Some Notes to a Game Programmer/Web Designer: Practical and Philosophical
Permission is granted to reprint the following article as long
as no changes are made and the byline, copyright information,
and the resource box is included. Please let me know if you
use this article by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.|
Some Notes to a Game Programmer/Web Designer: Practical and Philosophical
Copyright © June 19, 2011 Douglas W. Jerving.
All Rights Reserved.
A slightly tongue in cheek admonition to all authors and programmers about the necessity of ethics
and how it applies to our work as written to a game-programmer working on his newest website.
How to Write So Others Will Read
I think your new site look is great. However it needs a bit of attention when it comes to written
composition. You are not an accomplished writer and do need some help. Your written words need some
polish so that they are more effective; less amateurish. This is not your fault, since writing has
never been your focus. But prospective clients reading your home page will be influenced by your
ability to write affectively.
You need to think of your front page as add copy. Prospective clients/employers don’t care about what
your interests are but they do care about how your interests can promote them. You need to convince
them that you are an effective writer who can sell their product because they see that ability in your
words as much as your design. Without that, they may never move beyond your front page to see what your
real talents are. I know that sounds shallow, but that is just how they think. They won’t read or go
beyond your ability to present yourself on your home-page. Ask your instructors. They will agree. In
fact, the books I have seen new in your library this semester are all geared towards this same idea:
how to write effectively.
Every writer needs an editor. If you look around, you will find many needy copy writers happy to rewrite
your front page, following what you have already done, while modifying it a bit. It doesn’t need a lot
of work. But it would sell better with some changes. They would not change your copy; just manipulate it
slightly so that it has the Zing! it needs to excite the readers to dig deeper into your site.
Talk to them. Many would happily collaborate without expecting any recognition. They just want to see
I see a great site here that only needs a few aesthetic and grammatical changes to put it over the top.
Just a few changes in word-smithing will send it on its way.
One example from your sidebar:
My objective is to find a company that I can work with where I enjoy what I do and where I also enjoy
the people whom I work with.
Eliminate the redundancy of the second “My objective....” Remove the reference to what you want and make
it what your client wants. Eliminate what you enjoy and replace it with what your clients’ need to serve
their clients. They don’t care what you want. They only care about their clients’ needs, wants and
desires. A rewrite based on those ideas would possibly be the following:
My goal is to promote the needs of fellow entrepreneurs by providing the highest quality design required
to move them to the forefront of their personal and business endeavors. Together we will enjoy the benefit
of a dedicated team working for the common ground that is your personal and financial success. This will
be accomplished on my part through hard work and dedication to your vision. Together we will make the
difference that brings your company to even greater success. In the process, we will find even more value
as we work towards these common goals, and the goals that follow them.
I think that you can see here a difference between what you want in the copy you wrote and what your
customer wants in what I wrote. Somewhere in my files I have a whole course on how to write effective ad
copy. That is really what your website is about. You are selling yourself, so your site needs to sell
first, not just tell people what you want. Tell them what they want and how you can make it happen. One
of the most important things you can learn is “Sell the sizzle, not the steak!” You have the steak. But
people buy because they can taste it in your copy. Make them water at the mouth and they’ll buy. Once
they try it they’ll continue to buy it. Bring them in first and when they see how good you are they will
stay with you.
Make Your Readers Agree With You
How do you make the games on your site work? A jpeg does not sell the same way that a working model does.
People want to try them! Give your readers the opportunity to experience your point of view and enter the
world you want to create. They want to enter the aesthetic interest that was a part of your creative
endeavor. Show them some of the artistic side of what you experienced; that raw emotion that is why you
created it. Incorporate that with the technology of your new site.
All in all, I am very impressed by this new version of your website. It sells your technical abilities
well, but it does need to bring in that more artistic edge. Gamers want things that bring a new sense of
what is reality vs. fantasy. Without getting to philosophical, and not being a gamer myself, but being an
avid reader of fiction and nonfiction, I think I “think” like a gamer would think. Our fantasy worlds need
to be a place we can go to when we are not at work; when we need a world outside of the one we exist in
daily, mundanely. We need places where we are the heroes, or where we are right. We need a place we fit
into, like we do in our dreams at night. For that we need to visualize (like a book reader would) or have
the vision created for us (like the game world does).
Some Thoughts From the More Philosophical Side
The techno stuff is amazing stuff. Now add the art that makes them question the place where reality and
fantasy reside, coincide and collide. Make it Realisy. Or Fantasity. Whatever it is, both come together
as one experience.
Strangely, every gamer or book reader wants you, the author, to give them the authority to think. They
want to believe that they have arrived at your thoughts before you provided them. Then they will think
outside of the box you provide. But what you provide is the setting for their thought. Provide enough good
ground and they will produce the fruit. Tabula Rasa. They are the empty slate. You write upon their minds.
As author you authorize the direction the reader/player goes. You create the gamer’s own perception of
himself. I create the reader’s perception (if I am good) of himself.
As authors we have power over our readers or our game-players to guide them where we want them to go. That
is the authority of an author. The subtle part is that we have this ability to control, divert, instruct and
correct simply by offering the background vision. As an author I am a change-agent; one who uses the thoughts
of my readers to create in them a direction that I believe is correct and that I want them to enter into. We
want to change people. Offering them a fantasy or a reality outside of what they would come up with on their
own is what I can do as a writer or you as a game-programmer. We can change the world for the better (or the
worse) because our pens and codes are mightier. The sword of our words is greater than any real sword because
it meets the cause of the heart. And the heart of most men and women is to desire what is good and virtuous
even though they may not know how to obtain it.
Your game-programming will succeed always when you meet the player on the level of the heart. There you
will change them. Convert them. Make them want to want what you want too. Make them too to be what you want
them to be. Art, not technology, will make them be what they did not know before they could be. Power is in
the author to bring disagreers into agreement with the author.
So much for the philosophy of writing and gaming. Just my aside. Not worth that much. But I hope much enough
to make the point that your art is as important as your technology. If not, ignore it. I’ll probably use some
of these thoughts later for another article on my website that no one will read. But I have had fun writing
it and hope you were changed by reading it.
Doug Jerving is the publisher of the NewEdisonGazette.com. You may contact him at
Return to The New Edison Gazette main site.