[Fringes] The future of gaming, Path of Exile, and Factorio as a job interview
4 min read

[Fringes] The future of gaming, Path of Exile, and Factorio as a job interview

This is the inaugural edition of Fringes, my roughly weekly newsletter about my travels on the fringes on the internet. Often about games, sometimes about... other things.

The future of gaming

I wrote a long guide to the future of gaming that covers what I think you should pay attention to if you're interested in, well, the future of gaming. It breaks down trends into three categories: new experiences, expansions in how players interact with their favorite games, and new economics. You can read it here.

Path of Exile is a hell of a game

I'm not playing Path of Exile this season, but sometimes I like to tell people about it so they can get a tiny glimpse of the madness. On the surface it is a Diablo hack-n-slash clone, but in reality it's more like the collective fever dream of an army of mad systems designers. For example, here's a guide you won't understand on to how to craft endgame gear (make sure you scroll far, far to the right.) Crafting is in fact so complicated that there is an emulator to let you test run your crafting procedures because screwing up is very costly.

I barely understand what this screen is showing, don't worry about it.

Why do people bother? Because PoE lets you do absolutely wild things with your builds. If you know what you're doing (which requires about 10,000 hours of playtime) you can create your own character builds like this one where an infinite loop of daggers falls from the sky, killing all enemies around you. All you need to do is walk around.

Path of Exile is a remarkable game, and this is only a tiny slice of what's inside, but I have to warn you: 1) it's basically impossible to learn by yourself, and 2) it is a notorious PC killer. Still, it makes me happy that there's a market for this kind of thing, even if it is almost surreally absurd.

Playing games like it's your job

I tweeted awhile ago about being left out more and more if you don't play video games in reference to Elon Musk tweeting about Factorio. And now I guess in all seriousness it is a job interview?

Factorio Is The Best Technical Interview We Have
There’s been a lot of hand-wringing over The Technical Interview lately. Many people realize that inverting a binary tree on a whiteboard has basically zero correlation to whether or not someone is actually a good software developer. The most effective programming test anyone’s come up with is still…

When I last played Factorio with a friend (who is in fact a software engineer), we joked about setting up a Trello board for project management, until we discovered a Todo list mod already existed.

Parts throughput required for making advanced circuits (source)

It really does scratch all the optimization, refactoring, and distributed systems itches you might want to screen for with an engineering interview. Just turn off the alien bugs that try to kill you in the game during the interview, unless I guess you work in an extremely hostile work environment.

I have not been invited to Davos

This quote is the inspiration for the title of the newsletter, and also kind of how I live my life so I wanted to close with it here. But I admit it would be kind of cool to get invited to Davos.

If you really want truth, you need to escape the black hole of power and allow yourself to waste a lot of time wandering here and there on the periphery. Revolutionary knowledge rarely makes it to the center, because the center is built on existing knowledge. The guardians of the old order usually determine who gets to reach the centers of power, and they tend to filter out the carriers of disturbing, unconventional ideas. Of course, they filter out an incredible amount of rubbish too. Not being invited to the Davos World Economic Forum is hardly a guarantee of wisdom. That’s why you need to waste so much time in the periphery: while it might contain some brilliant revolutionary insights, it is mostly full of uninformed guesses, debunked models, superstitious dogmas, and ridiculous conspiracy theories.

21 Lessons for the 21st Century – Yuval Noah Harari

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Until next time,

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