Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Trying hard to embrace change

Change is hard. And change gets way harder the older you get. There is probably a lot of research about brain plasticity or neuron replacement or other clever ways to explain why older people are often less accepting of change, but I think it comes down to basic maths. For example if you are 65 years old right now, for probably 63 of those 65 years, the idea of school children wanting to change gender was laughable, just not a thing. Basically 96.9% of your experience of the world is that kids stick to the same gender they were born with. Changing an assumption you have held for 96.9% of your life is HARD. Our brains seem hard wired to work with ‘common sense’ and believing what we have known to be true for a long time.

For someone aged 18, those 2 years are 11% of their life, and if we ignore the first five years of both parties, we get 3% versus 15%.  In other words, there is a simple mathematical basis for the fact that its harder to accept (or notice) change as we age. This is also probably partly the cause of Brexit. If you are 18-24 Britain doesn’t seem to have changed much socially in your life. Aged 65? its changed a LOT.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that what’s true in life in general is also true in game development. Gaming changes, rapidly, ALL THE DARNED TIME, and as indie developers get older and more experienced, we have to be absolutely sure we see change coming, and we change with it.

I started this blog over a decade ago using ‘blogger’. Then it changed to ‘wordpress’, then it became my own hosted wordpress install on my site, then it got a custom theme. I wonder if in the future, this blog will exist, and if it should eventually just become a place to post blog videos, of the type I do for Production Line. Youtube, and video content in general is HUGE, and increasingly I get the view that young people (the next gen of gamers) would rather watch and listen than read, sadly. (by any reckoning reading is better. You read at your own pace, and can copy and paste text into messages and so on).

A 2017 study showed that:

“The 25-34 (millennial) age group watches the most online videos and men spend 40% more time watching videos on the internet than women. ” 

That demographic is pretty much my audience, and my games do tend to skew slightly male. Video is not ‘the future’ video is now, and last year, and the last few years.

So video is king. Why do I even type stuff any more? Am I being resistant to change. Here is another study conclusion:

“Blog posts incorporating video attract 3x as many inbound links as blog posts without video.”

Also.. who is the audience. I make games that appeal to people in the UK,USA,Canada and Australia/NZ and to a growing extent Germany. This is not by design, its just that I’m English and I tend to translate my games after release, not on the day of release. I’ve never sent out a Chinese Press release, or hired a Chinese PR firm. but maybe I should? The most popular language on steam is now Chinese. I am, restricting my games to a small niche because I am targeting a niche language (English). Does anyone reading this really think that this will swing back the other way in their lifetime?

The future is doing blog posts as videos by fluent mandarin speakers. Thats just undeniable.

We are still ironing out some technical issues, but even with some annoying bugs, the % of revenue for Democracy 3 that comes from China each month has risen from 1% to 8%, because we now have a Chinese translation and unicode support. It also looks pretty cool:

As an established indie in his late forties, I can pretty much ride the current wave and retire (just about). If you are 18-24 and starting to work on a career as an indie game dev, your future is a mandarin video about your game. Get learning.

5 thoughts on Trying hard to embrace change

  1. Man, that reference to one of my favourite books just got me; loved it! Also: thanks for that video; I think I’ll be spending quite some time on that channel in the near future. Hope you get around to making Kudos 3 before you retire though ;)

  2. 31/M – Hate watching videos for all sorts of information gathering. Slow and terrible. Keep typing! Now hopping back to finish the article. :)

  3. Thanks for the typing.

    If I see something’s a video then I’ll pass.
    I haven’t got the time to waste on that.
    (Text is much easier to search and scrub through than video too)

  4. Hi Cliff, I did not know where else to write this, but GTB and GSB have such a beautiful soundtrack. I do not know where this music came from but thank you!!!

  5. There’s some quite promising (well, if you take “it was on tv” as promising enough) results had in the life extension and brain research. The most interesting ones related to gut flora having to do with aging and the other was that some drug or two that are apparently quite safe compared to most stuff out there (or perhaps this is due to not enough empirical study.. idk)… summary: if those results can be extrapolated, they suggest ability to stop aging (animal study claimed even ability to reverse it to some degree) with flora modification and get a “stuck” brain back to learning well with just one drug trip. Of course I have a bit of this “stuck” so I can’t recall what drug it was but I did take a note somewhere I can’t remember where (have notes all over the place).

    Another interesting doc demonstrated how meditation, breathing and willpower could be used to control some processes in the body. (in the doc it was demod that you could cause adrenaline generation. In my own experimentation I’ve found ability to control sperm generation and thus some degree of overall hormone levels which are suggested to relate to aging as they can accumulate to some degree). My most radical thinking is that if one dedicated a ton of time to these matters one might be able to force body to evolve while still alive – by evolve I mean possibly evolve from mere healing from flu or healing a wound to actually healing aging conditions inside the body such as the flora issue. Then you could regain youth without any gross things (the “fish eating baby fish feces get younger” is pretty gross solution imo and not sure any human is willing to try that one out…).

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