A preliminary disclaimer: The posts on this blog are syndicated from my livejournal, using their tag system which blasts to RSS. So if you don’t see comments here, it’s probably because the party’s over there, though I post about a variety of topics frequently unrelated to games. The game-related ones filter here.

\Phil”o*math\, n. [Gr. ?; fi`los loving, a friend + ma`qh learning, fr. ?, ?, to learn.] A lover of learning; a scholar. –Chesterfield.

Philomath Games is a sole proprietorship, which is a fancy way of saying it’s a company name I use for private consulting on game design. To me, the opportunity to select a new name was part of the creativity that brought me into game development in the first place, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. As of September 2008 I am now Creative Director at a little powerhouse called Warm and Fuzzy Logic out in southern California, but I still maintain this site and dump thoughts into it from time to time, as well as occasionally do independent consultation if a project can effectively ensnare a share of my attention.

“Philomath” is a word that’s been dear to me since my college days at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. One of my majors is in philosophy, and it drives much of what I do; it is one of the only disciplines — much as game development aspires — to incorporate all others. There is no knowledge that does not deepen one’s appreciation of philosophy, which itself is an appreciation of life and the world, a striving toward greater understanding in a global sense. Game development, like all disciplines, shares a general unifying philosophy. But what I found during my explorations in philosophy was that a love of knowledge — the philein sophia — can make a person shut down. If knowledge is your goal, if having it gives you superiority, there is a tendency to achieve that knowledge or level of expertise and then stop, rigorously defending the position that one strove so mightily to earn.

Philomathy, by contrast — the love of learning — never stops. There are no plateaus in learning, only a continuing process. This rather buddhist idea is how I approach my career and my life, so it felt right to name my little one woman band after it.

I believe that game development is inherently about learning. I believe that interactivity itself, as an art and a science, is fundamentally closer than all previous human media to the thought processes integral to human identity. What we engage in when we play has fundamental similarities to the scientific method*, and the means by which we explore and understand the world. By studying these mechanics, and the emergent passion that they spark (aka “fun”), I believe we understand more about human nature, science, and the future. Thus to me these concepts of game design and philosophy are inseparable, and key to achieving meaningful future vision.

So that’s what “philomath” is about! I was surprised at the number of emails I got after I “announced” my freelance endeavor (via the exciting method of updating my LinkedIn status). Contrary to initial suspicions, Philomath is not a serious games or educational games company, though I’ve worked on both and I think that the educational and “serious games” side of development is among the most important work a game designer can be fortunate to do (so if you’ve got one of those projects, hit me up!). It’s really more about my approach and my philosophy as a game designer.

I’m full up for projects right now, but I’m always interested in hearing about new ideas. So if you’ve got something in the works and you’re looking for good people (and you don’t mind them residing in a variety of locations other than your home office), or you just want to talk about game design, game development, writing, or philosophy, drop me a line. Interconnectivity is the chemistry that ignites the world.

* – this is James Paul Gee’s “probe, hypothesize, reprobe, rethink” cycle, which you should definitely read about.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Mohammed Ayub February 8, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Hello Eric,
I’m from India, currently pursuing my bachelors degree in Computer Science.I’m a newbie to Game Development, from past couple of days I have been reading up on Game Design and I had no clue where to start from, I m presently referring this book “Fundamentals Of Game Design” by Ernest Adams. I came across your blog when I googled “Top game design blogs” ;)
If you guide me how to survive in the Game Industry being a Game Designer and provide me some tips, it would be really helpful

Waiting for your reply soon.

Mohammed Ayub

Mohammed Ayub February 8, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Sorry for misspelling your name ..”Hello Erin”

Mohammed Ayub February 9, 2012 at 2:55 pm

First of all , sorry for blindly addressing your name even though we have not met in person in my last comment posted here.I was unaware of your your details.If you could please give me a second chance and respond.
Secondly, I’m a beginner in this field of Game Development and I was very keen on becoming a Game Designer and taking it up as a profession.I’m presently pursuing my Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science and Engineering in India (Bangalore). I wanted some guidance on how to proceed as a Game Designer and become a successful one.I too believe that socializing is a very important tool for success.Please excuse my grammar.

Waiting for your reply.

Mohammed Ayub

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