Ariadne, and thoughts about practical and fun software

I’ve been made aware recently that there’s a difference between really practical software and really fun software. Totally practical software is something like a database entry system. Boring but valuable to whoever needs the data. Totally fun software is something like a game, where you do no useful work but, instead, just enjoy yourself.

Now, there’s a middle category, where you have fun creating something useful. Writer’s software falls into this, but so does stuff like t-shirt printing software, hobby software like family trees, or ‘builder’ software like garden designer software.

I want to make Ariadne fun to use (or people will just play games), and practical (or people will just use word.)

It’s gonna be tricky.

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2 thoughts on “Ariadne, and thoughts about practical and fun software

  1. I think that this difference depends on the perverse geekery of the person involved.
    I’ve certainly spent leisure time learning about new development environments and enjoyed the process. I’m at that level of sad where coding some Java in a new IDE counts as “fun” — because look, I can click the buttons and make something that goes — it is like virtual lego. There’s probably sick people who get the same kind of thrill from some ghastly mySQL, php, apache thing.

    • There, you know what I’m talking about 😉 I hear you have some Lego Mindstorms floating about, too.
      The builder-mindset, I think, creeps in all over the place. Playing the Sims 2 – the best bit is designing the houses. Carcasonne, the board game, is satisfying because you build up a nice map.
      I’m thinking writers have that same sense, of enjoying the process of crafting something.
      OMG. I’ve just realised. Moving up from the straight-ascii-source-code view of writing, I’m writing a kind of VB-for-stories, a drag-and-drop visual story-building software. A rapid-prose-development environment. 😉

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