You can start making your own games today. Yes, you!

…You seems to forget that this is Leigh Alexander’s turf.

I actually agree with you, though I am aware enough to look at my own history and see where I could easily be hypocritical.

I’m a sysadmin with almost 25 professional years in IT. I started in varying kinds of Unix systems, then Linux. When it came to Linux systems, I quit my (shitty) job at a small ISP, taught myself Linux in a couple weeks, then got a job as a Linux admin (at a better ISP). Then I see some upstart with a computer certificate from a community college … and it irks the hell out of me. I don’t have a CompSci degree (and don’t intend to ever get one).

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I think the ‘everyone make games’ idea is closer to the write a novel month. My understanding(possibly wrong), is that the goal isn’t normally for many these games to be good, or even to be published, but just for people to better understand their hobby and possibly to see if they’d be interested in doing it more seriously in the future.


That’s an interesting way of looking at it; I hadn’t thought of it that way. But something just seems a teensy bit off about the comparison. It’s my general understand that there’s some inherent value in just being able to sit down and mash out 50,000 words over the course of a month, in that it’s a difficult feat even if the result is derivative and nowhere near readable.

But what would the equivalent be in terms of a “game” ? I suppose it’s considerably easier nowadays to create something that’s at least barely functional (as opposed to a mass of code that won’t even compile), but only in the sense that you’ll likely only be able to make something that’s generally the same as what anyone else could put together. Suddenly I find myself thinking of ye olde ZZT, nearly 25 years old at this point.

I guess there’s some benefit in the planning and execution that can point one in the direction of further learning, and give one an appreciation of what is involved in more complex projects.

Agreed. Can’t understand why anyone would bash or look frown upon the idea. And, if you think something’s missing, you can always suggest your own links.

Well, history is kind of like that. There are plenty of people who imagine themselves as experts in history because they read a few books. that being said, much fewer of them are making a living as a historian. [ETA] Though there are plenty of historians written by non-academic historians that sell well.

The fact is, like it or not, coding is becoming a critical skill, for a number of reasons. And the industry has a vested interest in getting as many people involved, because the larger the pool of possibly employees, the lower they can pay their workers.

How can you be an expert in History if you aren’t making it?

I agree… being a historian means writing history. But they don’t see it as a skilled field, with its own mode of creating knowledge, etc. It’s just “shit that happened in the past” as opposed to a discussion about what happened in the past, why, and what that meant/means, all culminating in some new form of knowledge about the past.

as opposed to church, then?

I mean, that’s what church does, right? :wink:

Which history?

I studied archaeology, but reading up on histories, there seems to be an immense difference between the history of the past, where textual/historical sources are scarce, and often nonexistent, or lost, the history of the recent past, where textual/historical sources are common, and specialists can insist “no text, no history,” and the history of the present, where survivors are still alive.

I think history should be part of the human sciences, and the historical sciences, but I don’t understand the details of these particular approaches to these particular sets of evidence. I wish I did.

Dude… I think you just managed to confuse me.

Which history is a fair question and I think the answer to that lies in the debates about history.

As a modern historian, I do tend to focus textual sources because they are often (somewhat) readily available, but I do think you can get a fair amount out of material sources as well, for both recent and ancient (where that’s nearly all you have).

I don’t know if you can make history a science. Marx thought so. I’m more in the school of thought that history is a space of discussion about what the sources mean about the past. I don’t know if we can replicate the past in any sort of objective way. It’s much more of a philosophical debate about what these things mean.

My favorite example is actually in holocaust studies, where a debate about the nature of the holocaust erupted in the 80s among German historians:

Now of course, that’s part of the history of the creation of that field of study.

To be quite honest, I suspect that the nuances of any field are often created to justify the professionalization of the field itself, if that makes sense. To think that some people can’t understand how to interpret a set of sources is odd to me, as I feel it’s a skill that people can be taught, less than some form of rarefied genius or something. I do think that people who become professional historians (like any other field) work damn hard to get where they are…

Iirc, the ancient Romans considered history a branch of literature… with frustrating implications…

One of my ongoing projects has been to try to reconstruct Spartacus’s revolt, and one of my stumbling blocks has been the size. We can’t really rely on archaeological evidence. We have to rely on literary-historical sources, and Roman ones often lie about numbers, and almost all the sources which relay numbers borrow from the lost books of Titus Livius, with the possible exceptions of Plutarch and Frontinus who might borrow from the last Histories of Sallustius. Now some professional historians such as T. Rice Holmes, iirc, claim that the different sources contradict each other, but they don’t [with one exception, where different sources merged two battles into one, but Frontinus refers to two]. If we put the numbers in one order, cnsistent with the narratives, they tell a fairly consistent story of growing numbers before Crassus takes command, and of grueling attrition after Crassus takes command. Other professional historians, such as Barry Strauss, claim that the numbers are just too high, and offer their own guesstimates, without explaining how many of these people are supposed to be soldiers, other adults, children, etc. which is an important issue.

So while “how to read sources” might be relatively obvious, “how to do numbers, and whether to use numbers from the sources,” is not obvious.

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i’m in the industry, such as it is, and she seems great. the indies, and the super indies, have an energy and drive that’s often greatly lacking in the triple-a.

Absolutely. How a society imagines history and its role in society changes how you do history.

I don’t think reading sources is obvious though, for exactly the reason you describe. Even things that seem straight forward from modern sources are full of bias, and you always have to take that into account. If I’m reading a source from the State Department, that is going to bear that mark of the department, the president, the individual writing the document, and the goals of the American government at that time… It’s not quite the same as attempting to sort through a literary-historical source, but you do have to figure out biases and work with those.

the best parallel i’ve ever been able to come up with is zines. art for art’s sake, and the love of making stuff.

there really is value in trying longer pieces - like nanowrimo novels - but it’s not for everyone. some indies get by by making great “novellas”, it’s all to each their own.

that’s the part that’s cool to me. seeing a whole new medium of art and storytelling spring up. i dont think it happens in human history all that often.

Yeah, I might have expanded on that a bit.

I mean that church is a place where those things happen. Albeit in a form where the answers are always the same, no matter the question, and the history texts are a thousand plus years out of date.

I got to disagree with you on that point. Theology is just as dynamic as any other field in many ways - even if you disagree with them, they really aren’t moribund. There are constantly new ideas about the texts, what they mean, and how they should be applied to people’s daily lives. They are texts that are interpreted daily in some cases, as people consult these books as they go about their lives. In that sense, they are contextual books that really are very much alive. If religion didn’t change, I doubt it would still be around.

Protestantism was an entire fork that led to hundreds and hundreds of new ways of looking at the texts, in different languages, by new people. I think that if you had a Christian from like 200AD talk to a Christian from now, they wouldn’t understand each other’s religious practices at all.

So, church does sound a lot like history as you were discussing above?

But not all churches. More than a few without doctrinal flexibility (which are the ones I meant, those that use ancient texts as law).

I’m a unitiarian, I definitely see how some are flexible, how they grow and adapt. Or, alternately, how they contstrain their members in some attempt to hold them to the past. All of them are places though where ‘what happened in the past, why, and what that meant/means’ culminate in some new knowledge about the past. Just a pithy point really.

Anyone who can code, can code (and that could be anyone, you just don’t know yet) makes more sense. I know I can’t (well, I kind of can, but it makes me crazy).

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