The Cargo Cult of Game Mechanics link

Steve Wittens:

I’m posting the kind of opinion piece I wish I’d see on credible gaming sites, as someone who actually knows how the sausage is made.

If I go through an airlock in System Shock 2, it’s because I need what’s on the other side of it […].

If I go through an airlock in Mass Effect 3, it closes permanently because everything looks the same and too many players got turned around in testing.

XOXO'13-induced psychological damage link

Andy Matuschak, now at Khan Academy and previously working on UIKit:

I had a safe job. People enthused all the time about how lucky I was, what great work I was doing. No doubt: I held a wonderful position! So I felt like an asshole for suggesting anything else.

I’d bring up my real aspirations only occasionally, and whenever I did, I’d feel dissatisfaction grow within me. But then the conversation would end, and I’d anesthetize that dissatisfaction into “someday” with the grind of urgent tasks. Those tasks were much easier to think about than my thwarted ambitions, so my discontent conveniently settled beneath the hum of the day-to-day.

Tasty Imitation Keyboard link

Alexei Baboulevitch is reimplementing the iOS keyboard:

I’m working on a 3rd party keyboard for iOS8 and I want it to look and feel as close as possible to Apple’s keyboard. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to access the keyboard view through code, so this is my attempt to imitate it by hand.

The development of this keyboard is fully open-source, so the project may not work at all times. At the present moment, the baseline functionality is there. Left to implement are special characters, Shift, multitouch, and improved graphics (including translucenty and dark mode).

What we learned building the Tumblr iOS share extension link

Great write-up by Bryan Irace:

The process of building the Tumblr share extension has been fun, but also really frustrating at times. We’ve hit quite a few problems that we ended up needing to work around, and in the interest of helping you do the same, would like to detail all of the issues that we encountered.

Of course, your mileage may vary with some or all of these. We’ve talked to other developers who haven’t had the same problems, or have hit some that we haven’t.

I’d like to see more blog posts like this one.

Facebook's iOS Infrastructure link

A very interesting talk about some of the underlying frameworks that power Facebook’s iOS apps. Yay for immutable models.

Ways to think about watches link

Benedict Evans:

Standing in Cupertino last week, holding an Apple watch in my hand, I was reminded very much of the original iPad launch. Here is an idea for a new thing, and the idea has been implemented very well, but it’s not quite clear if it’s a good idea. 

So how do we puzzle this out? There are three strands, I think - three pieces of string to pull at:

  • How does a watch complement the smartphone you already take everywhere?
  • What does a watch do of itself that’s different?
  • What is different about something that you wear on your wrist, next to your skin, on display, all the time - what are the self expressive and emotional characteristics of this? 

Microsoft buys Mojang link

Microsoft is buying Mojang:

Yes, the deal is real. Mojang is being bought by Microsoft.

As you might already know, Notch is the creator of Minecraft and the majority shareholder at Mojang. He’s decided that he doesn’t want the responsibility of owning a company of such global significance. Over the past few years he’s made attempts to work on smaller projects, but the pressure of owning Minecraft became too much for him to handle. The only option was to sell Mojang.

Good for him, let’s hope Microsoft doesn’t mess up Minecraft.

Update, Notch writes:

I’ve become a symbol. I don’t want to be a symbol, responsible for something huge that I don’t understand, that I don’t want to work on, that keeps coming back to me.

As soon as this deal is finalized, I will leave Mojang and go back to doing Ludum Dares and small web experiments. If I ever accidentally make something that seems to gain traction, I’ll probably abandon it immediately.

It’s not about the money. It’s about my sanity.