Ben Milstead

Hi, I’m Ben Milstead, and Waltzing Mehtilde (yes, it’s a play on the classic phrase) is my blog for writing about whatever’s on my mind, or up my ass, at any given moment.

Much of what I write has to do with the video game industry, where I’ve spent most of my professional career. I love games, and I believe that play is one of the most important parts of being human. I also love running, especially trails in the summer heat. I read a lot, and enjoy a good API as much as a good book or blog.

I’m one of those polyhistor types. One of my favorite quotes, from Robert Heinlein, is:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

I’m proud to say that I’ve done most of the list (I’m still working on dying gallantly, and hope to be for some time). In any event I’ve held a life-long fascination by the intersection of art and science, hence my interest in games (I also spent a good deal of time in academia looking for proofs in the pudding). I believe that art uses far more logic, and science far more creativity and intuition, than the common wisdom.

One question I still get asked on a fairly regular basis is, “How do I get into the video game industry?” Although the industry is different today than when I started, the answer is still the same: make games. If you’re a programmer, make games. If you’re an artist, make games. If you’re a storyteller, make games. If you can’t figure out how to make games on your own, you’re kidding yourself. If you’re not interested in making games on your own, you’ll absolutely hate it as a career.