'Big Pharma' seems to propose a moral dilemma to it's players: Going for the cash or contributing to humanity?
Moral choices as a game dynamic
This post is a tweet gone big replying Tim Wicksteed about his recently announced game 'Big Pharma',
First I need to say I know very little about the game itself, and I don't really know how Tim is handling the moral choices in his design. This conversation was a trigger and I decided to share my thoughts on the topic.
'Big Pharma' seems to propose a moral dilemma to it's players: Going for the cash or contributing to humanity?
Avast! Is this a map to the greatest treasure of all? Aye, it is! A map for motivation.
Well, it is actually a conceptual map to deconstruct motivation in two different dimensions providing some insight into different kinds of motivations. Understand better how your motivation works applying your own experiences into the map.
Game concept: Pendulum debate
Some controversial topics generate debates that can be seen as pendulums. For some time one position gets more attention and the opposing side tries to defend their point of view with more energy. Then during some time there may be a point of equilibrium, but the momentum of that change keep moving the attention towards the opposing side. And the cycle repeats again in a swinging motion.
I thought a concept for a game in which two players can exert a force to a pendulum by holding and releasing a button. Points will be awarded to the side that the pendulum is in.
Obviously the idea is to try to represent the situation with a metaphor. Each player only have the option to force the debate (pendulum) towards him side. The bars on the sides are the energy that is consumed when pushing the pendulum. It replenishes slowly over time.
This idea could be prototyped farily quickly. It would be interesting to see if the emergent dynamic is really a regular swinging motion and if the two players could actually collaborate together to end the "debate" and share the points keeping the pendulum in the middle.
A lot of people that have websites has used Google Analytics to track basic statistics. It's quite easy to implement and you get a lot of data. You know there are a lot of things that you can do with it that you don't know how to do. There are experts that can tell you how to set up a lot of options but, ey, that's a lot of information you are already getting there. I think I can life with this "basic" stuff.
Since I started AlejoLab I have been learning that what I don't know about GA is a lot more than I thought. If you are somehow like me, who have some general technical knowledge about the web and usually work out the problems by searching for references instead of learning how to do the things from the ground, then you will probably do like me. Like 4 months ago I would have say I knew 50% you need to know to get basic statisctics on GA, and how to use 2% of the features to make the most of it. That last part is what you usually that other things about custom dimensions, filters, custom reports, and so on. You know someone is going to need them, but they are probably professionals with very specific needs.
I thought I knew 50% you need to run the basic features and 2% of the total.
After this three months I have been learning a lot of new things about GA, sometimes not very practical things, but the realizations of the features I needed. Now I would say that I know 10% of the basics and 1% of the total.
Here are some of the things I have realized I didn't know about and I should. They may be basic or more advanced. I write them in a, sort of, chronological order.
I guess what happens if you don't plan to learn about something and learn by using it just because it is there. At some point you start to consider to either delegate or learn the basics in a more structured way. As always it depends on your personal goals.
Dissecting: Three fronts of action
I have been dissecting the situation with the help of my girlfriend/fiancé to find different fronts where I want to take action to improve and keep moving forward. Today we have managed to define at least three courses of action for what seemed a tangled and unique situation, formerly known as "what I do". I think thats three areas are mostly everything, but I cannot be sure yet until I finish making all the questions to see the situation from all the possible angles.
1. Evolve the blog
As I was talking in yesterday's post Turning point. The goal of this blog has been accomplished. I have managed to build the habit. But there are some things that the blog needs in order to keep being useful:
2. Take a solid step towards my vision
That is, to start working more seriously on a project that can be useful and profitable. Since making an income to live from blogging is not my first choice, I have put to rest some plans to market and promote the blog (because I have a small audience) until I define if the new goal of the blog really needs it.
Separating the search of an income stream from the blog is important since I have been slowly believing that I need more readers to be able to turn the blog into a source of income.
I have around 7 projects or topics which I have been talking about in the blog, plus 2 more which I haven't, that are candidates to be explored to help someone needs.
3. Improve time management
I need to make better use of my time, specially when doing personal, everyday house chores. Because I am at home most of the day, the everyday tasks such as cooking, cleaning and so on, tend to be around me always and they define my daily schedule more than I have wanted to admit until now.
Because of my inabilty to manage "house chores time" I am also having problems on how to use my "productive time" efficiently. So I am going to use the sames steps I would use to improve a creative or business process to improve the way I face the daily chores:
For example, one of the most time consuming chores is to decide what to cook according to our diet, what we have eaten recently and what ingredients I have available. I haven't succeded in preparing weekly meal plans. Which would be ver useful when doing the grocery list. What we usually use as a reference is what we have bought the last time (specially when buying online) instead of what we have consumed. So, from now on I will be tracking what things we consume each day, instead of trying to figure out what to eat the next week when doing the groceries.
Another thing I have done is to prepare three check lists in a whiteboard with daily, weekly and monthly tasks for personal and house chores.
Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon
In the last days I have been asking myself some different questions to review my course of action on AlejoLab and the pursue of my vision. I have been posting everyday for more than two months, and now what? I have built the habit and it proved to be what I needed. Pulling me to develop my ideas, projects or experiments, not just keeping for myself but to share them publicly and explore how I present the things I do.
But now this habit can be useful beyond that. I never planned to have a big audience in this blog (and I don't have it actually). Since it was for me to get used to write publicly in the first place. But now I am also feeling the need of interacting with the people, as I find that I want to do something useful to others while enjoying it myself.
So, I will be facing these questions myself using some drawings, thinker toys, and other tools to help me review my vision on the role of AlejoLab in it. Expect some posts talking about this in the next days and meta-topics, such as the blog itself, goal setting, vision, business. Even when I don't plan to make these kind of topics of the lab. There are already enough generic business and marketing blogs out there!
Improving english speaking
What you can see here is 2 different audio takes of the same speech. What I was doing was just reading an online article and then I played the previous track while recording it again. Its kind of funny, and strange, to see how some of the errors kept there, others were gone and some new appeared because my own voice was annoying me. It was sort of like watching someting evolving.
At the fith try I recorded without playing the previous try on the background. I think thats the better one, because after that I tried again speaking while hearing and it got slightly worse.
But you may be wondering why I was doing it that way if I wanted to improve the way I spoke. Listening to myself while speaking was annoying so how can that help me to do any better? Well, actually, there are really some useful things about speaking while you listen the previous take. First, I got to hear myself saying the same words in different ways a lot more times and in a way it was much funnier that just listening to myself. The second reason is that when you hear yourself there is a limit on the things you are able to remember to fix or improve for the next take, and that, anyways, takes memory, which is something I wasn't caring about.
But the actual reason because I started doing it that way is because I wanted the waveform to be syncronized, at least for a minimum, so I could compare them by hearing and looking at them together. Yes, that it, I was wondering if there would be something that I could see instead of hear. And sure there is something! Look:
The take above was the first one and the other below is the last. Just by looking at this I can see I was speaking much louder and a bit quicker. Quicker doesn't neccesarily means better, but I can still see the points where a sound ends and another starts, so I think it's not that bad to speak a bit faster.
Why this now?
The reason why I am trying to improve my english speaking now is because I plan to record some videos in the future and I don't feel quite comfortable on how do I sound. It's not just because of my spanish accent but also because I tend to loose focus on the pronuciation and forgot to keep articulating correctly, mixing the words as I would do speaking my native language.
And I plan to record some videos because I have been waiting (procrastinating?) to use videos to go further on my journey about monetizing my unfocused creativity in which I feel videos and speaking correctly are going to play an important role.
Fourth step in the habit building process
Yesterday was the last day of the third 21-day step toward building my habit that will help me go toward my vision. These steps are actually:
So what happens on the 23rd of July (21 days from now)? Will my habit be completely built the way I want? You know what... I think I don't really care. I am getting more comfortable each day doing this and for me is a good thing having this habit to built forward momentum and avoiding me to drift away from my vision. So I will just evaluate that when the day comes. But, as I said, I feel that for this next step I am going to be using the spoken word for it to really start rolling.
I sometimes do something I call "wearing the problem solver hat" in which during just one pomodoro I try to improve something or find a solution for a problem I usually face. I choose the topic randomly from a pool of note cards. I guess this is something quite interesting to explain another day. I just wanted to explain it briefly because I wanted to show this:
This is what I did when trying to improve on what to do when I get stuck or blocked during my day and stop flowing or being productive or motivated. I have this map attached to the wall next to me and I can move all those elements (that are cut out in card with some sticky tape behind them). So it is some kind of "alarm system" because if I am drifting in my day and I see this, and I think I can change the position of the objects, then it may mean that my mind is wandering and not focused.
Once the map has helped me to realize I am out of flow/unfocused then I follow some instructions I have written in a piece of paper hidden behind the map. Usually when following the steps I am able to break the state and I have the opportunity to get in track again. Roughly the steps are:
That's the theory!
The reality is that this is not working as expected. The note card with this topic is still inside the box that I use to randomly choose the topic. That implies it can be improved further. These are some things that are not work quite well here:
At some point or when I find this topic again when wearing the problem solver hat I will improve this a little more.
Symbols and meanings
Today, because of something I don't want to talk about yet, I have searching and looking different symbols and their meanings.
Suddenly, I remembered a symbol I use to draw when I was a teenagers, and that, as far as I know, I just made up. The symbols is this:
Indie game designer