Tool Development: Starting Out


Now we're getting into the thick of it! As the semester gets into gear, I'm in a time of beginnings. And in my experience, there's no harder time creatively than when you're a) trying to start something, or b) trying to know if you're finished with something. I've had a really difficult time coming up with a thesis project - I just can't land on something that excites me. After a year of making games every single day, suddenly the inspiration-well had gone dry.


So, one of the professors here suggested I make a list of games I like, then make a tool that will suggest game ideas. Once I have that tool, I should tune it until it starts suggesting games on the list of games that I like.


I took that suggestion to heart, and made this, a tool that learns what you like as you rate the suggestions it makes for you. Basically, every phrase or word in the tool starts with a neutral weight, and over time depending on how you rate suggestions, the phrases gain more and more positive or negative weight, making them show up more or less frequently. The version I uploaded to itch has a "reset" built into every new load, so as long as you leave your window open, it'll keep learning your likes and dislikes, before refreshing it when you reload the page. If anyone wants a build they can keep that will keep track of their individual choices, let me know!

Other Tool Development:

From the last blog post, I've started work on the non-digital design companion, the prototype of which is going to be extending the functionality of Google Sheets to understand game-specific context. I've started with the low-hanging fruit (probability related to decks and cards), but my goal in the coming weeks is to flesh it out to understand things that would be difficult to do natively in Google Sheets.


Also this week, I have two other minor projects I'm starting up - the first is a kind of reverse-analytics server (one that could display analytics to the client) for Zach Gage to use in his games, and the other is to create a prototyping Database and workflow for a tabletop designer. It's going to be an exciting week!

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© 2019 by Jack Schlesinger