Chris Crawford Library

I recently found Chris Crawford’s web site.

Crawford is famous for his game design books and the old computer game “Balance of Power”. I have not read his books yet, but his site does contain a ton of free articles and even a link to a free html version of his old book “The Art of Computer Game Design”. Though much of this is old and to some extent outdated, there is some interesting information to be had.

Randomized Game Design Ideas

Are you working on a new game? Are you brainstorming for story ideas? Do you need a new unique name for your new game monster? What about some spells? Or even a new setting?

Sometimes the hardest part about putting your game together is coming up with the world that your players are going to inhabit. I’m a tech guy, I program for a living. Sure, I can come up with the occasional short story and I have started my fair share of unfinished movie screenplays, but I can always use more help and inspiration when it comes to stories, new creatures, and naming things.

This is where Seventh Sanctum comes in. This site provides a hole host of free random generators geered towards helping you create your story and characters. There are generators that can help with everything from story settings to magic spells, from combat to character names, and there are even a few humorous themed generators. Check it out, it may help you break through that writer’s block.

Shareware Authors Survery

Shareup Survey Project has the results of a shareware authors survery they revecently conducted. There is some good information on what percentage of people use registration services and which service they use. There’s also results for ad budgets, affiliate programs, and country of origin.

The most interesting to me were the last two questions, age and full time status. An amazing 47.9 percent of respondants are full time shareware authors. That’s much higher than I would excpect to see. The age results were revealing as well. The majority of shareware developers fall in the range of 31 to 40. I guess that’s the age where most of us get burned out on corporate life and look to strike out on our own.

More from Wil Shipley

Drunken Batman has a great interview on his Druken Blog with Wil Shipley and all things Delicious Monster. Wil is an interesting personality who has a great perspective on the software industry and is very willing to share his experiences gained by founding two incredibly successful software companies.

Wil has also posted a followup to his first code review post that caused such a heated debate over class initialization in Objective-C and Cocoa.

Cocoa Radio

Podcasts have burst on to the scene and up until now I had not even tried one. With the update to iTunes, making it completely brain dead to subscribe to them and sync them with my iPod, I thought I would go hunting for something to try out.

CocoaRadio brings the life of Cocoa developers to your iPod. Their first episode interviews Jesse Grosjean of Hog Bay Software, what he does, how he does it, etc.

It should be interesting to see where this goes and who they may interview. This could be very inspirational and informative, plus you can listen on your iPod.

Cocoa Style

Wil Shipley has posted his first code review of a reader’s submitted Objective-C code sample. He has some very interesting comments on code style and best practices. Some of his comments spark a heated and informative discussion on valid class initialization and use of autorelease on accessor methods. Being new to both Cocoa and Objective-C, this is a great resource. I hope that he continues with his offer to review reader submitted code. For someone who is learning without the benefit of an experienced mentor, this stuff if priceless.


One of the worst things for productivity is monotony. Every time I hear that word I think of the old Ramones songs, “Teenage Labotomy” and “I Wanna Be Sedated”. Sitting in an office at a desk or in a cube, will destroy anyone’s creativity, ambition, and productivity.

This week my wife and I flew out to spend the week with my Sister-in-law and her husband in Land o’ Lakes, Wisconsin. They just built a new log cabin on the coast of two lakes in the middle of the woods.

I took my laptop to attempt some work on the plane, but what I found was the change of scenery and the peacefulness of the wilderness a huge inspiration. The change from the noisy Boston city streets, the rat race of going to work every day and seeing the same people drew all kinds of ideas out. Sleeping with the sounds of birds, frogs and deer right outside the window helps bring different thoughts and images than the sounds of garbage trucks, city drunks, and your neighbor’s stereo.

I typically do my work at my desktop in front of my Apple Cinema display. I’ve now found a new love for my old PowerBook, since it can take me away from the desk and let me sit in the sun while I write code or debug that crappy method I wrote late one night. It can take me to new places and let me find new inspiration. It can help me find my passion again.

I’ve always found that I’m more creative and passionate about my photography when I travel. It’s always more fun to photograph something you don’t see every day. Now I’m finding that it’s much more fun to code and design and dream when you’re not behind the same desk every waking moment.