Jay McGavren's Journal


Coping with MacOS Sonoma for Web Development

This is the latest in a series of posts on using MacOS for web development. This fork of the original post is targeted at Sonoma (14.4).

For pretty much every Mac I’ve ever owned, I’ve copied my configuration from machine to machine. But when one does so, a lot of unused cruft builds up over the years. So I’ve decided to wipe everything and start totally (well, okay, mostly) from scratch. This is a rare learning opportunity and so I’m documenting my setup here, for my reference and for yours.


The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom - Game Design Notes

Time for another post in my game design analysis series! This time I’m looking at The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.

Much of what I record here will be obvious to anyone who’s recently played the game, or its predecessor Breath of the Wild. But I’m writing this for future readers as well, and hopefully it can provide some inspiration for busy designers who don’t have time to sit down and play the game themselves.

NOTE: Until such time as this note is removed, this post should be considered a work in progress. (I don’t feel like messing around with a “draft” status and hopefully I can get some preliminary feedback this way.)

SPOILER ALERT: I am going to be making no effort whatsoever to avoid spoilers in these notes, as that would hamper their usefulness. If you don’t want spoilers, play the game in its entirety before reading these notes!


Game Design Analysis - Citizen Sleeper

Time for another post in my game design analysis series! This time I’m looking at Citizen Sleeper, an indie work of interactive fiction released in 2022 to much critical acclaim and “overwhelmingly positive” Steam reviews.

An uncharitable review of Citizen Sleeper would call it a “choose your own adventure”-style game, where all your options are chosen from a menu, and the game reacts accordingly. And indeed, it seems like the actual coding implementation is probably about that simple. But the design surrounding that is extremely impressive.

I bet it was possible to prototype this game entirely on paper (regardless of whether they actually did so), thus front-loading much of the project risk. It could have been determined whether the game was fun to play (and therefore more likely to succeed) before hiring a single developer or even any writers. That seems like a model worth emulating.


Design Notes on Various Games

Hopefully you’ve seen my analysis of Subnautica: Below Zero. There are many other noteworthy puzzles, mechanics, and conventions in games, but most games don’t warrant a blog post unto themselves. This post is a catch-all for other patterns I want to record.

This will be a living document, so expect edits and additions over time. (Yeah, that’s not how blog posts are supposed to work. Send me some traffic and I’ll start following the rules.)


An Interview with Aureus, Roadwarden's Creator

Roadwarden is a “graphical text adventure” set in a dark fantasy world. I had the audacity to share my previous analysis post with Aureus, the game’s creator, and he offered to answer any questions I might have.

I don’t think he knew what he was signing up for! But he was incredibly generous with his time, and I asked if I could share his answers here on the blog so other aspiring creators can learn as well. So here’s an interview with Aureus, creator and developer of Roadwarden!

(Mild spoilers within!)