only walk into the goddamn trap and eat your carrot.” Small-press tabletop role-playing games (TRPGs) have experienced major shifts in the last several years.

Older TRPG discussion forums such as The Forge

Google+ and (soon) Story Games shuttering means that more designers now turn to the fraught spaces of social media and private Discord channels to organize their games.
The normalization of live-streaming, podcasting, and crowdfunding means that tabletop RPGs have new audiences consuming the medium and higher stakes for designers and players to attain.

The #MeToo movement emboldened many in the TRPG to take a stand against powerful

abusive individuals in the community.
Creator-driven platforms such as Patreon and connect game designers around the world with their respective niche co-designers, one $2 game jam purchase at a time.
And players and designers from marginalized backgrounds.

Primarily queer people and people of color (PoC)

are speaking their truths, whether it be on the Internet or in the mechanics of their work.
At the center of this activity lies one crucial figure: DC.
DC is a black, non-binary, queer American game designer hailing from Seattle, WA.
They distinguished themselves as an expert player within TRPG streaming communities as well as designer for their own Forged in the Dark game Mutants in the Night and the one-player mecha game plot ARMOR.

As a powerful new voice in TRPG design

their uncompromising and consequential work will continue to ripple through the community.
Evan Torner, representing Analog Game Studies, was able to ask them about a little bit of everything.
Image by DirtyRobot, Twitter: @1SLES Evan Torner: You are considered a TRPG polymath in many circles: a designer, streamer, community moderator, activist, and theorist.
Tell us more about yourself.
DC: My story is nomadic.
I’ve been moving around since I was 18.
Different couches, apartments, sometimes houses.
For a long time, I never felt comfortable in one spot for too long, even if I was set up with a job and a decent social life.
I always had a lack of passion.
Or at least I thought I did.
I’ve always been passionate about people.
I have a pretty scrambled education.
I went to K-12 like most people, but I’ve mostly been a “0 or 100” kind of person.
If something has my interest, I dive into it.
Even if my interest is brief, I really want to absorb and explore as much as I can.
I used to be pretty single-minded; [going after] one goal, usually something much bigger than me.
There was always some sort of plan to do something.
It was never about making money or acquiring fame.
It was always about pulling something off: a flawless team or achieving something that seemed unlikely to other people.
Times where I put myself to the grindstone in order to elevate myself just never worked out.
I hate capitalism.
It’s made my depression worse, it sent me into a spiral of drinking once, it made me value people less at times.
Or I should say, it gave me the choice to [value them less], and I took it.
I have depression and general anxiety.
I spent the time between 18-28 figuring that out, dealing with a lack of education surrounding treatment, being on bad meds, moving around, gaining and losing money (mostly losing), and trying not to die, even though that desire was the only consistent thing in my life.
But while all that was going on, I used my skills.
I learned about people, history, and music and how to do things that need to be done; how to wake up at 3 am to bike 4 miles to work; how to communicate the way I wanted to.
I didn’t really care where I was.
I cared about what I was absorbing.
It’s strange because I feel like I’m talking about a different person, and I kinda am.
I didn’t know myself too well.
It was all sort of building up to me finding myself.
Things haven’t been the same since.
I figured out that I’m non-binary and queer.
And I figured out how to live instead of just trying not to die.
And I figured out how to focus all of myself into my own hands, my own feet.
How to move the way I want to, so to speak.
The immortal edgelord in me is saying, “I’m my own sword.” I’d have to agree.
Life still isn’t easy, but it’s mine.
I chose most of this.
Wouldn’t have it any other way. cover of plot ARMOR by DC ET: You identify as a non-binary, queer designer.
How does that inform your design decisions.
Would you say that queer folx constitute a core part of your audience.
DC: Being non-binary and queer definitely influence my design, and yeah, my core audience is hashtag “the gays.” Mostly because I’m thinking of them when I design.
I bounce almost everything off of my communities, whether directly or mentally.
I want the gender binary to fuck off, and I want every queer existence to be validated.
But the realness comes from the fact that my identities intersect, and reveal empathy for communities that I’m not a direct part of.
The disabled community and the asexual community as examples.
I’m definitely a beginner when it comes to knowledge, but I have places to start.
Queer people are really good at giving a shit about other marginalized people (mostly if they’re PoC lol).
ET: Who are your role models in your struggle.
Is there a type of person to whom you tend to gravitate when you need guidance or inspiration.
DC:  I don’t know if this sounds conceited, but I look to the version of myself that I want to be.
Role models are kind of a strange concept.
I don’t want to depend on my mental version of a person’s good actions or behaviors.
I want to be taking a step forward toward being someone I want to be, instead.
I appreciate people and the amazing things that my friends do are wildly inspiring.
I can’t be perfect, or often even the person I’m striving to be in these cases.
But it feels like a more healthy goal.
Mutants in the Night TRPG public beta cover.

ET: You are working on a commercial release of the RPG Mutants in the Night

a game about post-apocalyptic mutants or, as you put it, “a game about finding.” You explicitly state in the game’s dev notes that “the setting provided was inspired by the plight of marginalized people around the world.
Mutants hold the key to representing folx of all marginalized backgrounds, and direct representations of current (yet archaic) laws that pressure and misrepresent those who are targeted by them.” How does the setting provoke discussion of the marginalized, and how do you support that with the game’s mechanics.

DC: People ask this question a lot

I like it, because it’s my favorite part about my game (or one of).
People know themselves better than I know them.
So designing is kinda like setting traps.
If you’re trying to catch a rabbit, you might lay down a carrot under a bin or some shit, and wait for a rabbit to come eat it.
Then you snatch the fucker and you got a rabbit.
To me, that is linear storytelling.
You got yourself a charming white guy with a decent tan, you put him on a tank or in a car and next to some woman who is literally only there to be hot and hetero, and you’ve got yourself a story.
It’s boring.
If you want to catch a specific rabbit rather than just any rabbit, you tell a specific story.
Layer two.
Salt and pepper the carrot to taste.
Salt-and-pepper-loving rabbit comes and has a fuckin’ blast.
You catch salt-and-pepper rabbit.
This is what I see happening in the space of younger designers.
Making games for their people.
This is where I started, and it’s a damn good place to be.
Where I ended up, though, was almost an accident.
Or maybe it was subconscious, because some layers were just side effects of my main mission.
It’s when you let each specific person choose their own bait.
But it only works with shared circumstances.
The shared circumstance is the trap itself.
We’re all stuck in the shit.
We’re the fuckin’ rabbits.
If you lean over to someone and say: “How’d you get stuck here?”, then you’ve got their hook.
So I designed a space where the beginning is why you’re going to be caught.
You’re a rabbit.
“It’s wabbit season!” The end is that you’re probably going to be eaten.
As rabbits, we know this well.
We share this fate.
So don’t ask a question.
Leave a blank.
If that made any sense at all — which it very well may have not — then you’ll see what happens with Mutants.
People know marginalization.
I just point to it and say: “Hey, you know that shit.
It’s that.
You know it better than anyone.” Then I say: “We all know that whatever we do in the time we spend will not end it.
We may push over a domino, but we won’t see the last one fall.” So all that’s left is to say: “It’s your time.” People mirror cities that they know, putting in direct forms of legal marginalization, as well as its lasting effects, right into their fictional communities.
They put in redlining, they put in colorism, they put in xenophobia, they put in police violence, they put in all of the evils that they see marginalized people deal with every day, and/or that they personally experience.
That’s why it’s still a viable game for white cishet dudes to play.
They know what marginalization looks like.
They don’t see that part as a problematic thing to deal with, ever.
It’s being there and only knowing the fictional, offensive, and vile representations of the people they now play.
That’s what makes them uncomfortable.
But the game teaches them reality, even if they play it through tropes.
[The game] will be unfair, it will oppress them, it will hurt the people they love.
Mechanically, they can’t solve the real issues.
That’s what really makes it work.
You can’t solve a damn thing.
You can only walk into the goddamn trap and eat your carrot.
“Catching your rabbit 3” by peganum CC-BY @Flickr ET: I like the way the system in Mutants grants player-characters agency without either fulfilling some kind of power fantasy or arbitrarily subjecting them to the will of the gamemaster.
What is a memorable anecdote from actual play of this game.

DC: My favorite parts of the AP (F L A R E) are scattered across so many moments

The ability for all the black people at the table to enjoy cultural references that were only for us, while the two white players were just enjoying us enjoying ourselves… those were some sweet moments.
That’s how it could be much more often in all walks of life.

ET: You have recently assembled a data trove on the business side of TRPGs

In addition, you have been a strong advocate for TRPG and larp creators earning revenue off their work more reflective of the actual labor that has gone into it.
You have organized many designers of color around making a fair wage for their original work and freelance work for others.
What are some striking findings you’ve made in this advocacy work.
DC: Something that became clear very quickly is that white people are so fucking scared.
Like, actually in fear of losing their whiteness.
It doesn’t matter how liberal they are.
If they haven’t come to understand that whiteness is not their culture, and that it is literally a brand given to them that means “you don’t have to deal with this shit,” then they reflexively become afraid of losing it once PoC start thriving.
And they do this because they know capitalism.
If we’re making it, then they’re losing it.
That’s how people see it; big time.
That’s why they’ll have us as guests at cons to show us off, as one or two skin colors on their [actual play streams] (APs), as signs that they don’t have that reflexive fear.
But most of them do, and it’s easy to see now.
Clear as day, in the face of the sun.
ET: What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered DC: Whew.
PoC are scared too.
This fear is reasonable.
I’m not a messiah.
I’m not better than the last black person to get up and say something.
Historically, the US has made it clear that leaders get killed.
It’s literally why [Black Lives Matter] doesn’t have a singular social-facing figure or leader.

PoC take a long time to get to trust a movement

We’ve been burned by the system, by these white people who don’t understand the stakes for us at all, and by each other.
I’m not talkin’ about life and death.
I’m talkin’ about the courage it takes to step out and put yourself out there.
Whether or not you want it, people are going to judge you.
White people will say the same things in a seemingly harmless place like TRPGs (ha) that we’ve heard in our traumatic life experiences.
We’ll get the same treatment that we get any time we show up in a majority white space.
Being paraded around for a bit for liberal cred points, gaining little or no pay, or progress, and then pushed behind some mediocre white person.
And we say mediocre because if you open up a professional TRPG that you think sucks dingleberries, the credits will be full of white dudes who have done the same thing in tons of books.
So I get tons of pushback on certain things, from a place of true concern for both me and them.
“Don’t fuck up the money,” “You can’t say that,” “Will this even work?” etc etc.
I’ve been crushed by people dissecting my work’s possibility of failure with essays of personal fears.
I’ve dealt with myself getting mad at others getting mad, and we’re both mad because we know how hard we’re all dealing with shit.
So it’s just anger with no real release.
That’s a real challenge.
Being good enough for people to believe in me, so that I can transition that belief into belief in their own self and their community’s functionality.
It’s ridiculous (that this is how society has taught us), but the higher up I get in social capital, the more people will believe me when I say that they’re amazing.
So I have to keep climbing as people try to see me as less and less of a human being and more and more as some celebrity or persona.
I don’t want any of that stuff, honestly.
Fame and pride are mostly counterproductive to my goal.
I have to deal with it more from other people than I have to do from myself.
I know what I want.
I want enough money to have a nice place to live, to pay my Mom’s rent, and to not have to worry about survival.
And I want everyone else to have a path to that same future.
The last challenge is, funny enough, turning all of this work into opportunity.
I work for myself right now living off of the BLESSED purchases of my games, my patrons (y’all are a fucking godsend), and my will to raise all boats.
I need to sustain myself with stable work and a better self-care routine (apparently I’m a workaholic).
I’m getting better at the things I have control over, because I have a choice and I know what I want.
But with all the accolades that people see me get, the big fish don’t really give a damn.
I’m supported 100% by my community.
That’s not going to last, and it’s really important that the money I’m getting is redistributed back into the community.
A lot of people and organizations need it.
So I want to relieve everyone of their chosen duty to support me.
And I wanna pay my Mom’s goddamn rent.
Anibal Quijano.
Photo from Universidad Ricardo Palma ET: Anibal Quijano, a Peruvian sociologist who just passed away last year, describes something he calls the “coloniality of power,” in which the history of capitalism is absolutely interwoven with racism and exploitation.
The inequalities we see in the present are by design in many ways, and much of white fear revolves not only around loss of power and privilege, but also around (justified) equity and restitution after centuries of injustice.
No one wants to own their ancestors’ and contemporaries’ crimes, and especially not their consequences.
How do white progressives unintentionally collude with systems of marginalization and exploitation, from your perspective.
DC: This is a good question.
White people need to realize a few things in order to actually start seeing what being white really is.
It’s not watching PoC, honestly.
That’s a part of it, but understanding whiteness in a way that allows people to pass through the door of being an actual good person comes down to understanding what whiteness is.
Whiteness is a creation, a label specifically made to say: “These are the people who have rights and who are prioritized in this country.
Everyone else stands at our will.” No white person traces their family tree back to Whiteland, WL 90210.
The actual identity of white people is taken away and traded for privilege.
Italians weren’t white.
Irish people weren’t white.
Jewish people aren’t white, even if they have some white privileges.
It’s the reason that no one bats an eye at St.
Patrick’s Day or any Jewish holiday, or celebrations of actual cultures with actual heritage.
White people, as soon as “white” became a legal term, only have a record of doing harm to non-white people.
That’s literally it.
You can’t choose to stop being white, but you can choose to stop aligning with whiteness on a personal level.
Actively stop resting on the laurels of whiteness and step out to learn.
From books and articles and recorded talks.
Because people usually ask PoC, which is the peak racial irony of this country.
ET: What trends on Twitch,, Kickstarter, and other gaming-related platforms do you see as having a seismic effect on the TRPG communities right now.
DC: Less gatekeeping. game jams accept everyone.

Regressive TRPG personalities are too caught up in their own scams to deal with Twitch really is setting a better standard for pricing games.
It’s become the culture of the community, and it’s absolutely beautiful to see.
There’s a lot more work to do, but at least we have a solid foundation.
Twitter has been changing.
More people have been confident in speaking their truths, and to find one’s self laid bare in a new space, and then to be surrounded by people who support you.
Who feel similarly.
That opens doors, inside and out.
Communities, or even just friendships and new channels of respect are opened.
[My] goal is to show everyone that they can do what I do.
Not in the unhealthy workaholic way, but they can speak out and be heard.
They can form communities, turn their brilliant ideas into realities, and make some damn good games.
The wave is building.
People are gaining strength through community, and that strength is greater than one singular person will ever be.
They’re going to do things most people will never be bold enough to accomplish, because they’ll continue to work together to raise all boats.
At that point it’s a goddamn armada. screenshot, taken June 8 2019.
ET: From a fellow community-builder perspective, I absolutely agree that the goal is to show others that they can do it too: design games, foster communities, support each other into greatness.
One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that these communities are often bound to specific platforms: certain gaming conventions, to be sure, but also mailing lists, forums, private servers, streaming services, group chats, and so forth.
With the collapse of Google+, the indie TRPG scene is thinking a lot about how a community connected to a specific platform is born, develops, and dies.
Twitter is serving you well as of late, coinciding with the exodus of indie TRPG creators from Google+ starting last year (and our accounts were deleted on April 2) and from Facebook since the past three years.
How do you deal with this ongoing platform dependency.
Are our interfaces and algorithms a big factor in determining who we are.
DC: We’re locked into the system of social media.
Google+ became what it was by chance, not by design.
We have platforms which have similar functions but the culture has to be born, not created.
Whatever we try to create is really just a guideline to follow, as whatever platform truly formulates how we participate.
Take Discord for example.
I’ve done a lot to try and make a Discord server full of over 500 people to be a place where everyone can communicate, but it’s not.
It never will be.
The more people are talking, the faster things get shot up the channel’s message board.
It’s hard to follow.
Twitter only gives us 240 characters, so people end up making long threads.
A system that has a character limit makes it hard for conversations to happen.
Replies can go all over the place if someone doesn’t chain them.
Notifications are a mess since if you screen for mentions only, it doesn’t account for [retweets].
On top of all of that, you might not even see Tweets from people you’d like to because your settings are set a certain way.
Nothing beats in-person conversations.
The nuance of humanity is lost online.
Most of what we build is parasocial until you really dive into getting to know someone.
These are the only things we have, so we do our best.
But Twitter is like a slowly spreading poison for our community, and for people in general.
Discord has a great deal of exclusivity and size problems.
I don’t think there’s any other way right now, however.

ET: What sorts of TRPG theory do you find the most useful for your designs

DC: I don’t fuck with theory.
At least not formally.
There’s probably a lot of value in the dissections of xyz, but it’s just not how I learn.
I like to have conversations and play games.
Or even just read them.
Not a lot of people know, but I haven’t played Blades in the Dark.
I’ve played a good number of hacks, but that was after being about half way through designing Mutants.
My point is that the theory is clear on paper when I read it.
It’s one of my two strong design skills.
Being able to read the code and not just the words.
Nothing beats seeing it in action though, because people can manipulate that code in ways I’d never think of.
Time and time again.
My theory is to build toward what you actually want.
Push hard to find out what that thing is, but once you know you can just build toward it.
Every piece you place is there to say another thing or to open another door.
To highlight and hint and guide and allude to.
The rest of theory is probably really valuable, but for now this is all I think about designing games.
Textbook slacker.
Featured image [Untitled] by rein -e- Art CC-BY @ Flickr Evan Torner is Assistant Professor of German Studies at the University of Cincinnati, where he also serves as Undergraduate Director of German Studies and the Director of the UC Game Lab.
He is co-founder and an Editor of the journal Analog Game Studies.
To date, he has published 9 co-edited volumes and special journal issues, as well as over 40 articles and book chapters in various venues.
His primary fields of expertise include East German genre cinema, German film history, critical race theory, and science fiction.
His secondary fields of expertise include role-playing game studies, Nordic larp, cultural criticism, electronic music and second-language pedagogy.
African-AmericanAmerican indie RPGsBlades in the Darkcritical game designDCDungeon Commanderevan tornerForged in the DarkmarginalityMutants in the Nightnon-binaryplot ARMORqueerrole-playing gamestabletop role-playing gamestabletop RPGs 2 4 Next →.