Links and Notes - April 9th 2021

The post went out on April 10th at 12:21 AM. This does mean that technically the streak was broken. But in all fairness, I was occupied with a 4 hour drive on the road that never sleeps: The Kandy Colombo road. Fairly certain some people are still stuck in a traffic jam at this time

Xtron Pro and possible game ideas

After thinking about simple programmable gaming devices I went ahead and purchased the Xtron Pro. Definitely an impulse purchase, but the more I read about the product, the more I feel excited about it. It even has the capability to emulate SNES games. I don't intend to be a luddite. At the same time, I find there to be a certain joy in games which have more simple mechanics but require a lot of work to play well. My favourite example being Super Meat Boy. Move, Jump, Sprint. That's it.

Anyways, my Xtron is on the way and I'm looking forward to programming games into it. I'm specifically looking to program some educational games into it. Thinking of the following to start with:

  • The goal is to solve simple x+y math equations
  • Players are given a choice between two platforms to jump on.
    • Each platform is labelled with a single number. The numbers are possible answers
  • If a player jumps on to the correct platform, they go higher and score more points
  • If they choose incorrectly, they fall down and receive their score.
  • Controls are only right and left
  • Optionally, the answer needs to be picked faster and faster

Also, after discussion with son, we want to make a grocery order fulfillment game inspired by overcooked. Fulfill as many orders as possible before the time runs out or your rating goes too low. I think I'm going to call it under-stocked.

Epic Games vs Apple

This was a great Twitter thread to read.

If you've been following apple or epic, you most likely have heard the spat that occurred between the two. Basically Epic says they want the freedom to bypass Apple's rules around payments and logins and what not. Apple says, no way. The rules are there for a reason because of the value and consistency it provides to users.

Epic says k. Then let us install Fortnite through another means. If you don't, you are effectively anti competitive.

And that's a very inaccurate but essentially correct description for how we got to the point where Fortnite, biggest multiplayer battle royale game, got kicked off the Apple platform.

The thing is, Epic isn't alone in this fight. There are a lot of developers who want the same thing. And they have all been making the argument that Apple doesn't in fact provide the kind of value Apple thinks it does. Apple doesn't provide adequate discovery of apps to justify the cut they take on payments. And Apple doesn't provide security or quality assurance anywhere near as much as they claim to which is what they use to justify not allowing side-loading apps or alternative app stores.

And this thread summarises legal documents that are fairly damning, or at least that's how it makes it seems. It's a thread confirming what's been thus far anecdotal evidence of repeated offenses of Apple allowing sub par apps that absolutely commit fraud by making bogus charges to do nothing. All this while legitimate app developers literally cite Apple's whim and fancies as a business risk.

The coming months look interesting. What will a world with alternative app stores look like? If things go south for Apple, I wonder how severe all of this will really be. Will they just pay damages and change rules for a single specific category? Or worst case for Apple, would they opt between not controlling payment methods and logins? Or would they allow alternative app stores?

As long as we are just theory crafting, I'd go for alternative app stores. It fits better with Apple's model of maximum friction for elements that go against their best interests. Put the option between several settings screens and some kind of devil's alternative terms and conditions, and Apple could still get what it wants.

The Creative World’s Bullshit Industrial Complex

I'm still reading this one, making notes as I go along. It's that kind of an article. It's about the state of the creative industry where people are increasingly moving away from building value and are instead looking to build audiences. This comes really close to unravelling why I always felt icky about the idea of doing stuff for the sake of building an audience.

What I’m referring to are those that believe being “industry famous” in the creative world is success in of itself. Especially those that start out with that goal in mind.

Increasingly “creative coaches” and people with “keynote speaker” in their Twitter bios are making their quest to earn authority a higher priority than the very reason they got into this in the first place.

when you make choices based on what others will think about you, you lose yourself along the way, and the world loses another creative mind that would otherwise share something original.

Honestly... The whole essay is worth reading and parsing sentence by sentence.

Ironically, I found the post through someone doing exactly what this article talks about. They were regurgitating the main points of the article in a fresh package. The article I found was literally about encouraging people to build things, not audiences. The person might as well have done what I'm doing, added some light comments, and redirected people to the original essay.

Even better, they've included their essay as part of their set of tweets that they claimed helped them to build an audience. The irony of it all...

And no. Not linking to any of it.

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Previous links and notes (April 8th)

Next links and notes (April 10th)

Posted on April 10 2021 by Adnan Issadeen