Directory of All Essays

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Directory of Posts

Lost Garden has turned into a rather substantial archive of game design thoughts. In order to help you find essays that you are interested in, I've finally performed a bit of house cleaning and tagged all 180+ posts. Go forth and explore!

Quest: Which essays are "Worth Reading"?
I'm looking for the essays that you found to be more influential on your thinking about games. I'd like to bubble those to the top of the site by marking a handful with the Worth Reading tag. I've tagged a few, but I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Game Design Science Game Design Craft Game Prototyping Challenges
Game Observations
Conferences and Articles
Personal Feel free to send any comments or errors to danc [at] lostgarden [dot] com.

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Sunday, August 20, 2006

How is Lost Garden doing today?

I originally promised myself that I’d blog for at least a year and see where it went. The promise has been kept and the content keeps flowing. I thought I’d drop some numbers and see if folks are still enjoying the site.

The site has been hovering around 4200 page views and 1800 visitors a day. That works out to 130,000 page views in July and 58,000 visitors. Overall, the numbers are increasing steadily over time, but I do not have great faith in my data. :-)
  • Atom.xml downloads make up a big chunk of the daily traffic.
  • One image on my site has become insanely popular, in a viral cross-linked sort of way. It is not the image I would have expected. Awhile back, I posted some a couple different graphical styles for a space strategy game. One was cute and the other was cool. This cute image has taken on an extensive life of its own as an avatar on numerous forums, My Space account and bizarre Russian humor sites. It isn’t hurting my bandwidth much, so I’m interested in seeing how far the little space people meme will spread.

I would pay good money for a reasonable stats tracking application. I personally find forum links to be one of the more interesting pieces of information contained in log files, but many reporting systems seem to strip off everything but the referring domain. What are other blog masters using?

I suspect that once you strip away all the fluff, you’d find that Lost Garden is a friendly little site in a very niche topic with a few core folks that keep it worth visiting. Big thanks go out to everyone who contributes to each new essay. Sometimes I feel that much of the ‘meat’ of this site comes from what everyone else writes. That is pretty darn cool.

I can’t find anything!
One of my personal goals was to use the site as a collection of research for future reference. There are now over a hundred essays on the site these days, many of which are quite lengthy. Unfortunately, I can rarely find the essay that I’m looking for due to poor site design. I’ve made some minor modifications to make it easier to find old materials.
  • Directory of Essays: I’ve organized all the essays into a concise directory. It isn’t the most attractive design I’ve done, but it should be a lot easier to find things if you can remember the general category. Let me know if the categories make sense or if there are other ones you’d like me to use.
  • New Search Engine: Google, in its never ending fight against blog spam saw necessary to remove most blog entries from its search results. Unfortunately, that makes Google pretty much useless for searching my site. Common search terms would come back empty or with only one or two items. I’ve now got a new search engine hooked up that, while less attractive, is at least comprehensive in its coverage.
Future direction
After trawling through my old comments, it is apparent that I have about a 20% chance of completing an essay if I mention it in the blog as ‘coming soon.” :-) So I won’t try to predict what will pop up next. My biggest thrill recently has been seeing the enthusiasm that met the last set of graphics I dropped out there for free. The energy of L33t kids discovering games for the first time is invigorating. I started dabbling again with tiled graphics after an 8 year absence and realized that both the available tools and my skills have changed dramatically.

Rust. It is an unfamiliar sensation that I’m unsure whether I should accept as an inevitable part of aging or rebel against. I would guess that anyone under thirty would advise that I rebel for all that I am worth. What do wise folks over thirty-five recommend? :-)

How is everyone else doing? Out here in glorious Seattle, wedding planning is in full swing, various medical traumas abound, and my new job is beginning to exhibit flashes of passion. Big greetz go to Jonathan, Jones and the Anark crew that I met up with at Gamefest last weekend. I also had a blast playing some fine board games at JiggaFest here in Seattle. Ray, that loveable fellow, still owes me a best selling novel.

Life is good. :-)

Hope everyone is having a lovely summer,

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Monday, August 22, 2005

What do you want to see on Lost Garden?


I just checked my site stats and things finally seem to be settling down to normal after the spike in June of being linked to on Slashdot. Here are some numbers and a question for all those kind souls who appear to be regular readers.
  • Daily unique visitors: 515 per day on the week days. 381 per day on the week ends
  • Average page views per visitor: 2.1
  • Monthly unique visitors: 5600
It's not a huge group of folks, but everyone who writes in seems intelligent, well spoken and remarkably insightful when it comes to game design. You rock.

I started this blog because I felt there was very little practical game design advice available on the internet. The only way we are ever going to get a large number of quality innovative games is if there is a population of game designers trained in the basics. Yet many industry members are wary about sharing their tips, tricks and proven techniques. The result is a vacuum of knowledge that encourages treating design as risky, mysterious activity.
  • My hope was to create an online resource to that acted as a repository for practical design tools and processes.
  • I've stayed away from technology and most 'current events'.
  • I've tried to avoid (though I'm not sure how successfully) the obscure philosophical ranting that often accompanies design blogs. Instead the focus has been clear descriptions of common problems.
  • Finally, I've focused on example game designs such as Space Crack and Secret Life of Aliens to ground the discussion.
There are several directions this site can go from here. I'm curious what you are interested in. Here are some ideas that have been floating about:
  • Guest Designers: I could open the site up to game designers who have published a game and ask them to write on tools they find critical to their success.
  • Advanced business topics: I can focus more on the money side of design. It is a fascinating topic.
  • Life of a game: I can dig into the development of an actual game in more detail. This sacrifices the theory a bit, but gives you more details. Think of it as yet another game diary.
  • Current events from a game design perspective: What the hell is Nintendo/Xbox 360/Hot Coffee doing and how does it effect my game design choice?
  • Monkeys: I've always been a big fan. Really big.


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