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Oct312008 HD Remix is all-new. Let's go over the changes.

More than Game Design

First, a change in theme. Game design is great and all, but it's not enough of a topic. There's more to say in life, and even if we stuck to game design, it necessarily branches out into other topics anyway. Games are for people, and so designing them requires some understanding of human psychology. Making games requires problem-solving and some knowledge of how other fields solve very complicated problems would help. Games are part of pop-culture and have the power to make statements--whether the creators intend those statements or not. Because of this power, we should be conscious of what our games are really about. I don't mean surface of a game--whether it's set it medieval times or World War 2--I mean the emergent properties of the rules. For an example, try this game about surviving in Hatai and notice how the experience created by the rules communicates a statement.

Because all my effort has gone into creating this new site, you'll have to wait for some articles that actually cover these topics, but they'll come.

New Content

I wrote about 13,000 words in a set of 4 new articles about balancing games: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4. That's about 25% the length of my book, Playing to Win, so I could definitely extend those articles into an entire book about game balancing. Unfortunately, the market for such a book is way too small, so I guess I won't. (Writing books is a lot of effort!)

I slightly revised my Yomi Layer 3 article, moderately revised my Rock, Paper, Scissors article, and completely rewrote my Slippery Slope article. I didn't transfer all my old articles over yet, but the best ones, the ones about multiplayer games, are here and polished up a little. I also didn't transfer over all my old blog posts, but the ones I felt are most important to look back on here, and many of them have several formatting fixes and broken links fixed.

The sidebar now has a section for games that I worked on. In it, you'll find an article on Kongai that previously appeared on gamasutra and a few pages about my Yomi card game, including an article on its design, now that the game is no longer secret. Incidentally, I'm still working on Yomi, and the art is the major thing holding it up, but artists are working on that right now. My article on balancing Puzzle Fighter is still pretty popular, so you'll find that in the sidebar, too. Finally, in the near future you'll find about 20 articles about Street Fighter HD Remix in the sidebar, in a handy collapsible menu. These will be similar to the articles you might have read on Capcom's website, but revised so that they are all written from the same point of view (after development is done) and also completely in my own words. Stay tuned for that.

99.98% Uptime

My last webhost ( was awful. Good riddance! They took my site down 3 times in one week without any notice, all for bogus reasons that were their fault. My site is now hosted on a sytem with grid architecture that can handle huge spikes of hits and not go down. My old site went down every single day twice a day, for 20 minutes at a time due to poor handling by the webhost. This should be a dramatic improvement in reliability with uptime % somewhere between 99.98% and 100%. If you are serious about getting that kind of uptime for your own site, as well as an awesome visual interface to build the site and a tons of features already built-in for you, sign up for squarespace.

Reader Comments

All the comments from my old site are gone. This half on purpose and I think it's a freeing move that lets us start anew. I really think I should only allow comments in the form of trackbacks or comments from registered users who donate to my site or something. I don't say that at all as an attempt to make money, but just as a barrier to keep out the various haters and clueless people who stop by. I think it would really increase the quality of discussions. Several people told me not to do that though, so all you miscreants are in luck.

Also, you can finally preview your comments before posting them and edit your comments for 15 minutes after you post them.

Recommended Books

I've been doing a lot of reading, so my recommended books page now has 13 new books. All these recent additions to the list are in the psychology section. There's almost 50 books on the list in total now, so you have some work to do. Or you could wait a few years and I'll write a book that summarizes many of the points from those psychology books for you.

Playing to Win Book

My own book is still free online, and now it should be a lot easier to find, with a link right there in the top navigation bar. You an also buy a physical copy from Lulu (recommended), Amazon, or Amazon Kindle, in addition to reading it for free.


I have a new RSS feed now, and it should be generally better than the old one. It's formatted better, and now incorporates better stat tracking on my end. Fyi, the RSS feed includes both my posts and articles together, and does not include comments. Also, you can subscribe via e-mail now if you type your e-mail address into the form in the sidebar. Google runs the service that takes your e-mail and sends my new posts, so you'll be safe from spam. It's a nice alternative if you're not into new-fangled technology like RSS.


There's a TipJoy link at the top right of my site. If you want to leave a tip, all you do is leave your e-mail address in the TipJoy field. The advantage is that it's literally one click, whereas PayPal takes more clicks and requires you have PayPal setup in the first place. TipJoy is an interesting company in that it might help spread the concept of paying for content that you appreciate on the web by making the process much easier for readers. Right now, if you appreciate my content, you could leave a PayPal donation (great!) or you could click on ads, but that's kind of strange for advertisers if you have no intent to buy their stuff (but hey, I'm not stopping you).

So what TipJoy does is automatically create an account for you if you leave your e-mail address as a tip somewhere. You can tip all day, as much as you want, on whatever sites you want. I'll receive no money, and you'll pay no money until you later decide to put actual cash into your account, presumably when you've tipped enough around the web that you feel a little guilty for not actually paying your tab. There's no point in putting a fake e-mail address because all that means is I get nothing and you typed a fake e-mail address for no reason. The huge downside to all this though, that content creators can't cash out with cash right now, only A bucks. If they catch on, that will change.

Sorry to go on and on about this tip thing, I'm mostly explaining it as possible interesting shift on the web in general. Also, it's funded by Y-Combinator, which is a VC firm that knows wtf they are doing.


There's a chat room in the sidebar now, and underneath it is a link to a bigger version of it so you have more room to chat (they are linked together). This will surely be a complete disaster of a feature that I'll have to remove, so get it while you can. You guys like to argue about everything, so I thought I'd try to integrate even more ways for you to go at it.

Draw My Thing

This Draw My Thing game is awesome. It's a shared whiteboard where players take turn trying to draw the given word or phrase. One player draws while the rest guess, and whoever types the exact correct text gets a point, then it's the next person's turn to draw. Casual and fun! I put it on my site for the hell of it.

Enjoy the new site. I plan to update it much more frequently now.

Reader Comments (18)

Spiffy new everything! Does the forums with the old posts make a comeback though?

November 13, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjiaflu

The forums should be available again tomorrow, with all the old posts.

November 13, 2008 | Registered CommenterSirlin

Game-design is indeed not enough. Looking forward to seeing those other secrets I know you have.

November 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSTCAB

Will the Cranky Kong graphic be making a comeback at some point?

November 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterFinalSlayer

I was wondering if you would re-write/transfer the hiding secrets in platformer article. I found it very interesting and it would be sad if the only way I can read it is through google's cache.

November 13, 2008 | Unregistered Commenternewbwithkeyboard

newbwithkeyboard: I will eventually add the article about hiding secrets in platform games to my new site. I will also soon make available a copy of my entire old site.

November 13, 2008 | Registered CommenterSirlin


Glad to hear you got a more reliable host.

About comments: surely someone as clever as you could come up with a way to improve comment quality :)

Actually, i have a bunch of ideas on that front... though they're all pretty complicated, the ultimate system would probably require some programming muscle to get implemented.

Anyway! Glad to see some more Sirlin stuff!

November 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWinter

Reading around the new site a bit: you mentioned a "Sirlin-ized DOTA" in your donation section, which sounds very interesting to me. I have my own ideas for how to do a "better DOTA" (and DOTA:Allstars itself is getting better--much better, in fact, and with better players--with every patch released) and in fact i've drawn up some hero ideas and basic overview of my own plans... but... haven't actually coded anything other than very basic test maps.

Err, that went on a tangent. Ahem. What i meant to say was that i would be very interested in hearing how you think the "DOTA" concept could be improved. Not just so i can steal your good ideas, i'm also pretty curious about what you think should be done :)

Hey, if you started now you could probably get a game out before Tides of Blood gets their new version going :)

November 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWinter

Wow, I remember years ago when this site had Cranky Kong all over it and his hilarious snippets in the middle of articles. Quite a distance you've gone, eh Sirlin?

November 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPlastic

Love the new aesthetics. Looking forward to all the new stuff.

November 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterShadrin


November 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterThis

Love the redesign, Sirlin. I hope to see more content more often with your new lease on blog-life, but I'll certainly appreciate whatever content you feel like sharing with us.

I cannot tell you how badly I am foaming at the mouth to play SSF2THDR right now. If the netcode really does hold up to GGPO standards I will be so happy that I might just asplode.

November 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTrykt

I thank you for your quick response, and I am also very thankful you will refresh that article since it is one of my favorites among all in its category. I know its a lot of work to reformat and reupload the whole site so good luck. It looks awesome.

November 15, 2008 | Unregistered Commenternewbwithkeyboard

Love the redesign, keep up the good work! It is super valuable!

November 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTj'ièn

The Draw-My-Thing game reminds me of iSketch!

November 18, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter0bliv

draw my thing = way too addictive to be good for me

November 18, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterricefrog

This is just a suggestion -- take it or leave it -- and I don't know if your new site software would even allow it. But I'd appreciate it if your own (Sirlin's) comments had some sort of distinguishing characteristic like they did at the old site. It was very convenient picking out your comments with that unique blue text. Now I have to scroll through and look for the tiny "Sirlin" author tag, which will be annoying when we get some of those old school 100+ post mega-threads.

Thanks for any consideration.

November 24, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterforty

Love the new site little brother. I will need a new elevator speech for when people ask me what my brother does for a living.....See you at Turkey Day!

November 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBig Sister
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