“Playing” League of Legends

I need a first post…

Since I haven’t been working on my “Flea Game” in the last couple weeks I am selecting something that I find myself spending some of my free time doing. Don’t worry about the lack of explanation for the “Flea Game”, I’ll get to it soon. So this will be the first Playing post on the blog and as a category it represents posts that fill in between more productive posts where I’m actually working on a game or learning something new.

I have been following the updates for League of Legends. However, this is a “Playing” post with quotes around it because I haven’t actually been playing the game lately. In fact I haven’t played a game since the third season kicked off. But given my familiarity (playing since release), I find it pretty easy to follow changes to characters that I know, to read the “Red Tracker” (which is all about employee posts), and to learn about new champions and other additions to the game.

So what am I getting out of it if I’m not actually playing the game? For starters the game represents a very complex system of stats, positioning, items, masteries, runes, champions, and more. Systems like this attract my attention greatly, like a huge complicated puzzle with lots of moving parts. I have a sort of internal model for the game in my head and I can sort of simulate and visualize changes while reading about them. This also helps in software development because discussing changes creates ripples in the internal model and gives insight to potential pitfalls and complications. Also, the posts from the Red Tracker reveal the internal workings of a successful game developer. It sounds very much like they have an awesome group of people over there and it is entertaining and interesting to me to read about some of the office adventures being had and development decisions being made. It makes me want to apply!

That being said, I understand that reading about it (or any game) is no substitute for playing the game. I will be trying to lower the amount of reading I do and get back to actually playing the game. But most of my friends who used to play have given up on it, so I will be going solo (queue) to get back into things.

But this begs the question as will most of the Playing posts: given that I have limited free-time, and that I have a long-time desire to make games in addition to being an avid player, how much time do I divert from playing games in order to make them? Should I give them up entirely for a time in order to make better progress in development?