Chris Crawford vs. the Dragon

In the July issue of PragPub:

Chris Crawford was at one point the best-known computer game developer on the planet. That was back when he was training game developers at Atari under Alan Kay, launching and running the Game Developers Conference, editing and writing much of The Journal of Computer Game Design, writing The Art of Computer Game Design, and collecting royalties on best-selling games like Balance of Power.

Then one day he gave a famous speech that ended with his drawing a sword and running out of the room shouting “Charge!” and never returning. He was off to fight the dragon. From that point on he dedicated himself to the quixotic quest to create a new kind of computer game, a new approach that didn’t glorify combat and small-muscle skills, that was built around realistic human emotions and interactions.

He’s still at it, and he recently released a tool that he thinks might be a key component of that new kind of software. It’s an editor for character interactions. It’s fun to play with, and it suggests interesting applications. Chris sees his new kind of game as more than entertainment: it’s interactive storytelling, it’s sales training, it’s a new category of software. Or it will be, if he manages to slay that dragon. This month we report on his quest and this new tool for editing interactions.

Also in this fat July issue of PragPub are an entertaining and rich essay on floating-point gotchas by Jim Bonang, the final wrap-up of Mark Pearl’s series on Mob Programming, the latest in Venkat Subramaniam’s series on refactoring to functional style in Java 8 (this time focusing on the Execute Around Method pattern), and Erica Sadun on new capabilities and tricks in Swift.

Of course columnists Marcus Blankenship, Johanna Rothman, Antonio Cangiano, and John Shade contribute to the issue, your editor shares some tech news, and there’s a bit of advice on writing from Derek Sivers.

I hope you enjoy it!

Author: Michael Swaine

Michael Swaine is a writer and editor. He helped launch the first personal computer newsweekly, InfoWorld. He co-authored Fire in the Valley, the seminal tech history book on which the movie Pirates of Silicon Valley was based. He was editor-in-chief of Dr. Dobb’s Journal and has written for and edited several other magazines. His latest creation is PragPub for The Pragmatic Programmers. He and his partner Nancy Groth own Summer Jo’s, an organic farm, restaurant, and bakery in Grants Pass, Oregon.