Corey’s father shared an interesting article with us a few days ago. A researcher (University of Illinois psychology professor Ed Diener) determined that there is a definite correlation between happiness, education, and wealth, but only up to a point (say 8 or 9 on a 1-10 scale). People who rated themselves as “blissful” (10 out of 10 happiness) tended to be less wealthy and less well-educated than those who just considered themselves “happy”.
One can only speculate on the reasons. Dr. Diener’s guess was that truly blissful people have no reason to strive. They have everything they want and see no reason to look for more. Looking at it the other way, people who strive for and accomplish challenging goals get a lot of satisfaction out of that. It makes them happy, but not blissful.
We’ve been very happy the last few years playing World of Warcraft and other games, gardening, making photographic art, and enjoying the Sierra foothills. Creating a computer game is a lot of work and sometimes very stressful, but it’s satisfying. At the end of each phase of the project, we know we’ve accomplished something that has artistic merit and that may make other people happy. After all, happiness shared is far more fun.
Things that made us happy this week:
- After six months of rehearsals, we sang with our local choral group in two concerts based on The Wizard of Oz, The Wiz, and Wicked. We love singing, and it was fun to see all that work come together in a couple of fun performances.
- Corey had a breakout night in his bowling league – games of 254, 207, 201, and 183 – beating his opponent in all but the 3rd game. For you non-bowlers, 300 is a perfect game and 200 is a very good score for most people. It’s been years since I last broke 250. Feeling in control (and enjoying some luck) in an inherently chaotic sport is very satisfying.
- Lori went up into the hills and found a beautiful field of flowers full of butterflies. As she was photographing the flowers, one of the butterflies decided to land on it and pose for her. The world was at peace and nature put on a show for her.
- We completed an interview that will be translated into Russian for a Ukrainian magazine. Our Strange Horizons interview also went live. It makes us happy to know that our work of 10, 15, and 20 years ago still influences people and makes them want more. It also makes us want to do more games.
- We worked out some critical design issues for School for Heroes. We now know the story line for the Magic User and Paladin characters and have a lot of ideas for how the Thief and Warrior scenarios will play out.
Note how many of the things that made us happy fall in the “accomplishment” or “striving” category. If we didn’t risk bowling poorly or showed up at a concert without spending months rehearsing the songs, we couldn’t have had those happy moments. Even in World of Warcraft, the biggest excitement comes from defeating a tough raid boss when everyone in a 25-person group acts in concert to accomplish the goal.
We always strive to do our best. We want to make the most involving and entertaining Interactive Fiction game you’ve ever played. That will make us truly happy.