5/17/2010 MM: "The Ten Principles for Good Design, Part 2"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Making Magic, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
More vague, meandering hot air which doesn't actually communicate anything.  Get this through your head, MaRo:  Design is NOT all the same, and design principles for lamps and clocks do NOT apply to Magic cards.  The word "Design" doesn't even mean the same thing for a piece of machinery as it does for a game card.  Stop talking about things that aren't Magic just because you think they're cool.
My New Phyrexia Writing Credits My M12 Writing Credits
As far as the benefit of the rest of Magic is concerned, gold cards in Legends were executed perfectly. They got all the excitement a designer could hope out of a splashy new mechanic without using up any of the valuable design space. Truly amazing. --Aaron Forsythe's Random Card Comment on Kei Takahashi
No, design of clocks and strategy games are different, but Rams' principles are something valuable to think about.

Two weeks ago I was inspired by the first half of this article and Rams' principles. I sat down with a major software package in my industry, fired up Photoshop and mocked up a redesign of its user interface based on modern HCI practices. I think today I'm going to do the same thing for one or two of its competitors and submit the whole process as a talk at a conference. So I found the article very valuable.

Magic is only one part of my life, and occasionally I like to read articles on this website and other Magic sites that talk about how Magic fits into the bigger picture. They aren't unrelated to Magic entirely, because, if you actually read Mark's articles and process them, these outside things do find their way into the game in an indirect way.
Much better images, kudos.

Maro is getting better at weaving previous articles into the one at hand.

Durability- There have been many changes to Magic. There was a time (let's call it pre-Invasion) when Magic expansion sets were a mixture of new and old ideas. As time has progressed, that aspect has dwindled. Contemporary sets are about X matters, which was exciting, the first few times. Unfortunately the "pendulum" isn't swinging back. It faltered at Time Spiral and then lept forward at Future Sight. My fear, is that this pendulum will break, if it hasn't already. The subtlty is gone. The homages are lost. I would be interested in seeing more "Magic matters" sets, and less "sharkjumpery" ...

Little as possible- Futurama morals aside, Planeswalkers told me the Design Staff was innovative, Level-up told me that nothing is conceivably sacred. Change the card face layout. Why not? Add another counter type. We needed more. Add some boxes. Sure. Just curious as to where the line is/will be. I often hear there is 'a line', about what can and can't be done, though it's seldom explained and recently seemingly ignored.

As an interesting challenge, find new uses for old cards. Make some of the bad cards of the past matter? Make Gray Ogre matter. Make tide counters matter. Make Deadfall main deckable. (Lumbering Satyr is not a deck)

"Why did it bother me so much? Because, I answered, it was my most beloved childhood item."


WOW.  I'm sorry you had to go through that.

Much better images, kudos.

Maro is getting better at weaving previous articles into the one at hand.

Durability- There have been many changes to Magic. There was a time (let's call it pre-Invasion) when Magic expansion sets were a mixture of new and old ideas. As time has progressed, that aspect has dwindled. Contemporary sets are about X matters, which was exciting, the first few times. Unfortunately the "pendulum" isn't swinging back. It faltered at Time Spiral and then lept forward at Future Sight. My fear, is that this pendulum will break, if it hasn't already. The subtlty is gone. The homages are lost. I would be interested in seeing more "Magic matters" sets, and less "sharkjumpery" ...

Little as possible- Futurama morals aside, Planeswalkers told me the Design Staff was innovative, Level-up told me that nothing is conceivably sacred. Change the card face layout. Why not? Add another counter type. We needed more. Add some boxes. Sure. Just curious as to where the line is/will be. I often hear there is 'a line', about what can and can't be done, though it's seldom explained and recently seemingly ignored.

As an interesting challenge, find new uses for old cards. Make some of the bad cards of the past matter? Make Gray Ogre matter. Make tide counters matter. Make Deadfall main deckable. (Lumbering Satyr is not a deck)



Whoa there. Trust me when I say that we do not want part in any kind of format where deadfall is main deckable. Do you realize what has to happen to make that possible. I hear you on the first two points of your post but there are some cards that we just have to accept will always be bad. barring a few cards like "lark" goblin roughrider will always be better than grey ogre. Still there are some possibilities out there for vanilla creatures like muraganda petroglyphs. I think that more can be done with that theme but you can't make a format where "forestwalk" matters more than 1 in 5 games (if that). I don't think you know what you're asking there.

As far as how he has related Rams' principals to MtG I don't really have a problem with that. I understand how different the two kinds of design are and how thin the thread is linking them but I think Mark just used these words as a jumping off point for his critical thinking about Magic rather than trying to design MtG from a "lamps" point of view.
Don't be too smart to have fun
From Part 1:



In recent years, Magic has made a tremendous shift from Disposability to Durability. Years ago, MaRo would exclaim all the time that Magic's design space was HUGE. Lately, he exclaims all the time it is very, very limited, and they constantly bring back mechanics to use them to the fullest.




Hmm, I'm glad I'm not the only one that's noticed that change in his messaging. I wonder what kind of realization they had to make him change that.


Without attempting to research when this tone shift occurred, I'd say it was Future Sight design.  They sat down to gather up all these new, divergent, inconceivably fun mechanics and realized how many of them were just mechanical evolutions.  That's why they launced the GDS (in which many contestands offered the same evolutions).  And when they realized they better start protecting and reusing.

Now I know Mark is reading this and at some point he's going to respond to us saying "Magic's design space is huge, but it's also finite.  They're both true!"  Well we're not falling for it Maro, uh-uh.  And I dare you to quote me.  Nanny nanny boo boo.



From this article:

Thirdly (I hope that's a word), design has to always be conscious of resources. While there is a large amount of design space, it is finite.



Laughing
(Please understand that this is a nails-on-chalkboard thing for me.)

Things like your blanket do not come to a "grizzly" end. That would mean they turned into a bear. They may come to a "grisly" end, meaning that contemplating its fate caused you to feel horror. I suppose if you have an unreasonable fear of bears, you could use the two words interchangeably, but then you'd have to explain why Smokey or Yogi fills you with panic.
I loathed the first of these two articles. I really liked this one.

I'm not sure why. I think it's because he talked about creative writing -- something I do, and like, and feel I understand -- rather than about Apple products, which I rather feel are taking over the world.

It's an interesting thing to realize about myself how much difference that made.

Also, is anyone else surprised by the "serial killer having breakfast" thing? I'd imagine it would be far easier to write about the serial killer than the college student. When I write, I write precisely because I want to think about something larger-than-life (probably why I love sci-fi and fantasy and am bored to tears by Ordinary Stories About Ordinary People.) Regular people are nothing special. Strange people, strange circumstances, epic situations... that's the stuff I want to both read and write about.
Every good engineer knows:  Good design is not finished when you add as much as you can to it.  It is finished when you remove as much as you can.

or

"LESS IS MORE"
As an interesting challenge, find new uses for old cards. Make some of the bad cards of the past matter? Make Gray Ogre matter. Make tide counters matter. Make Deadfall main deckable. (Lumbering Satyr is not a deck)



Gray Ogre mattering as anything more than an amusing piece of flavor text is pretty much a lost cause.  Grotag Roughrider guarantees that the Ogre is now useless in conventional usage (Balduvian Barbarians is slightly better off since at least there Fiery Bombardment can turn its invisible-in-mono-red disadvantage over the Grotag into an upside, albeit a very minor one).  And if you turn to the Champions of Kamigawa "ogres and oni" theme, Gray Ogre still isn't great because that theme hinges far more heavily on black than on red, meaning you'll usually run Bloodthirsty Ogre over the Gray one.  (As an aside, Kamigawa also gave us yet another Ogre obsoleted by the Roughrider, Shinka Gatekeeper.  That little Goblin Knight is like the new Darksteel Ingot in terms of how many old cards it renders useless.)

On the other hand, I disagree with morticianjohn about forestwalk; a set could be designed where forestwalk was green's primary breakthrough method (maybe something about the set makes large quantities of trample unadvisable, or trample has been shifted to red while green emphasizes stealth over stompery for some reason in this setting).  A card worth considering is Time Spiral's Yavimaya Dryad, a forestwalk enabler par excellence which was one of my favorite cards in that strange set.  A card like that demonstrates that it's possible for forestwalk to matter no matter what color your opponent is, but if you build a forestwalk deck that normally plays defense until it can tutor a Dryad or some similar forest-forming card, your opponent is at a significant disadvantage if he's playing green.  I don't know that Deadfall would suffice even in that format, but they might at least be able to print something similar, maybe as a creature or with an ETB cantrip to make it not an entirely sucky card when you're not playing against forestwalk.dec.
My New Phyrexia Writing Credits My M12 Writing Credits
As far as the benefit of the rest of Magic is concerned, gold cards in Legends were executed perfectly. They got all the excitement a designer could hope out of a splashy new mechanic without using up any of the valuable design space. Truly amazing. --Aaron Forsythe's Random Card Comment on Kei Takahashi
More vague, meandering hot air which doesn't actually communicate anything.  Get this through your head, MaRo:  Design is NOT all the same, and design principles for lamps and clocks do NOT apply to Magic cards.  The word "Design" doesn't even mean the same thing for a piece of machinery as it does for a game card.  Stop talking about things that aren't Magic just because you think they're cool.


Frankly, I think MaRo has a lot more credibility on this than you do.

+1 to the poster above me. Design, regardless of it being new MP3s, oil-platform-gear, cars or MTG Cards is the same in principle. All the principles hold true regardless and Rams 10 principles (Though I wouldn't take them for being the absolute truth) are very much applicable to designing Magic. 

Gray Ogre mattering as anything more than an amusing piece of flavor text is pretty much a lost cause.

Point of order: Gray Ogre never mattered.
Uthden Troll, Sedge Troll, and Granite Gargoyle all obsoleted it in Alpha.
I guess my point is that R&D seems to just constantly move on. They don't ever seem to go back and explore things or fix them if they went horriblely wrong. There are many keywords that have appeared and could be used as a one of in a block and simply aren't. If I still built decks, I don't think I'd find myself going back to earlier sets looking for cards for a deck.

They've done a great job of this with Equipment and Planeswalkers. These two ideas have been showing up at a consistant rate.
They don't ever seem to go back and explore things or fix them if they went horriblely wrong.

They do, however, just love to fix things that went horribly right.
One day, when I was fourteen, while riding up a chairlift with my mother (most of my families vacations in my youth were ski vacations), she mentioned off-handedly about the time they "cut up my baby blanket". What?! She went on to tell the story about how when I was seven, she and my dad contacted my pediatrician because they were worried that I was getting a little old for a baby blanket. The doctor agreed and made the following suggestion: each night over the course of several months, they come into my room when I was sleeping and cut a tiny bit around the edges of my baby blanket. This way the blanket would slowly shrink over time.



Hahahahaha, what an arsehole. I don't think he'd get away with that these days, and with good reason.
They don't ever seem to go back and explore things

Um, Scars of Mirrodin?

Anyway, I'll return to my favorite gripe as an example of where WotC failed at design principle number nine, being concerned with the environment. That is, doing away with sixty-card theme decks and replacing them with forty-card intro packs. They made the mistake of focussing on what they thought theme decks were for instead of finding out how theme decks were actually used. They thought that theme decks were for introducing new players to the game and to sets, and failed to notice that there was a group of people who actually bought them in order to play with them. (I do that because I don't have time or inclination to build decks, and having little boxes to pull out at a moment's notice so I can play Magic with my wife and son is extremely important to me.) The difference between forty-plus-shiny-plus-booster and sixty-plus-shiny-plus-booster is trivial, except that the first annoys and makes unhappy a segment of the community (well, me, at least) and the second one doesn't.

Gray Ogre mattering as anything more than an amusing piece of flavor text is pretty much a lost cause.



When Time Spiral was being spoiled, or at least I think it was around then, and somewhere in these forums before they became "new and less improved", I attempted to create a mechanic that I eventually called "reminisce" that would make old crappy cards passably playable.

Went something like this...

Reminisce - [cardname], [cardname] ~ as you play this spell you may choose instead to search your hand, graveyard and library for a card named [cardname] and/or a card named [cardname] and play those cards instead. If you do, exile this spell.

So, for example...

Grey Wurm -
Creature - Wurm
Reminisce - Grey Ogre, Craw Wurm
5/5

or you could combine the good with the meh...

Twiddling Bolt -
Instant
Tap target creature. Draw a card.
Reminisce - Twiddle, Lightning Bolt

or just go to town on the crap...

Squire's Assembly -
Sorcery
Put two 1/2 white soldier creature tokens named Squire into play.
Reminisce - Squire, Squire, Squire, Squire

That last one also prompted a version of reminsce where you named just one card but got to play any number of copies in your hand / library / graveyard. Anyway...

+1 to the poster above me. Design, regardless of it being new MP3s, oil-platform-gear, cars or MTG Cards is the same in principle. All the principles hold true regardless and Rams 10 principles (Though I wouldn't take them for being the absolute truth) are very much applicable to designing Magic. 




You're both right Tongue out Principles like these are indeed applicable on a lot of things (not just design), but we ARE talking about 2 different designs here.

In the case of products, it's about what's between the user and the function, about the interaction, usability, etc.

With game design however, it's also (or moreso) about creating that function. That matters a lot.

Many of these principles can be interpreted in different ways. MaRo related them to Magic in just one of the many possible ways. Which is the tip of the iceberg he talked about =)

So, for example...

Grey Wurm -
Creature - Wurm
Reminisce - Grey Ogre, Craw Wurm
5/5




Awesome!
Do I get to play the cards without paying their mana costs?

Orzhova Witness

Restarting Quotes Block
58086748 wrote:
58335208 wrote:
Disregard women acquire chase rares.
There are a lot of dudes for whom this is not optional.
97820278 wrote:
144532521 wrote:
How;s a 2 drop 1/2, Flying broken? What am I missing?
You're missing it because *turns Storm Crows sideways* all your base are belong to Chuck Norris and every other overused meme ever.
I felt inclined to defend the first installment of this article from its detractors, but I have to admit that I found it hard to relate to this half of the article.

Maybe it would have worked better if he left the Macintosh references in!

The idea that general design principles apply to Magic too, even if one has to stretch a bit to see how they might be applicable, is reasonable enough. But this time, some of them seemed to be so stretched that my eyes glazed over while I was reading instead of seeing the connection. Generally, I enjoy Mark Rosewater's articles, and this is one of the few times that I felt that some of the usual complaints about them were valid.

Coming up with weird ideas to make everyone happy since 2008!

 

I have now started a blog as an appropriate place to put my crazy ideas.

Just skimmed over this one. Without more actual examples of what these mean as pertaining to Magic, it unfortunately becomes "meandering, hot air" as somebody put it. 

And let me clarify I like to read things "just because", without needing any hand-holding. But not here. Not when the column is supposed to be about Magic design.



And Maro, your pediatrician should be shot (or at least soundly thrashed with a wet noodle). That was horrible advice about your security blanket. When it's time to give it up, the parents need to be honest with the child. Lying about even little things like this only sets up distrust in the child.  Start by restricting it from not going on car trips, then only in certain rooms, then it sits on a shelf where it can be seen. 

Proud member of C.A.R.D. - Campaign Against Rare Duals "...but the time has come when lands just need to be better. Creatures have gotten stronger, spells have always been insane, and lands just sat in this awkward place of necessity." Jacob Van Lunen on the refuge duals, 16 Sep 2009. "While it made thematic sense to separate enemy and allied color fixing in the past, we have come around to the definite conclusion that it is just plain incorrect from a game-play perspective. This is one of these situations where game play should just trump flavor." - Sam Stoddard on ending the separation of allied/enemy dual lands. 05 July 2013
Gray Ogre mattering as anything more than an amusing piece of flavor text is pretty much a lost cause.

Point of order: Gray Ogre never mattered.
Uthden Troll, Sedge Troll, and Granite Gargoyle all obsoleted it in Alpha.



Rarity actually almost mattered back then, dude.  Not everybody could afford to buy all the rares or even the uncommon Troll.  Many players could, but not all.  Granted even in mostly-commons you'd usually rather have Hurloon Minotaur, but it was theoretically possible that a budget player might need the Ogre back then.  It was a slim possibility, but not nonexistent.
My New Phyrexia Writing Credits My M12 Writing Credits
As far as the benefit of the rest of Magic is concerned, gold cards in Legends were executed perfectly. They got all the excitement a designer could hope out of a splashy new mechanic without using up any of the valuable design space. Truly amazing. --Aaron Forsythe's Random Card Comment on Kei Takahashi
And Maro, your pediatrician should be shot (or at least soundly thrashed with a wet noodle).



I've never understood this phrase. Do you mean we should cook a spaghetti-like piece of food, then start whipping him? The noodle would probably break apart on the first strike! Or is this practise meant to be humiliating and silly rather than painful?

And Maro, your pediatrician should be shot (or at least soundly thrashed with a wet noodle).



I've never understood this phrase. Do you mean we should cook a spaghetti-like piece of food, then start whipping him? The noodle would probably break apart on the first strike! Or is this practise meant to be humiliating and silly rather than painful?




Yeah, mainly the latter. I stole it years ago from Ann Landers. 

Proud member of C.A.R.D. - Campaign Against Rare Duals "...but the time has come when lands just need to be better. Creatures have gotten stronger, spells have always been insane, and lands just sat in this awkward place of necessity." Jacob Van Lunen on the refuge duals, 16 Sep 2009. "While it made thematic sense to separate enemy and allied color fixing in the past, we have come around to the definite conclusion that it is just plain incorrect from a game-play perspective. This is one of these situations where game play should just trump flavor." - Sam Stoddard on ending the separation of allied/enemy dual lands. 05 July 2013
Design is NOT all the same, and design principles for lamps and clocks do NOT apply to Magic cards.  The word "Design" doesn't even mean the same thing for a piece of machinery as it does for a game card.


Wow, you really don't know jack about designing things, do you?
Manaug.gif | Manawu.gif | Manau.gif | Manaub.gif | Manaur.gif
Wow, you really don't know jack about designing things, do you?



Who the hell are you?
There seems to be a large misconception here that "Design" and "Engineering" are the same thing.
Thanks Qmark, I think that rather simply explains why the Apple thing so annoyed me.

I think I get why Maro loves Apple products so much. But I don't think Maro gets why some people are viscerally put off by it. He's thinking "Simple, clean, useful" and I'm thinking "Wait, with only two buttons, how difficult is that going to be to create the experience I want when I'm listening to my music?"

He's not really accounting for people who want control over an experience, and instead is telling us about what good design looks like for those who don't. Get rid of all the confusing bits and bobs! is always wise, but how many of those confusing bits and bobs are necessary can really depend on what someone is trying to do.

I'm sure Maro knows that taking off necessary bits and bobs for "elegance" is bad design -- he's not stupid, contrary to what many of his detractors imply. But I'd like to see him talk about that in addition to talking about making things elegant and understandable. The key thing about Magic, after all -- the thing that's kept us coming back for years and years -- is how much of the experience is created by us. That's the brilliance of Magic: its endless customizability.

And that's why I have trouble seeing parallels between "Magic design" and "iPod Nano." The first of those looks like a rich world to play in... the second looks "handy, but really frustrating when trying to create something complex that I can then change or move through in different ways."
And that's why I have trouble seeing parallels between "Magic design" and "iPod Nano." The first of those looks like a rich world to play in... the second looks "handy, but really frustrating when trying to create something complex that I can then change or move through in different ways."

There was some recent (or maybe old?..) article where MaRo was exactly comparing MTG with Mac products and stating how similar they are, where I already commented that this is so far from the trut. I still do not get why MaRo does not see it (him being a designer and an intelligent person) - it is so obvious. What he could argue is that MTG maybe should move towards being like Mac products, but then they are not on the track yet, and I think that would also be a mistake - just create a new TCG that is like Mac. Hell, TCG in general might not be meant to be like Mac, that is what farmsville is for!
And Maro, your pediatrician should be shot (or at least soundly thrashed with a wet noodle).



I've never understood this phrase. Do you mean we should cook a spaghetti-like piece of food, then start whipping him? The noodle would probably break apart on the first strike! Or is this practise meant to be humiliating and silly rather than painful?




Yeah, mainly the latter. I stole it years ago from Ann Landers. 




The advice columnist? (Had to wikipedia her.)

I'm sure I've heard the same phrase coming from Americans in the past so at least I know where it comes from. Thanks!

I was hoping Wikipedia would have more info on such an interesting phrase, though. Wikipedia always misses out on the cool stuff.
P.S. Abstaining from apple products in the pics was judicious.

Though the differences between game design and product design are many, the similarities are arguably greater. This is a man who's talked about game-design lessons learned/practised whilst planning a wedding! I don't understand why anyone would be up in arms NOW!

In any case, unless we follow rules blindly, they're only going to force a re-examination or a new direction. In any creative field, these are all guidelines and applying a new set - even if we then go on to discard them - can help in re-evaluating our work.
And that's why I have trouble seeing parallels between "Magic design" and "iPod Nano." The first of those looks like a rich world to play in... the second looks "handy, but really frustrating when trying to create something complex that I can then change or move through in different ways."

There was some recent (or maybe old?..) article where MaRo was exactly comparing MTG with Mac products and stating how similar they are, where I already commented that this is so far from the trut. I still do not get why MaRo does not see it (him being a designer and an intelligent person) - it is so obvious. What he could argue is that MTG maybe should move towards being like Mac products, but then they are not on the track yet, and I think that would also be a mistake - just create a new TCG that is like Mac. Hell, TCG in general might not be meant to be like Mac, that is what farmsville is for!



I think he could have made an interesting case for a relationship. For example, if he'd talked about how he tries to create simplicity and make things smooth and elegant and understandable for all *despite* the complexity of Magic design, and how Apple inspires him there, I wouldn't have been so weirded out. I mean, *nix is incredibly powerful, but I only muddled through learning what I could do with my Linux machine because I was dating someone who knew how it worked and could help me learn the arcana. And after that machine got repurposed I forgot a ton of it. (I really, really wish I'd managed to get Samba working and hadn't ultimately had to give up on networking a Linux machine with the Windows ones we also had. I was really upset about that, I tell you. But if I can't print, I can't really do what I need to do. *sigh*)

So I think there really is a question of how you take that raw power to create what you want with this very powerful and flexible tool and design it in a way that's usable and doesn't require more obscure knowledge than is absolutely necessary.

THAT would have been an article I'd want to read. How Magic is like Unix in complexity, but how designers struggle to make it like Apple in usability.

Just showing me the pretty iThings and not getting into how or whether they've got the kind of guts I'd want inside, though... not satisfying. At least not to me.

So, for example...

Grey Wurm -
Creature - Wurm
Reminisce - Grey Ogre, Craw Wurm
5/5




Awesome!
Do I get to play the cards without paying their mana costs?

Maybe its a tutor?
I certainly wouldn't mind a 6/4 thats always in my hand when I need to cast it.
BTW, I think this is what they have done with the Duels of the Plainswalkers, or whatever the game is called (the Xbox game) - I have not plaid it, but I would assume from everything that I have read - that it could be ton of fun for a person that knows nothing about Magic - they get the enjoyment out of it, but they do not have to dig deep into it. Then again - I think it will be very boring for a hard core MTG player. Same way as iTunes for me - it just cannot do what I want to do!

So please MaRo - if you write about Apple - mention relevant examples (the Xbox game), bot Magic in general! Because it deos not apply to Magic in general (and IMHO should not).

BTW, I also useed Linus (Debian) for some time - and thanks to having user support readily available, and also stopped using it some time after the user support was not available any more.
BTW, I think this is what they have done with the Duels of the Plainswalkers, or whatever the game is called (the Xbox game) - I have not plaid it, but I would assume from everything that I have read - that it could be ton of fun for a person that knows nothing about Magic - they get the enjoyment out of it, but they do not have to dig deep into it. Then again - I think it will be very boring for a hard core MTG player. Same way as iTunes for me - it just cannot do what I want to do!

So please MaRo - if you write about Apple - mention relevant examples (the Xbox game), bot Magic in general! Because it deos not apply to Magic in general (and IMHO should not).

BTW, I also useed Linus (Debian) for some time - and thanks to having user support readily available, and also stopped using it some time after the user support was not available any more.



I don't use iTunes either. I keep thinking I've missed the boat and I'd better figure it out so as not to lose all the geek cred I've ever had, but every time I even look at it it's ugly and kludgy and I don't get why it's superior to just buying through Amazon MP3 and using Winamp as a player anyway. It's entirely possible I am simply a cranky old curmudgeon, however. XD
I don't use iTunes either. I keep thinking I've missed the boat and I'd better figure it out so as not to lose all the geek cred I've ever had, but every time I even look at it it's ugly and kludgy and I don't get why it's superior to just buying through Amazon MP3 and using Winamp as a player anyway. It's entirely possible I am simply a cranky old curmudgeon, however. XD


Winamp is also in the same boat I use foobar. Needs some short time to get used to it, but after that - do not want to use anything else - complete freedom.
I actually like the Itunes interface, although I have gotten used to it due to my Ipod. What I don't like are the program's limitations. If I happen to want to do what it will allow me to do, that's great. Anything more advanced than that and I have to find another solution. I have over 100 GB of music and Itunes doesn't offer me many options for queries.

That, to me, sums up Apple. It does what it does very well, and sometimes that's actually what I want it to do. Any other time, I have to go elsewhere. I can use Itunes for playback of my whole collection or highlighted artists/genres on shuffle (which I do a lot, actually) and listening to an album when I already know that's what I want to listen to and Itunes is already open. When I want to create an advanced playlist or query my collection using criteria Apple has decided is not important, Itunes is useless to me. I also prefer Winamp for one-off file/folder listening. I can't see myself using too many of their products, and I doubt I will ever use a Mac. But my Ipod classic holds my entire collection and that has been pretty useful. It goes everywhere with me and works well.
I actually like the Itunes interface, although I have gotten used to it due to my Ipod. What I don't like are the program's limitations. If I happen to want to do what it will allow me to do, that's great. Anything more advanced than that and I have to find another solution. I have over 100 GB of music and Itunes doesn't offer me many options for queries.

That, to me, sums up Apple. It does what it does very well, and sometimes that's actually what I want it to do. Any other time, I have to go elsewhere. I can use Itunes for playback of my whole collection or highlighted artists/genres on shuffle (which I do a lot, actually) and listening to an album when I already know that's what I want to listen to and Itunes is already open. When I want to create an advanced playlist or query my collection using criteria Apple has decided is not important, Itunes is useless to me. I also prefer Winamp for one-off file/folder listening. I can't see myself using too many of their products, and I doubt I will ever use a Mac. But my Ipod classic holds my entire collection and that has been pretty useful. It goes everywhere with me and works well.

p_m, I'll have to try that one. Thanks!

Hacimen, what you're saying is pretty much what I mean. It's not that I hate Apple or dislike Macs (okay, I do dislike Macs, but this is only because it's been fifteen years or so since I steadily used one. If I got used to them again I doubt I'd have any serious problem with them.) It's that a lot of the things Apple is producing seem to me like they do one thing well and simply.

And, well, to put it as succinctly as I can, I'm Blue. If I have something I want to do, I don't just want the simple thing I can grab to do that one thing. I want to be able to explore possibilities.

I don't know, from not being all that familiar, exactly what an iPod will and won't do. But I know from looking at it some that I don't notice an obviously intuitive way to, say, create several selections of groups of songs by type I've specified (especially if I want several criteria selected for or against at a time) and easily select which I want right now.

Now, there are a lot of players that won't do this, so it's not like Apple's alone if I'm right this isn't doable or is hard to do. It's just that Apple is THE MP3 TITAN and I just go, wait, how are you THE MP3 TITAN when you're offering clean-n-simple for the Red folks who want to hear something right now now now and yet the version for people like me either doesn't exist or isn't advertised?
BTW, for those using iTunes just because of having iPod (which to great hurt I did in the beginning) - you can use floola instead (for adding/removing songs to your iPod).
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