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Robin Hunicke on Development Philosophy

Robin has posted a very interesting blog entry about parallels between the early days of Buddhism and game development.

I have been reading more of Old Path, White Clouds lately. In particular, I have been drawn to discussions of the problems that the Buddha faced as his popularity grew, and his ideas drew new people to study the Way.

This is because I was promoted to the position of Lead Designer on my project, and the team is growing - increasing my personal investment and responsiblity in our success, while creating more opportunities for miscommunication (as growth always does). So even as things move forward, there is always the danger of little side-steps, and backslides. I find the Buddha’s experiences with this very issue incredibly valuable and inspiring.

It may sound pretentious, but Robin is one of the least pretentious people I know. It's pretty deep. Ten years ago, I was a lot less receptive to team dynamics than I am now. I was more interested in the clear processes of Rapid Development than the subtle dynamics of, for example, Dynamics of Software Development. (There's nothing wrong with Rapid Development.)

What is particularly humbling every time I read something like this is the realization that no matter what you do, you cannot get better at what you do without becoming a better person in general. You cannot separate craft, or success, from yourself. Not only does it not make sense, it doesn't work. (There's a really good Buddhist or Taoist saying or story that expresses this, but I've forgotten it...) But it's the easiest thing in the world to get distracted from actually trying to become a better person by some trivial activity, even if that activity seems important. Writing a module. Modeling a character. Devising a process. Writing a blog entry.