Over the last five months or so, #AltDevBlogADay has grown into a healthy community of (mostly game) developers. In that time, we’ve seen 123 developers write 360 posts that shared personal experiences, ideas, stories and techniques representing only very small slice of what development is about. It’s been exciting and fun to try different things and meet and work with so many fantastically talented people. It’s also been incredibly rewarding to see so many people get value from that work. In the past 30 days we’ve seen 152,460 unique visitors here (not including all of those that might have read an #AltDevBlogADay reprint on Gamasutra.com, Gamesindustry.biz or Develop-Online.net) and so many people on Facebook and Twitter and email letting me know when a post gives them either something useful or inspiring or validating. It’s not bad for five months, but I’d like to see that grow by an order of magnitude this year! I think this collection of talented individuals has so much to offer, not just other game developers, but the development world in general, that it would be a shame not to share that with as many people as I could.
I think it’s about time that I started regular updates to help keep not just our authors, but everyone, informed of what’s happening here at #AltDevBlogADay.
This last month, you may have noticed the theme changes that have been happening. Expect another major revision there soon. But the important thing to share is that part of the process of developing a new theme was for me to figure out what the vision for this site really was. What’s important for me here?
In particular, you may have noticed that on the home page I changed the preview images to be images of the authors as well as adding a featured author section to the top of the site. Some of you might not like these changes so far. I’ll share with you what I wrote on our mailing list at the time based on some of the internal feedback I was getting.
#AltDevBlogADay is focused on the authors.
It is important to me to focus on the voice and the individual. The world has changed. We are no longer a world of faceless masses hidden behind corporations or governments or other institutions. The world has become more personal. We want to know who is behind the curtain. That is important. You cannot separate the message from the voice. While that’s clearly my own view of our new collective culture, it is, I think, valid. And that’s what I want to reflect in the site. Now, I also think that honestly some of you underestimate considerably how interesting you actually are. And that is what is compelling for me. Lots of things are said in posts that I disagree with, sometimes technically or from a design pov, but always I’m fascinated by the stories behind those posts. In the more personal history
and context that lead to that view.
In addition, we learn and change and grow constantly. Our posts are not ever green. Nor should they be. They simply reflect what we accept and think now. In five or ten years so much of whatever we might say now will seem naive or even plainly wrong in retrospect. At least I hope so. I know that I hope that of myself, and it’s true to one degree or another of things I might’ve said or posted ten years ago. But to stand up and say with your own voice what you believe right now and put it out there, that’s the interesting part. Recording some small part of everyone’s personal journey, that’s fascinating. And being willing to do it regularly often in spite of not knowing what really to say, or how best to say it or even if there will be real value there is in equal parts a little bit scary, a little bit stupid and a little bit brave.
While I’m open to suggestions on the form of the site and I’ve been happy to get the feedback on it up to now, the fundamental focus is what it is. At least for me. As for the design appearing amateurish, I make no apologies for that. I’m learning and practicing and trying new things. That’s the nature of everything we do. And I don’t mind looking a little bit foolish in the process. The only way to learn is to do. And this is something I’d like to learn.
In addition, my hope is that by helping to giving real developers a voice and put them in front of you naked and open, that we will all learn from each other.
Since E3 is this week, it reminds me that one of the things that inspires me most is during conferences or other meetups when I’m able to sit down with my peers and friends and share ideas and just talk and have a little fun. All of the really best moments (and ideas) in my career have been when I’ve just been able to sit down and talk and listen and share with others. And I think the real vision for #AltDevBlogADay is to bring that late-night-at-a-conference-sharing feeling to us as a group every damn day instead of just a couple times a year. While I don’t think we’re quite there yet, I know we’ll get there. And I can’t wait!
Today, I’d like you let you know that we’ve been thinking hard on #AltDevBlogADay Phase 2. We want to raise the bar for what we doing and really bring more value to both the authors here and you guys, the readers. News on that soon enough. :)
So I hope you like what we’re doing here and you can support us by (re)tweeting or sharing on facebook, sharing your thoughts in the comments, or posting and linking from other development sites (like from reddit – I know there are a lot of you out there!) that you think might be interested in our posts. And of course, I encourage you to join us here as a regular author!
And comment below if you have any thoughts on how we can improve things.