My game programming page contains links to information that I found useful or interesting when writing games. I try not to link to other sites that link to information; I try to link to the information directly. I believe that’s the best thing for people visiting my web site, and I also believe that this is the sort of thing Tim Berners-Lee had in mind when he set up a “World Wide Web”. Back then, it was about exchanging information. Not money.
I don’t try to cover all game programming topics. I’ve only included information that I’ve needed to research for my own games. I’d rather point someone to another web site than to pretend that I have answers to something I haven’t looked into. That’s why I don’t cover popular topics such as introductory tutorials, 3D graphics programming, Windows programming, sound, game engines, publishing, controllers, Java, multithreading, DOS graphics modes, and networked games. For game programming sites that cover some of these topics, I suggest looking through the Open Directory’s Game Programming category. To some extent my site reflects my own way of learning: I prefer ideas over code, so I haven’t found the best sites for code; I prefer game ideas over graphics ideas, so I haven’t covered platform-specific topics; and I prefer writing my own libraries to using commercial libraries, so I haven’t covered graphics libraries and game engines. There are lots of other good sites out there. I feel no need to compete with them.
Link Exchange, WebRings, and Advertising
In keeping with the “link to stuff that’s useful and on topic”, I don’t participate in “link exchange” or “webring” systems. If some page is worth linking to and is relevant to the topics covered on my page, I will link to it, whether I get a reciprocal link or not. If you find a link you think would be appropriate on my page, please send me email and I will consider adding it. I think there are many situations in which it’s appropriate for one page to point to another, but not the other way around. In computer science terminology, the web should be a directed graph.
Also in keeping with the “link to stuff that’s useful and on topic” theme, I don’t sell advertising banners on this site. I’m running this site as a hobby, not as a business. Although money would be nice, I can’t think of any advertising that would be helpful to my visitors. I admit that I don’t spend as much time maintaining my site as I would like, but making money isn’t going to help that. There are studies finding ads reduce user visits.
- Gwern’s summary: 14% reduced pageviews
- Mozilla’s study: 15% change in page views, 28% change in total time spent
- Pandora’s study: ads reduce amount of time spent on the site
- LinkedIn’s study: more ads leads to lower clickthrough and lower revenue, but the effect is not seen for a few months
- Dan Luu’s thoughts: ads may be worth it, but he decided not to run them (he also links to a study but it doesn’t seem compelling)
I’m not completely opposed to advertising. I think I would feel differently if I had more information on what my visitors are looking for at that very moment. For example, if they could type in a keyword such as “NPC conversation”, I might be willing to show ads that are specifically about NPC conversation techniques or products. However, it really has to be on the topic that the visitor is interested in, not some random “run of site” ad, and it has to be based on what the visitor is asking for, not on cookies or demographics. I don’t like cookie-based ads — just because I was interested in infrared controllers yesterday doesn’t mean that I care about them today. Serving up an infrared controller ad today would be useless. I don’t like demographics-based ads because just because my neighbor has black hair and a trackball doesn’t mean I’m interested in mushroom soup. (In fact, I hate mushrooms.) The only sort of advertising that I would find useful and/or interesting would be if I’m searching for 7200rpm hard drives and I saw an advertisement giving me a discount for 7200rpm hard drives, or technical information about 7200rpm hard drives, or consumer opinions about 7200rpm hard drives, or reviews of 7200rpm hard drives. I don’t really care if you tell me about a site where I can buy 7200rpm hard drives. I can find those myself, once I’ve looked at reviews, technical information, and consumer opinions. As a seller, your best bet is to give me accurate information about your product. Once you make me want it, I will go through hoops to buy it. But you have to make me want it first. My generation was raised on advertising, so we don’t trust it. Give us real information, not marketing speak, and we will come.
Why I Put Up This Page
I put this page up because I continue to get requests to exchange links, to point to commercial products, to sell advertising, and so on. I still get these; people just don’t read my page.