Meditations, a thing where you get to see a new game every day

So Meditations launched yesterday, I think, over here. http://meditations.games/

There’s a pretty expansive Twitter discourse right now about the way credits work for it - right now, when you see the day’s game, you’ll see the credits for the game first, but otherwise, there’s no grand list of contributors for the 350+ games that will show up over the coming year. Rami Ismail, who put the thing together, has said the reasons for this are a combination of not wanting unfairness (the person(s) whose game releases January 1st shouldn’t have their credits visible all year while the person(s) whose game releases on December 31st gets a single day’s credit), some people wanting their games to be surprises, and, for me, the most interesting (?) point, that some might have legal or personal reasons for not wanting their credits up before the day they’re supposed to be.

I’m curious to hear Waypoint folks’ take on it. The last point I mentioned above sticks in my mind; while there’s been folks on Twitter saying they weren’t aware this was how the credits would work when they agreed to be a part of the project, I can’t imagine Rami just pulling that line of argument from thin air.

(Also hey if anyone has checked these games out or has general thoughts on the project I’d love to hear those, too)

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I made a pretty long Twitter thread today about why this messy method of technically crediting, but not offering persistent credits can be really bad for the artists involved. As an artist who has experienced and seen inadequate crediting, it’s surprising how thin the line can be between getting a huge media hit and being completely overlooked. https://twitter.com/MelloMakes/status/1080558612915859465

So far, all the buzz around the project has mostly been for Rami and there’s not a lot of persistent talk about the first two days’ games yet, so it seems like it’s not really working out as planned (24-hour media hit for each dev throughout the year)

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Mello I honestly should’ve just linked your Twitter thread in the dang post because it’s what brought the controversy to my attention.

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I’m pretty pissed at this thing, because it appears to be more about having a thing that shows you cool games, than actually helping the folks who are making these games.

As far as I understand no one has been paid for this project, which means they all work for exposure (which is already a bit iffy…). If you offer folks to work for exposure, you should at least make an effort to ensure at least some amount of it.

In regards to the credits, there were similar projects in the past (the pirate kart and Experiment 26) and both of those credited the contributors from the start.

I’m really confused as to why listing the names of everyone who’s involved in that thing right from that start, isn’t a good option here?

Anyway, for me this smells moslty like a project that’s based one person acting on a whim and not something that was meant to actually support smaller/experimental game developers, which is a real shame.

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Yes this is not the best, and as I also twittered, 2 Mello’s thread is a really the best encapsulation of how I feel about the whole thing. At least it looks like Rami is taking it seriously now.

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As a contributor to this project my critical distance to it is basically nonexistent, but for what it’s worth I didn’t find it very problematic at the outset, since it was presented to me as, effectively, a game jam where participants would be showcased one day at a time.

A couple other things influenced my decision, one of which is that the solicitation details requested that devs not work beyond like, 5 hours on their projects and that each game was strictly under 5 minutes. This limited scope meant that I didn’t feel bad contributing a game for a day, since, hey, I can whack out a minute-long game in about 3 hours.

So effectively for me this was okay because:

  1. I had the time to do the project (I had another job, so money wasn’t that big of a deal)
  2. I had the skills to complete the project in a limited timeframe, to a degree that I was comfortable with (I worked in GameMaker Studio, the program I make almost everything in)
  3. I had no expectation for, nor need for, promotion (even in the best scenario, being one creator in 365 is hardly a big Promo Get at this point in my life)

I understand those who didn’t have those privileges and I sympathize with their complaints. But for me at least, this wasn’t an imposition, and the game wasn’t substantial enough for me to particularly feel bad about spending time working on it. The limitations felt communicated clearly to me and I knew what I was making, and what role I would have in the project as a whole.

If this were a more “traditional” singular art piece, I would feel more miffed about no crediting, but since it was presented to me as “make a small personal thing and it’ll be shown sometime in 2019” I didn’t mind. I viewed my game as a small contribution to a collage, and figured by the end we’d all be shown off with crediting so it didn’t bother me much.

I can answer questions if people have them, as a participant, but those are my 2c. Also, fwiw, I have a decent amount of faith that Rami will be implementing some sort of upfront crediting soon, since it’s being considered as a poll for all current participants.

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Basically sums how I feel about this. Cool idea but if the only payout is getting credited and you’re not getting properly credited why be a part of it except for the off chance that your game is one that gets a lot of attention.

The argument that it’s not fair to the people whose games are coming out later holds zero water honestly. The person behind the project is basically saying that you are getting credit for the project as a whole not for the thing you contribute. If I was a part of it and my game came out later in the year why would I care that my credits are also added later? I shouldn’t be being recognized anyway until my work is out. It comes across strongly as the main project organizer not having any sort of belief in the project as a whole because it suggests that by later in the year no one is going to care which means if your game is coming out later on interest has died off. And if people don’t want to be credited then don’t credit them. This isn’t exactly a hard concept just put “Author(s) name(s) withheld”.

The fact the main person has credited themselves right there on the project is also a pretty brazen move while trying to explain why no one else should be credited until their turn/end of year. Also hey maybe don’t Tweet out about being “highly visible in the industry” while everyone is getting mad at you about not giving people visibility :roll_eyes:

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I’ve heard from a number of participants that seem to have been more rushed into the project and not given as many details. For sure the conversation begins and ends at whether each dev was fully informed and gave full consent, but that just doesn’t seem to be the case.

It makes me feel more uneasy that all of this is mostly being connected to and boosted as a Rami project, and many people involved had different ideas about it. I generally feel very uncomfortable with any art thing where artists are left by the wayside in favor of the vision, even if it is accidental.

Honestly it feels like this whole thing should just have been delayed a year.

Rami has also responded to me since the thread and seems upset that anyone would say “just fix this”, but without knowing how many people he fully informed and how many people want their credits to be held back until their reveal, it’s hard for me to imagine how much work it would be to change the project, so until then I’m gonna keep saying “just fix this”.

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Rami’s generally got a good head on his shoulders, but I’ve too often seen games & tech folk get really excited about half-baked ideas, and later balk when anyone points out their oversights. Shame.

I miss the pirate karts. I’d love to see another one, or something in the same spirit.

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Credits, credits, let’s see…scroll to the bottom here…

perfect! it’s even called credits.php! wait, no devs here - ah! here it is, i guess.

Okay now I’m on the FAQ page, not the Credits page. okay what the fuck

hey maybe if you are creating circuitous web design loops to answer a really straightforward question, with multiple steps hidden within paragraphs mid-page and at the end of the footer, maybe you should own the fact that you know you aren’t doing the right thing here.

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This is a real bad look.

Weird how the 2012 IGF Pirate Kart didn’t have this problem

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I can’t speak for everyone, obv, and I can verify that the specific details around credit were vague. However, like I mentioned, credit wasn’t high on my list of priorities when I was solicited, so I didn’t much mind. That comes from a position of privilege though, like I mentioned earlier.

I don’t think more time would have necessarily helped, given the nature of the project. It was meant to be a letter from a year back, so to speak, so a further delay would diminish that effect.

And while others have brought up the Pirate Kart as a comparison, it’s not a very apt one. The Pirate Kart was a series of “full games”, or, at least, games with not as many restrictions on form. Meditations was much more controlled, for labor reasons (less restrictions would open up people to working further hours for free, which wasn’t ideal), and for scope reasons (each game was, as mentioned, meant to be finished in maximum 5 minutes).

The PK had a requested 2 hour devtime limit, but no restrictions on game content or form. Meditations was stricter on the content side, and purposefully so, to be more like “something you play in the morning every day” or whatever.

As a small update on the proceedings, too, Rami has removed his name from the footer on the website and just a few moments ago sent out a google form to participants regarding changing the crediting system. So SOMEthing will happen on that soon, depending on responses.

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Both the Pirate Kart and Meditations are collections of smaller games. I don’t see what limitations on development time have to do with properly crediting people.

And good on Rami for fixing his mistakes. I’m still dissapointed at this whole thing though, because honestly? He should’ve known better.

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To be clear, I don’t mean on a credit level. I mean on a structural level, the goals and format of PK and Meditations are different. PK was a single release, Meditations was a rolling one. PK had no time restrictions on games, Meditations did. Things like that, design differences that affect the overall project and the component parts.

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Not seeing how those distinctions are relevant as far as credit to creators is concerned.

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I bring them up because their release dates and format affect the conversation. Rami’s concept, as far as I can tell, wanted each game to show its creators at time of release, followed by a “grand reveal” at the end. A sort of advent-calendar-for-the-year thing, where specifics of development were kept secret to build hype or whatever.

It’s not how I would have done it, but it doesn’t seem illogical per se. It makes sense if you assumed each creator was willing to forgo publicity because they were already comfortably established- thus the game is a donation, not a labor with expected compensation (monetarily or through exposure).

PK was different. There never was an expectation of a rolling release, there never was an expectation of a “blind box” concept. The hiding of creator details until their respective releases was meant to be part of “the Meditations experience”. Again, not how I would have done it, but I don’t find it incomprehensible in design.

I would prefer if there was a list upfront, but not tied to dates (alphabetical would work fine for this) and then the dates of release are still kept unknown until release, and I answered that on the response survey sent out.

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