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Developer Flashcards by Cliff Bleszinski

August 9, 2012

With the help of the teams from Epic, People Can Fly, and ChAIR, Cliff Bleszinski compiled a list of ways in which developers try to persuade (i.e., manipulate) colleagues into accepting or rejecting ideas and development choices. While most of the items could simply be taken from a beginner’s course on inductive and deductive reasoning, the application of the various arguments in industry specific situations make the list somewhat illuminating and useful for identifying patterns of discourse in the consumer forums as well. Via The Cut.  Posted for local reference (excerpts below).

“It’s just X+Y”

This is when a developer dismisses another successful product, sour grapes style, because he can easily see the formula. The fact that the formula is so simple and obvious is often why said product is so successful.

For example, Words with Friends: “It’s just asynchronous Scrabble.” Yes, it is, and it’s brilliant.

“Think of the Children!”

This is otherwise known as “Cascading Dependencies.” The tendency is to shoot down an idea because it will cause more work for other departments, such as animation, UI, or art. Often, features that are interesting and/or worth doing have these sorts of ramifications as they combine all disciplines.

“The Gardener”

The Gardener plants the seed of an idea early and then brings it up again many times in meetings and in casual conversations with individuals around the office. Eventually, the idea starts to take root and grows on people until it becomes an actual feature in the game and no one can remember where the idea came from in the first place. This is actually a very useful technique.

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One Comment
  1. 3Suns permalink*
    August 9, 2012 4:05 pm

    And two other semi-related comments:

    Rod Fergusson left Epic for Irrational, which is good, because it would seem like everyone else is fleeing that skyship, as per usual for those who work under Ken Levine. I feel sorry for the people upon which Ken’s genius depends for its manifestation. Seems like he would fit in nicely over at Valve. LOL

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