83/365 – Meditation Games #83 – Devs Of A Feather

Developer Credits: Kartik Kini, Eric Cook, Zach Woomer

Launcher Quote: “As the sun set on the week we spent mingling with game developers from around the world, we felt at peace knowing our flock extends beyond our home town. We can sleep peacefully, knowing that our friends will always be at our back. Though there is space between our newfound friends, we know they are only a call away.”

Conventions and community have been at the heart of a few of the most recent Meditation Games entries, which isn’t surprising for game developers as GDC is just wrapping up this past weekend. A sense of being around and being included in one’s own tribe, group, or in this case, flock is one of the core reasons why people keep attending conventions, especially ones that have a rare opportunity for dedicated professional interaction as GDC does. There’s a kind of validation that the work that you do, oftentimes done in isolation if you aren’t working for a studio or in smaller groups, is work that is shared, suffered through, and altogether satisfying when finally completed.

Today’s game is a kind of signal boost and community-builder done all in one, using a comparison to the networking and togetherness that accompany birds that fly together as the way to display it on-screen. I found it a joy to not only fly together with my flock, but then watch as others reacted to me “talking” with them and spreading that same vibrant color communication to others flocks not my own. There’s a kind of meandering beauty to it, mostly because of the fact that there’s no set pattern and the communication can happen and spread like wildfire with a few unconscious mouse clicks. It’s a kind of simulation of how coincidental encounters can be at conventions and can lead to group collaborations and conversations that can have a big impact later.

More importantly, though, there’s a sense of inclusiveness that appears to be implied from what we’re seeing. If recent events have taught us anything, it’s that the polarization and tribalism that can easily turn into some of the worst behavior from gamers into something insidious, exclusionary, and unwelcoming. That’s not what the end goal appears to be here in today’s game, as evidenced by my painstaking goal of trying to get all the birds to fly together and communicate with one another to get somewhere. There’s always going to be a bit of conflict in every industry, and in games in particular, but making sure that we remember to band together and stay strong together no matter what the sum of our parts is, is what will keep the industry and its communities engaged in what it needs to continue.

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