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I'm not convinced that this wasn't the second biggest mistake of my life (imgur.com)
449 points by baud147258 3 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 124 comments

Given the post's lack of detail relating to the experience of creating the game itself, I fear OP is treating his craft as a means to an end; instead of loving his craft for what it is. I fell into a similar trap when, after leaving my job to pursue my "passion," I became my own slavemaster, treating myself as resource for production, and eventually learned to hate my once cherished activities. I hope OP's game succeeds; regardless, I would not recommend, to anyone, to pursue a personal hobby, dwelling, or passion as a means to reaching some external reward.

> Given the post's lack of detail relating to the experience of creating the game itself, I fear OP is treating his craft as a means to an end; instead of loving his craft for what it is.

I'm sure this is true for some people, but it seems to completely disregard the problems this guy went through and his personal context.

It's true that programming and/or game development may be a craft to some people, but it doesn't sound like it was for this guy.

He went through something bad, was censored and censured for talking about it, and came out of the wringer feeling betrayed and lost. It sounded like something went wrong with his little brother, too.

Rather than the "I have a dream and I want to make this game real" story we usually see, this sounds more like a guy turning to his hobby as a therapeutic outlet, specifically:

> While my career was falling apart, I decided to start making a video game. Normally I might have played a video game as a way to retreat from the world. But instead I channeled all of my anger, sadness, disappointment, and frustration into a project that became the video game you see above. . . . I can take some fictional people, make everyone betray them for all their own petty and cowardly reasons, and our protagonists will just have to deal with it. . . . So now I've resigned from a job I had grown to despise, and I'm channeling my frustration into something productive as a way of dealing with everything that had happened.

This post is certainly an advertisement for his game, but it's also definitely a way to try to vent about things he's not allowed to talk about -- I can't imagine how frustrating that must be.

I think that saying that his feelings now are due to his misunderstanding of "his craft" is needlessly dismissive.

You're right; I don't know OP, and I've probably made some assumptions that are incorrect, but that's just the inevitable consequence of stating anything positively. I did, however, try not to attempt to state anything about OP's personal character or feelings. My initial inspiration for my comment was based on the quote you mentioned above: he channeled his anger/frustration into his craft. To me, that sounded like he found a dwelling in his craft for programming, and it reminded me of one of my own personal experiences

I coach people in these circumstances. In most cases they simply lack a model for what constitutes a hobby-type skill vs. what constitutes a full-time+-type skill. They don't know how to tell the difference without diving in and trying it. And I sympathize, having done that myself.

IMO a really basic helpful model is: 1) thing I could do in my sleep and still amaze people with OR make money with == means of making a living and 2) thing that excites me and yet always seems just out of reach == hobby.

However the devil is in the details and you cannot by easily diminish the excitement of #2 (above) because you risk becoming the enemy just by suggesting that it not be prized above all other work. So there are other models which must be skillfully employed to help tease out this comprehension. It's kind of a minefield, actually.

Regarding 1) thing I could do in my sleep and still amaze people.

It is a bit dangerous to be unconsciously good (ie in my sleep) at something and think that you can make money with it.

Let's take something like chess. Unless you are a TOP 10 player, you are not going to be making a good living from chess unless you go into secondary sources of income: teaching,writing, coaching. Source: as a master I know many poor grandmasters.

So there has to be a market demand for the skill that you have deliberately practiced to be unconsciously good at.

Like that guy who can skip a stone 88 times. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0_hEvNOqGM

He certainly enjoys it and people are amazed by it. However there is a very limited demand for experienced stone skippers.

Yes, this is a good example of what I consider the fundamental work to be done in the area of #1. A lot of career books and tools aim at this kind of approach as well. I also use a Role/Group/Reward model that makes it clear that even if you have an offer on the table where you'd be playing chess for great money, you still have inquiries to make.

Unfortunately, there is hardly any good measure for future market demand. There's just unproven heuristics, overarching anecdotes and random guesses.

Maybe it would help if the term "hobby" managed to lose its stigma of "uptight, unproductive nonsense". A substantial part of today's (open source) software landscape has begun as work from hobbyists. There are hobbies (like cosplay or - yes game development) which take enormous dedication, manage to amaze a lot of people and, in rare cases, can make the hobbyist famous.

Nevertheless, those are usually not the things you spontaneously think of when you hear the term. So maybe untangling the different motivations and giving more value to things that are not immediately meant to make a living could help to make a change.

That's an interesting perspective for not following your passion. Could you elaborate on the experience as to how following your passion seemed appealing but actually wasn't?

the problem is that when you turn a passion into a job you get a lot of other things that you may not passionate about.

i had a passion for programming in highschool. but i absolutely hated working 9-5 in an office environment. the problem was when i had that experience as an intern i didn't know why i hated it. it took me years to figure out what the real problem was and to find the kind of work that aligned with my passions and avoided the things i didn't like about it while also along the way changing my feelings about some aspects (9-5 looks less bad when other factors are good (i still avoid it though)).

I don't think he intended to use this post to talk about game development, he's doing it on a forum thread + reddit and imgur posts. He might have taken the Opportunity that his CV has been cleared.

Here's the thread if you are interested:


This is very simple, but very wise advice. Hard learned.

> I would not recommend, to anyone, to pursue a personal hobby, dwelling, or passion as a means to reaching some external reward.

Why not?

A passion is something that is personal and internal. It's your direct experience with a craft that is becomes a natural extension of you. When you change your relationship to that craft such that you require some external means, it no longer becomes purely internal. In today's culture, which (I believe) overvalues monetization and productivity, it is easy to be swept into external desires for accomplishment. And, even if you do achieve your goals, it is very difficult to go back to re-experience the original internal, personal relationship you enjoyed with that craft

Well, basically do what you love because you love it. Treat your occupation as a business, even if you are just an employee. That (at least to me) is a good way to think things through in their proper context.

If a person loves their occupation then that's great! But he/she still needs to treat it as a business rather than a mission for a higher cause (even if it was a mission for a higher cause) because without financial insight it gets hard to prioritize things.

That means you have the choice between:

a) Working without passion and having almost no time for what you are passionate for.

b) Working with reduced passion. And if you are a bit lucky even lots of passion.

I think (b) is preferable.

And don't see why in a) you couldn't manage to have time for your passions, i.e. leave at 5. For me it meant lowering my ambitions and not trying to be fulfilled only by me work, but instead make time for unproductive activities (hobbies/friends/family). Even if I have less money in the end I feel way better.

although I don't think it necessarily applies in this case from all I've read in all cases where you look to your hobby activities as a source of needed financing those hobbies become more like work. Hopefully it is work that succeeds for him, and that he will enjoy.

> Anyone interested in an infuriating tale of mismanagement, fraud, incompetence, duplicity, backstabbing, turf wars, and tyranny of petty authority, I encourage to send a Freedom of Information Act request to NSA. Ask for the post "Beyond Mere Malice" from the Parting Thoughts blog, November 2016.

Anyone going to do this?

I just submitted a request. I’ll post an update here if I get a response.

If you're interested in accounts of CIA agents from South Asia that went horribly wrong you could always read Ralph McGehee's book.


It's from the Vietnam period, but it doesn't sound like much has changed based on OP's description.

I've submitted a FOIA request as suggested in the article. Not sure if there will be restrictions on sharing or publishing the document, but if it's allowed I'll gladly forward you what I receive. Drop me an email (see profile) and I'll make a note.

Link or more information on how to file the request?

Seriously? I typed 'FOIA' into Google, here's the first result: https://www.foia.gov/

There is a big blue button labelled 'Start your request'. I hope you can figure the rest out, heh.

I just did.

sounds like an issue with management, why?

Pretty much all job-related problems boil down to issues with management.

As the saying goes: you don't quit your job, you quit your boss.

GP was asking if anyone would send a FOIA request.

Do you want to get your name on a list?

Because that is how you get your name on a list.

Well, if you think you are a non-conformist or a rebel for asking about a blogpost on NSA intranet, then I applaud you.

defeatist attitudes don't help anything for anyone.

I think you mean "another list"...

Surely one more list wont make any difference, right?


Eventually you may end up on the list of people who are on a lot of lists? Seems suspicious.

Is there also a list of lists that people who are on a lot lists are on?

... and, most importantly, does this list contain itself?

I want to be on the list of people who are not on this list

I think it's important to consider list lengths; the people on the list of people on short lists are going to have a lot more abnormal things happen to them, good and bad, than the people on the list of people only on long lists. I do wonder which is the longer of the two lists, though.

Like a skip list. But for ... freedom?

Naw, we're all on a list. Where we rank is what matters.

I think this.

I had a friend who formerly worked for military intelligence in the UK who asked once (to a group) if we thought we were on the GCHQ database. I said yes, I would likely be in there and when he asked why I gave my reason, which is that I once did something that relatively, very few people have done and thus I have marked myself as ahead of the crowd in some way since it is probable that the government became aware of that. My friend did not confirm or deny but acknowledged my contribution. I presume he would be forbidden from revealing operational details like this but these days I think that yes I am in the database because we are all in it.

Its going to be a relational database and there is no single 'rank' as such but certainly accomplishments and connections are noted. If you speak <language> and they hear about that, they will note that. They might need a <language> speaker at short notice one day and you just happen to be there. They might need a person with a particular type and colour of car. They might need a pilot. All of these people are already available within the military but they might want somebody else. It is their job to keep tabs and I think they probably do it well.

This is a compelling story that may be true for the UK, but there is no such list in the US.

Sadly, recruiting for the intelligence community is probably around the same efficiency of your local state government. Recruiters go to college career fairs and review applications from the website. Most candidates are unqualified, crackpots, or both. A couple schools have professors that encourage students to work for agencies, so alumni from these schools are overrepresented in the IC.

Occasionally, an outstanding person is identified and recruited, but this is rare. It is almost certainly driven by a person on the inside giving a referral. The recruiters have no bandwidth to be spending time pursuing candidates in any kind of targeted fashion.

I think you're probably right, especially in the tech sector. If you've ever had a background check or security clearance or worked for any sort of agency which deals with crime or intersects with finance, aviation, military or any number of specialist sectors is probably enough.

> Where we rank is what matters.


Enjoy. :)

Edit: Wow, I've a LONG way to go to get on this list :/

I had no idea this leaderboard existed, or that I was in the top 50!

The amazing thing is how quickly it ramps up for the top 10. tptacek is more than double the second position, with 310k karma. I'm not sure how someone gets that much. Maybe submissions used to net more karma in the past?

Gotta boost your credit scores in China somehow!

Is someone checking it twice?

Yes, apparently FTA it's the CIA's counterintelligence unit.

Sounds like OP's pissed and he's ready to slice...

...some of the NPCs that are in his way.

(Yeah, there's another song that has "He's making a list, and he's checking it twice".)

Why care if one is on some list?

I wish OP well, but as a person from South Asia, it's very hard to not have a bitter taste left in my mouth when you mention you used to be an CIA officer in South Asia and then moved on to work for the NSA, no less.

I understand that the CIA have been villains in many different countries, but I didn't know about their involvement in South Asia. Could you elaborate a bit?

Here is a (very) incomplete list of recent CIA activities in South Asia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CIA_activities_in_Pakistan

Going back to the 80's, you have Operation Cyclone, which was the CIA operation to arm and finance the mujahadeen against the USSR, which led to the creation of the Taliban, 10 years of brutal theocratic rule and ethnic cleansing in Afghanistan, and ultimately to the September 11th attacks on the United States, and to the (still ongoing) NATO occupation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Cyclone

I don't know much about India, but it looks like the CIA may be implicated in the assassination of Indira Gandhi, and bombed a plane in the 50's in an attempt to kill Zhou Enlai. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CIA_activities_in_India

I think GP is pretty justified in saying that the presence of a CIA/NSA operative in South Asia would leave a bad taste in his mouth.

> which was the CIA operation to arm and finance the mujahadeen against the USSR, which led to the creation of the Taliban

That is actually not what happened. The mujahadeen are not precursors of the Taliban. Matter of fact, the mujahadeen and Taliban fought each other. Many members of the mujahadeen left to join the Taliban but they are not the same. The Taliban was started by students.

Mujahideen are not a single group of people, check the meaning. Taliban was started by Omar who was trained by Pakistan (with CIA and Saudi Arabia throught it) during Soviet-Afgan war. He used books about jihad made and published by University of Nebraska-Omaha as a part of education. That's the only 2 links I know.

Mujahideen just the plural form of mujahid: a person who engages in Jihad. It is not a specific group. The term applies equally well to the Taliban as the many other groups that operated in Afghanistan.

Not in this case. The mujahideen were a specific group of warlords who fought against the taliban (which just means 'students' by the way).

No, they really were not a specific group. There was eventually an organization that organised some of the biggest groups of mujahideen in Afghanistan into a couple of alliances (the Peshawar 7 and the Teheran Eight being two of them), but there were many other groups as well.

The Taliban did not in any case organize until after infighting broke out again among those groups, and the Taliban's growth came in large part exactly because these groups were far more disunited at the point the Taliban was rising than during the war against the Soviets.

Indeed, but the Taliban's rapid recruitment and easy access to heavy weapons was a direct consequence of the US support of the Mujahideen

AHH yes how could I forget the CIA's involvement in Afghanistan. Thanks for the reminder!

South Asia includes Afghanistan and Pakistan, to name just two. What's to wonder?

Like most intelligence agencies of wealthy countries, the CIA has agents everywhere at all times. They may or may not be actively engaged into questionable activities, but you can be sure they are there, at the very least as diplomatic personnel. Your own country likely has equivalents in the US. It’s just how it is, the world is a bad place.

I presume that a lot of intelligence gathering is rather benign...

Analyzing the course of political debate and the mood is important to understand a country you're working with. Not that this is particularly secretive work.

> I presume that a lot of intelligence gathering is rather benign...

Well put, Mr. Google. ;)

I can't speak much to the military things in this post, but I will just add that as someone who also tried to make money from video games for quite some time in the recent past, it's _such_ a hard way to make money.

Web development has not been nearly as "fun", but it's been so much more lucrative. If you want to make video games as a business, I'd say make your money first with "boring" work and then making a video game can be fun since you don't have to have the financial pressure overhanging it. You hear the indie darling success stories like Undertale, Stardew Valley, etc. But I imagine that the common case is: "Spend lots of time, then nothing happens."

Currently saving up a retirement nest egg to work on video games full time. Your advice matches with my own research.

Not to make light of a serious situation but if this is some kind of viral marketing I’m actually impressed. It’s captivating.

I mean the author even says:

> Is this an advertisement for the video game I'm working on? Well, honestly, yeah, it kind of is.

I'm more than okay with seeing this sort of thing, whether or not it's an advertisement, as long as it provides value to read. I hope someone sends in that FoI request and posts it later (I might do so myself once I have access to a computer), as the context sounds fascinating.

Interestingly, this is also much more effective than traditional advertising, at least for me - I'll be keeping an eye on this game when it goes to early access, whereas I actively avoid the majority of products I recognize from advertisements.

I'd say it's a great example of Simon Sinek's advice "People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it".


Thank you, that's a really wonderful and interesting video. It all seems a little too easy and too sensible to be the cause of such radically outlying success. But it certainly presents an interesting narrative that I'm going to try and use in presentations and in convincing others in the future.

It definitely is. This kind of advertising is pretty commonplace, you can see it all over reddit. This guy just happened to explicitly say it was.

It's a commentary on our age that your first thought is that it might be a lie.

It's one side of a story, where all the details of that side (let alone the opposing side) are classified. I'd take it as a rule of thumb not to trust it.

Most likely its a) probably far more interesting to the participants than a public audience and b) could easily just be your typical government/big corp managerial politics issues, as it's rarely the talent who float to the top of administrative (and risk-oriented agencies like the CIA are super administrative).

Those stories are typically built on type of a ton of tiny small insignificant interpersonal issues that snowball into bigger problems until they start affecting real work. The type of problems that could easily have been dealt with far earlier on in the process had reasonable adults been in charge.

Was there an age when people blindly trusted everything they read? Healthy skepticism can be a very good thing.

It's taking things to an extreme – like automatically mistrusting the source because it seems to attempt playing the reader's heartstrings – that's a defining characteristic of the Internet era.

Not everyone makes up their stories, and not nearly everyone is lying – but there are people who will abuse the natural trust people exhibit, and take the profits into their pockets, as opposed to helping their fictional cause.

It's so prominent because there's a whole lot of people who do that. Similar to the "vocal minority" phenomenon, people start assuming that everyone in the same group is <something>, regardless of how valid the assumption is, because of the exposure towards a certain kind of the group's members.

Anyone interested in an infuriating tale of mismanagement, fraud, incompetence, duplicity, backstabbing, turf wars, and tyranny of petty authority, I encourage to send a Freedom of Information Act request to NSA.

Haven't we gotten the distinct impression that the unsupervised services are rife with such experiences, even more than other federal government bureaucracies? When it's illegal to go the press, very few people do so.

It sounds like big organization problems and office politics that you can find anywhere. Academia is a good example. Nothing unique here or surprising.

Wow that's dystopian. I've worked in large organizations enough to know that they aren't my cup of tea, but I've never seen things sink to these levels. Why would humans voluntarily join such organizations? (Yeah, I know, to make a living... but TFA seems to indicate that there are other options.)

When work situations get really intolerable, the civil courts are always an option. Except, for the unsupervised services they aren't. I'm sure that makes a difference.

Counterpoint: Michael O'Church

What does he have to do with unsupervised intelligence services?

I think the comment was on the wrong parent, most likely intended for the video game part of the conversation.

Funny enough I had a related talk with a friend just yesterday. Say that there is a hard contest with cruel winning odds which -if you succeed- you get a permanent position in a public sector body (say ECB) with very good salary for life. Also say that the situation in private sector (job market) goes to hell and shows no signs of reverting any time soon. Then say you succeed and get that lifer position where no one can fire you from but yourself. Then imagine you get a boss or an environment that it is so damned toxic that is unbearable. But still no one can fire you. No one but you. But now the dilemma is huge. Do you quit a permanent position and jump back to hell (even less well equipped since the time you left it) or do you just hang on in there hoping for a wind change? The stakes are much higher than if you were in yet another private job where you'd be just refreshing your CV and interviewing.

Dunno - I guess there are cases where you need to be careful what you wish for.

This sounds like the tale of many Brazilian civil servants. Civil servants in Brazil are either indicated by someone ("comissionados"), which means your job is tied to the current administration, or you've passed in a selection and have your job stability for life ("concursado"). These selections usually have tens or hundreds of thousands of people competing for a handful of vacancies, so people spend years studying and doing many of these (they're called "concurseiros"). Once you're in, you're set for life.

Adding to this, the public sector pays much more than the private sector (often 50% ~ 100% more). Have job stability, generous vacations and other benefits. Depending on where you are (federal, state or municipal government levels), you also have a special retirement plan that gives you 100% of your salary when you retire (the private policies are capped at around 4.5 minimum wages, for comparison a good dev in the bigger cities can get about 10~15 minimum wages).

And so we have many "lifers" in the public sector, and this kind of job is the dream for many people (which is terrible IMHO).

To a large extent a job is what you make of it. I understand why being a lifer might seem terrible to one and a dream to another. There are no constants here - it's all relevant.

Someone gets a permanent position and is dragging his feet and dying out of boredom. Someone else sees that as an extra degree of freedom (not having to worry about his job security) and he is branching out say to explore/contribute to a tech stack that is not popular with employers.

I hope it's a blockbuster. But this line bothered me:

"This ends here. Anything you write from here on out, we have to approve. If you write a tell-all book without our permission, you go to prison. Any questions?"

I hope that does not apply to software.

My father was a career diplomat for the US Foreign Service. He retired in 1988, and when he wrote a book based on the world of The Wizard of Oz, he still needed to clear it with the home office before publication. In 2012.

Which they did promptly. But yes, there are government jobs that have this sort of stipulation in them that covers anything you produce, ever again. (I'm neither defining nor maligning the practice, just providing an example.)

Sort of. Depending on the clearance issued, there are a number of requirements that endure even beyond the duration of clearance. Most of the time, this just applies to work related material. However, certain clearance levels require that all published material, regardless if it's work related or not, be reviewed. Truth be told, I don't know the exact details of these stipulations, but I know it to be a burden for those who engage in a certain kind of work. Here's an older editorial that talk about some of these details:


suppose you worked on a classified algorithm, then got a job at a not-so-secret place.

you could very well leak that algorithm out or even miscellaneous implementation details (or whatever) in your job at the new place, even unwittingly, and so .gov could argue that they'd need to audit that so as to ensure no classified info has not been disclosed via your work.

I expect there to be a follow-up that OP died in a tragic "accident".

With all due respect to him, it’s probably not worth the hassle.

He did say "CIA", not "FSB".

you are right, a suicide then.

That would imply competence.

Equal parts cynicism and pragmatism.

I'll buy you a drink if you're ever in Sydney...

Oh, that was in my local arcade when I was a kid. They closed it down a couple of years ago sadly.

"I can take some fictional people, make everyone betray them for all their own petty and cowardly reasons, and our protagonists will just have to deal with it."

Birth of a genre.

Too late. George R. R. Martin beat him to it :-)

Also reminiscent of _Consider Phlebas_ by Iain M Banks.

Or an average RPG campaign based in the WoD Vampire setting.

Sounds like a fairly accurate description of Charlie Brown to be honest.

The wiki link for non-Americans who are unfamiliar with the character:


Suffering makes for great art. And this looks like some truly creative shit. Sorry, and thanks.

I'm going to go off on a tangent here, and I want to make it clear that I am not railing against karmakaze or suggesting they implied things they didn't say. It is just that in a more general sense I wish this notion of "suffering for art" would die, and this is just me venting my frustration with this meme (in the original sense of the word). Because I think it applies to the tech industry just as much.

Hannah Gadsby's put it into words better than I can in "Nanette", but sadly I can't link to a 1-hour Netflix special so my own angry take on this will have to do.

Yes, some art, specifically art about suffering, benefits from people who experienced suffering. Otto Dix is brilliant because he shows us the horrors of war he experienced[0][1]. And there is such a thing as posttraumatic growth[2], so sure, overcoming "suffering" can have benefits in general. Emphasis overcoming, though!

Other than that it's romantic nonsense that has been debunked by psychology time and time again. And it's dangerous nonsense too, because it leads to movies like Whiplash.

Don't get me wrong: it's a brilliant film, but because it's so dazzling I don't think people criticize the issues it has enough. Think about it: two of the most privileged white dudes in the world complain that Jazz is dying, and our main antagonist spends the entire film bullying, tormenting, sometimes flat-out gaslighting his students because he somehow believes that traumatizing them will make them as good as some of the worlds greatest musicians. Of course, he is being completely ignorant of the context that the latter lived in, of their personal histories. Suffering in itself does not inspire greatness, dammit.

Perhaps Whiplash's underlying thesis is that this is not true, nor justifyiable, but if so it's just like anti-war movies that end up glorifying war.

Because it ends with giving Terence Fletcher a moment to tell "his side" of the story. He shows no regret for bullying one of his students into suicide, "because a real Charlie Parker would have been able to take [my abuse]."

Holy freaking self-serving cherry picking survivor bias, Batman! First of all, we don't know if Charlie Parker would have been any less brilliant if he had had proper therapy for his inner demons. Perhaps he would have been more brilliant, ever considered that? Young John Coltrane suffered from heroine and alcohol addictions, but he wrote "A Love Supreme" after he had a religious experience and overcame those addictions. Not to mention the fact that we are ignoring countless of brilliant artist who are not suffering, which you don't hear about because it's not a juicy story.

So at the end of the movie the main characters are just as horrible, misguided and unaware of their own institutional whiteness and privileges as before, and haven't really learned anything. Then they give a dazzling performance that seems to suggest to us that yes, all of this was justified to give us this. It's ignorant, insulting and wrong.

Believing that suffering for art is necessary is a misguided, romantic and outdated and dangerous view of genius and I can't wait for it to die. No matter what field we are talking about.

[0] https://www.ottodix.org

[1] The appreciation of "ugly" art is actually a very interesting topic, I recommend Talk about a Painting: A Cognitive Developmental Analysis as a nice starting point.

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posttraumatic_growth

I take no offence to what you're saying. And I agree with most of it. I didn't mean 'suffer for art' in the Whiplash sense. I don't believe that great suffering is either necessary or sufficient for great art. I do believe that there is some collelation. If as in this example, you use art as an outlet from suffering, then it is being created as a result. Suffering isn't going to give you artistic abilities that you never had, but it may make you use what you do. It's conceivable to me that intense or prolonged suffering may also intensify or allow for larger/deeper works. That's all.

On seeing the presentation of this game and the story behind its making, I am touched but its truth and the balance of beauty with the matter of dealing with what's thrown at you. I hope to play it someday.

I don't disagree with you entirely but I think "suffering for art" is really just a corollary (admittedly, often taken to its absurd extreme) of the idea that art can't be created in a complacent vacuum.

I wholeheartedly support the claim that art cannot exist in a vacuum - I've ranted plenty of times about the whole notion of "autonomous" art (an invention of modernism), being problematic for that very reason.

But I disagree with idea that suffering for art is just "a corollary" to that. That would ignore that The Suffering Artist is an age old trope with a long history of examples of (IMO misplaced) hero-worshiping, which has nothing to do with this "complacent vacuum".

Yes, art (or science or tech or social change or whatever) is always created within a certain context, and this context may have obstacles that need to be overcome to create said art. Sometimes those obstacles involve suffering, and not everyone is willing to pay that price.

There is a romantic notion of believing in something greater than yourself and suffering for it, and sometimes that is true: Snowden was willing to suffer to get the truth out, and without it we wouldn't have known what we know now.

But knowing the context and the price of what you want to do, and paying it willingly does not imply that great art (any kind of "greatness") requires suffering, or worse: that an artwork becomes better if the artist suffered for it. That's an utterly banal reversal of causality.

I'm not convinced that this wasn't a sob story to advertise his game. Well done, because it seems to work.

He says it is at the beginning. See comments above.

"It's going to be a lot longer than that before I'm finished. But it's time for me to start moving along, and I'm releasing the game as an Early Access title on Steam next month. I don't know how well the game is going to sell. I've started looking for my next grownup job after this"

Am I understanding this correctly? He's dumping the game on 'Early Access' but isn't going to finish it? Hardly early access and more duping people, if I'm not mistaken?

Maybe he plans to continue developing the game as a hobby/side thing though and wants to see how much community interest there is for it. With some luck, it could become an ongoing thing like a webcomic.

I took it as it will be longer than 8 hours. If you include the previous sentence in you excerpt it becomes:

"It's playable now, through about 8 hours of content. It's going to be a lot longer than that before I'm finished."

I wish the author had posted this after it was available on Steam. I’ve read his story and I’d like to support him but I can’t. By the time it’s possible to buy this game I would likely have forgotten about it.

Still, kudos to him for persevering and getting his project to completion.

You can follow it on Steam and they will tell you when it is available, no?

A real question. I don't use Steam.

Yes, you can add it to a wishlist.

Wasn’t it some external contractor doing sentiment analysis for media publications for ISAF? The contract was cancelled by DoD after publication of an article in Stars and Stripes about censorship and denying access to battlefield for some journalists based on that reports. What was the role of the author in that?

I took the title the author used on a thread, since I think the title of the album is not explicit.

Well, the mods updated the title to the one of the album.

The previous title was "I started making a video game because the CIA was ruining my life"

if it made you happier, it was a good choice. if it makes you sadder, it was a good lesson, and that should make you happy :D

Excellent marketing, at least!

This petty, begging article might be the third biggest mistake

Some may not like the article, but now he is standing out of the thousands game developers. He got the attention.

what are the expertise needed to create such a game? it always looks magical to me how those games are created?

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