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Soren Johnson

Designer Notes 64: Robin Hunicke - Part 1

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Designer Notes 64:

Designer Notes 64

Robin Hunicke - Part 1
In this episode, Soren interviews veteran game developer Robin Hunicke, co-founder of Funomena and best known for her work on MySims, Boom Blox, and Journey. They discuss why HyperCard was so great, why AI development is game design, and how Steven Spielberg almost made Angry Birds for EA. This episode was recorded December 1, 2021.

Games discussed: Pitfall, M.U.L.E., Offworld Trading Company, XCOM, Tomb Raider, Prince of Persia, Half-Life, Spore, Katamari Damacy, The Sims 2, MySims, Boom Blox, Nintendo Land


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Thanks so much for your Designer Notes podcast. I’ve been listening to you since the days you collaborated with Dirk Knemeyer on the Game Design Roundtable. Your episode with Robin Hincke spurred me to write, something I meant to do long ago.


All of the guests are interesting, but wow, I really liked the biographic twists and turns in that episode. I vaguely recalled her from papers that referenced her work, but hadn’t played any of her games and didn’t know what an intelligent and fascinating person she is.


I’m curious as to why you sometimes release interviews years after you tape them. I assume your guests may have time-sensitive information, and that the goal of the podcast is to create a library of retrospectives (like design notes do) rather than present current trends. Just wondering it there are other reasons.  


If I could suggest a person to interview, I’d be interested in finding out what’s going in Tynan Sylvester’s head (Rimworld). The game seems to encapsulate the story generation you often discuss.


If I could make a comment about production, it would be that my devices can reduce volume infinitely, but not increase it. I find that I can’t listen to about half of the interviews unless I’m in a quiet space (not in the shower, hiking through brush, on a noisy train, etc.) The casual setting is great and less-than-ideal quality is fine, but if there were a way to simply increase the volume that would be great.


Also, Offworld is awesome, even though RTS is not a genre I can play well, and Old World is great as well.


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