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We’ve been very interested in the experiences of the developers involved with the meditations.games project, how they felt about the crediting process and controversy surrounding it, and the level of social media reception that they experienced, so we reached out to multiple developers involved with the project for their input. Below you’ll find the second batch of interviews we conducted with the developers who asked to be credited upfront for the project, and what they had to say.

These interviews are as unedited as possible to present the developers’ answers in their own words. You can find the first batch of interviews with those included in the partial credits list here and the interviews with those not included in the partial credits list here and here.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in these interviews are those of the developers interviewed. They do not reflect the opinions or views of the staff or contributors of this site, nor should they be taken as such.

Anonymous Contributor

First, I know there was some controversy surrounding the credit process for contributors to the project, could you tell me your impression of how this happened?

I assumed that we would be credited on the project website on release day. Some of the other contributors I talked to felt the same, but we did not really discuss this much.

There was almost no talk about getting credited amongst the contributors I was in contact with. I think it was not a topic because of a few things:

– Everyone I talked to was really confused about the rules and requirements of the project. I spent more time explaining things to fellow contributors than I spent working on my game. This confusion was the main topic of conversation around Meditations amongst the contributors I had contact with before Launch.

– We had access to a list of all contributors. Seeing this List (where everyone who contributed could enter their twitter handle), made me assume that everyone would get credited in the same order as on the spreadsheet.

– There are constant discussions in the game dev bubble about crediting at big game companies, I simply assumed that this project would credit everyone included, because it was run by people who I assumed to have certain positions about crediting.

– Everyone was very excited to be a part of this. Some of the contributors are devs that a lot of people look up to and that “starstriking” kept me from thinking about other aspects of meditations.

– None of the documents that contributors had access to mentioned crediting at all.

I also noticed that you asked to be credited before the end of the project, how did you come to that decision, and what do you think about how that process was handled?

It was a very easy decision for me. I spent work and effort on making my game and explaining things to other contributors, and I wanted to be credited for that.

After the release of meditations & the initial backlash, the people running meditations sent out a very long and (to me) confusing poll, about how the contributors would like crediting to be handled. This Poll was written in very complicated English. I believe many non-native speakers had trouble reading it. I know of some who didn’t even bother to read it or engage with it.

After the first poll (I believe, not 100% sure, I don’t have too much time rn) a second poll was sent, where we got to choose how we wanted to be credited.

This whole process felt very alienating to me. A lot of people spent a lot of time working for this project and now they had to spend even more energy on deciphering multiple, pretty complex, polls, just to get what everyone assumed they would get right away.

Would you say you’re happy with how the situation was handled, and what about the process were you satisfied/dissatisfied with, if anything?

I was not happy at all. I am still not happy. This thing that could have been a neat experience turned into a gigantic thing that I had to spend a lot of time wrestling with, just because the organizers did not consider mentioning how every contributor would be credited for their FREE work.

Do you have any comments on how you think it could have been handled better, or how you think it was handled well?

A few things should have been simply written, then there would have been no need to handle anything:

– an upfront statement about how crediting will work (not sure how many people would have participated then tbh)
– an actual, good explanation of what was expected of contributors.

Additionally, after being credited, and after your meditation launching (if it has launched as of yet) have you noticed any increase in social media engagement or interest in your other projects that you would attribute to being involved in the project?

My meditation did not launch.
A friend was smart and put their meditation in the earliest timeslot still available & they got good coverage. As the year went on, less and less people cared about the meditations, as was to be expected. Mine launches in [date removed], and I expect no impact from it.

And finally, do you have any general comments you’d like to make about your experience with the project as a whole, good or bad?

It was a great idea.
It was not executed well.
There was a big rush to get new devs into the project somewhere around Autumn or Winter 2018, creating a lot of confusion. The explanation texts were written in a way that everyone I know who read them had multiple important questions afterwards.

It was fun to make my game.
It was a lot of (emotional) work after the project was announced.

Not being credited for my contributions & then being subjected to reading very complex polls to get credit felt pretty bad.

I do not think the organizers had bad intentions.
I do think that they did not think too much.

Rick Hoppmann – tinyworlds

First, I know there was some controversy surrounding the credit process for contributors to the project, could you tell me your impression of how this happened?

I think the credit issue was due to a lack of communication. The organizers talked with individual people about how crediting should be handled. Some wanted to remain anonymous/ wanted their project to be a surprise. Thus the decision was made to only give credit at the end & during the day the project is released. This was assumed by the organizers to be the fairest option.

This was never communicated to the authors.

I think me – and many others – assumed we would get proper crediting right away.

The project arguably got most attention so far during it’s launch. Not crediting all authors right away disadvantages everyone with a project after the initial peak of interest.

This issue should have been discussed before the project launch.

I also noticed that you asked to be credited before the end of the project, how did you come to that decision, and what do you think about how that process was handled?

For me it was a practical decision. I knew the project would most likely get the most attention during it’s announcement. My game is scheduled late in the year.

So being credited beforehand was a way for me to not get lost in the “mid-slump”.

Another reason is that the credit gives me something to reference in case I want to mention the project in a CV.

Would you say you’re happy with how the situation was handled, and what about the process were you satisfied/dissatisfied with, if anything?

I think crediting is something that should have been discussed beforehand. Rami acknowledged that if I remember correctly. He and the other organizers were very responsive once the problem arose. People make mistakes and they worked on fixing it right away.

Do you have any comments on how you think it could have been handled better, or how you think it was handled well?

Discussing it beforehand would have solved most of the issues.

Additionally, after being credited, and after your meditation launching (if it has launched as of yet) have you noticed any increase in social media engagement or interest in your other projects that you would attribute to being involved in the project?

My project hasn’t launched (yet). I got some recognition announcing during the launch phase via my personal Twitter. Nothing mayor though.

And finally, do you have any general comments you’d like to make about your experience with the project as a whole, good or bad?

I think the project is a wonderful idea that brings together a lot of interesting voices.

Overall my experience was very good and I’m glad I could add a little experience to this collaboration.

Tamara Duplantis

First, I know there was some controversy surrounding the credit process for contributors to the project, could you tell me your impression of how this happened?

I am not one of the organizers, so my statements on their intent are merely educated guesses. But: As I understand it, the organizers of Meditations view the project as a long-form collaborative art piece; this is how it was presented to me. I think for the organizers, the concept of each game (and each game creator) being a big surprise reveal was important to that conceit. While the former was clearly communicated to the contributors, the latter was left up to implication.

Also, judging by the spreadsheet passed around to organize the contributors, it seems that the project was initially conceived to be added on to throughout the year, as opposed to all the pieces being completed by the start of 2019. I would guess that at that stage, the organizers wouldn’t have worried but about the crediting process (since asking someone to wait two weeks before announcing their involvement is a lot easier of an ask than waiting up to a year), and once the format changed, just neglecting to rethink that.

I also noticed that you asked to be credited before the end of the project, how did you come to that decision, and what do you think about how that process was handled?

I’m probably an interesting case in that I chose to be credited for my music in Ryan Rose Aceae’s meditation, but not to be credited for my own meditation. For context, I make my games as a way to process difficult emotions and situations, and my meditation is about a particularly traumatic event in my life, namely my experience fleeing an abusive relationship. I made it for this project purposefully to create something cathartic in a few hours, release it briefly, and never dwell on it again. Furthermore, I was initially afraid to draw attention to it out of fear that my abuser would retaliate if they discovered I made a game about what they did to me. That said, speaking on a larger scale, I think that it was incredibly important for the organizers to keep the focus of this project’s attention on its contributors, and that by making anonymity until reveal the default, they did a disservice to the hundreds of developers who put in the time and energy to make the project a reality. I preferred anonymity because of my situation, but in my opinion my case should have been the exception and not the rule.

Would you say you’re happy with how the situation was handled, and what about the process were you satisfied/dissatisfied with, if anything? / Do you have any comments on how you think it could have been handled better, or how you think it was handled well?

 I’m personally happy with the way the credits were inevitably presented; due to my situation, it allowed me to publicly state my involvement while keeping my personal contribution under the radar until it launched. I’m also glad that the organizers made some effort to rectify the situation. I do wish that they had facilitated the conversation before launch as opposed to assuming that all participants would go along with the surprise, especially since in retrospect most of the project’s attention seemed to come from those first few days of the year.

Additionally, after being credited, and after your meditation launching (if it has launched as of yet) have you noticed any increase in social media engagement or interest in your other projects that you would attribute to being involved in the project?

Overall, I feel that my inclusion in the project helped to raise awareness and engagement of my work. Twitter kept me very busy on launch day; I had the good fortune of having mine featured on the same day as the publication of an LA Times article on the project, so I assume that helped. (And of course, many friends, followers, and strangers sent their well-wishes, since I hadn’t spoken very publicly about my abuse before then.) Looking back on the numbers, what helped point people to my other work more than the credit or the Meditation day itself was releasing my contribution on my own terms as a standalone game a couple days later.

And finally, do you have any general comments you’d like to make about your experience with the project as a whole, good or bad?

Thinking back on the experience, I find myself re-examining unfair crediting practices not just in games, but in the art world as well. Coming from a fine arts background, I recognize very well the tendencies of members of the artistic community to disregard proper crediting practices out of an anxiety that collaboration and adaptation makes for lesser art, that original artistic ideas cannot be valid unless they spring fully-formed from the head of a singular Artist. I think that in approaching this project as an art piece, the organizers ended up adopting those practices without considering the ramifications of them on their contributors. Lastly, I’m glad that the game dev community is at a place where devs can recognize these systems and demand better.

Anonymous Contributor

First, I know there was some controversy surrounding the credit process for contributors to the project, could you tell me your impression of how this happened?

My memory is hazy about this subject and I might be wrong on many details on how it went down. I acted way too passively during the agitation. I remember I wasn’t really trying to give my input as I thought I’d not fit the conversation, lacking critical thought in this topic. I’m pretty blindsighted.

I didn’t notice bits like Rami putting his name everywhere on the site but not ours until the day of release or the final day. That was, after being told that it was the case, kind of weird. I didn’t really want to think it’d be a portfolio/self-advertizing point but as many people still went with this explanation, I think I’m forgiving a bit too much towards people I admire?

I still look up to him, I think he’s trying a lot to make the indie sphere better. Sure he might have botched some part of the jam’s managment. I don’t think there was any ill meaning decisions, just maybe a lack of asking for feedback.

I also noticed that you asked to be credited before the end of the project, how did you come to that decision, and what do you think about how that process was handled?

I usually don’t put a lot of care crediting myself for my works. It’s surprising to see myself on the list. I think I answered yes as in getting crediting alongside the game I made on the launcher, not on the site. I now feel like I made a mistake?

To be honest, I didn’t really follow the discourse as much as I should have and in retrospect, I felt like I just chose with very little hindsight and now I’m only figuring it [out] too late?

Would you say you’re happy with how the situation was handled, and what about the process were you satisfied/dissatisfied with, if anything?

I felt like my own submission is pretty underwhelming (as it’s barely interactive and not really meditative IMHO) and doesn’t deserve as much attention as the other entries. It was something treading with a subject I probably wouldn’t have used in other game jams.

Also before doing my submission, I feel like there was a lack of precise details/conditions. I was given a suggested amount of time to work on the submission and I took it as the jam’s duration. I [didn’t] realize it wasn’t the definite time and that I could have worked more until way later (a few days before release).

Do you have any comments on how you think it could have been handled better, or how you think it was handled well?

I have no experience in managing people, it’d be bad taste to [be an] armchair critic. I don’t remember if there was a way to have a group chat for common discussion about it, but maybe it’d have been good to have one?

Additionally, after being credited, and after your meditation launching (if it has launched as of yet) have you noticed any increase in social media engagement or interest in your other projects that you would attribute to being involved in the project?

I didn’t gather a lot of attention. I remember seeing roughly two people talking about my game, one went “WTF” and the other one did a video and understood pretty much the subject. But nothing much more impactful.

A Participant in the Project

At this point I’d rather just share my experience than link to my work or anything. Here is my best explanation of the situation that addresses most of the questions:

Since all of the artist information was available to all of us, I figured there would at least be a page on the site where that list of contributors would be available, even if it was not on the first page. I was surprised that there didn’t seem to be a plan for this, or for a running list that people could refer back to until the end of the year. The process of being brought on to the project was kind of haphazard (they were asking people to participate quite late in the year for something that would go live on Jan 1) And there were several different people organizing it, so I think a lot of people just didn’t get the specific info of what to expect.

Opting in to being credited during the entire year was one of the compromises that was available so I went with it, even though it wasn’t how I would have chosen to credit people. I feel like the process of polling people who had all been told varying degrees of information about the project on what they wanted, while “democratic” on its face was not really addressing that a significant portion of people felt misinformed. A lot of questions on the survey were phrased in a kind of defensive way saying that people who were more informed about the nature of the project and brought on earlier in the process wanted to be anonymous or a surprise and that having a page where everyone was credited was unfair or even harmful to them… but it wasn’t our fault we didn’t have the same perspective on the project they did.

Caring about crediting from the start and giving collaborators specific info of how and when they’ll be credited is the ideal (but now impossible) solution, but I would have preferred either a page that kept up names/game titles/info as they were revealed, or a list that included everyone except people who opted for anonymity. The twitter account that announces the creator for every day is a good way to do the first but it was not made by any of the organizers, when it seems like a very obvious way to promote and keep interest going in the project. 

Overall, I think there were 2 or 3 tweets about my own game. I only really make games for fun, so I wasn’t approaching this as an “opportunity.” The curator part of me was bothered by the temporary credits only original situation, which was why I decided to contribute to the pushback, because I think that information is important to further coverage and discussion of something. I think the way it was handled does run the risk of letting people down. There’s definitely a huge range of approaches and outcomes that are all homogenized under “indie.” The six hour work limit “rule” is not really meaningfully enforced…  and even then asking someone for six hours is a lot of free work! I just finished a simple flat game in that time which is my comfort zone but I could see how, in the context of the work of other people involved, people could feel pressure to do more as a chance to stand out, but then feel like they got very little support in the short window when their game and a link to their other work is actually available. 

Anonymous Contributor

First, I know there was some controversy surrounding the credit process for contributors to the project, could you tell me your impression of how this happened?

My experience of working on Meditations started when Jupiter Hadley contacted me … asking if I wanted to participate in the project. She linked me to the Google doc that explained the what the design constraints were for my contribution, and a spreadsheet where I could sign up for a date. There was nothing to explain how the project would be presented, or how people would be credited. I figured more information would come later. So I submitted my game and waited.

I didn’t hear anything back – no confirmation that they received or accepted my game, nothing letting me know when the collab would launch – until I saw the launch announcement in my Twitter timeline. As a retweet. At that point I was surprised and confused – wouldn’t they have sent out an email about the launch to contributors at least? Wondering if I’d just not been accepted, I looked for the credits list on the website – only to find no contribution credits at all. Now I was very confused. I initially though I’d just missed something somewhere along the line. I wasn’t relying on this project to promote myself or my work, though, so I didn’t email Rami or Jupiter for clarification. (I did email them later to follow up on whether my game had been received and worked ok, and they responded to that email letting me know that they were testing out the games in batches, month by month – and confirmed that my game worked fine when it was closer to the day of my meditation’s launch.)

Then I started seeing folks on Twitter and Discord talk about the lack of credits. Ok, so it wasn’t my oversight – it was the organizers’ oversight. Rami had a specific vision of how Meditations worked, and I’m sure there was a lot of conversation about it with the other organizers – but no one realized that there were a lot of assumptions that weren’t included in the documentation given to the contributors.

Rami responded to the growing controversy quickly enough, with a series of emails that asked the contributors to vote on how he could make things right. Unfortunately, at that point people had divergent ideas of what should be done, and in some ways it felt too-little-too-late to make up for the initial lack of clear communication about expectations. While the voting was democratic and practical, it also emphasized the lack of real… collaboration on this collaboration. This was Rami’s vision, a singular application, not a game jam or a loose thematic collection of independent works. But then, that’s what it always was – we just didn’t know it. (Or idk, maybe some people did… but I didn’t at least.)

The whole mess felt like a couple of critical mistakes made out of inexperience – some things that fell through the cracks in a huge project requiring the coordination of hundreds of people. But it was frustrating to watch it all play out. Rami and the organizers can and should have been more clear about things at the outset. I don’t believe they meant anything bad by it, though, and once those mistakes were made, I think they did okay at handling the aftermath – letting people leave with shame, and crediting people the way they wanted to be credited. Even if I’m salty about things, I don’t have any ill-will towards Rami or Jupiter or anyone involved in the project. I hope they (and others!) can learn how to do this sort of thing better in the future.

I also noticed that you asked to be credited before the end of the project, how did you come to that decision, and what do you think about how that process was handled?

I chose to be credited in the way I assumed I’d be credited from the beginning. I didn’t see much advantage to keeping things secret until the end.

Would you say you’re happy with how the situation was handled, and what about the process were you satisfied/dissatisfied with, if anything?

I think the Meditations team screwed up pretty badly by not communicating how they intended to do the crediting. But they recognized their mistake after the fact, and did their best to patch things up.

I’m satisfied, if not happy, about how things got resolved. I fully understand why some folks decided to withdraw from the project, and I appreciate a lot of the critiques of the project for being time-gated and for the problematics of a successful indie developer asking for free labor from marginalized creators. I don’t think the critiques mean that the project shouldn’t have been undertaken at all, though – it’s a cool idea, slickly executed, and does for the most part act as a showcase for the various creators. It’s a worthwhile experiment. I just wish that had been part of the pitch.

Do you have any comments on how you think it could have been handled better, or how you think it was handled well?

More communication would have been good, all up. I think the follow-up voting emails that Rami sent were fine – maybe not the perfect way to handle things, but maybe there wasn’t a perfect way to handle things at that point.

Additionally, after being credited, and after your meditation launching (if it has launched as of yet) have you noticed any increase in social media engagement or interest in your other projects that you would attribute to being involved in the project?

My meditation launched several months after the start of the project, so I had been credited for a while before then. On the day my meditation launched I got maybe a dozen or two dozen likes and retweets, a few new followers… but after a day or two that was it, things were back to normal. I tweeted that day about the engine I made my game in, which is one of my other projects – but other than likes/retweets and some itch.io traffic, I haven’t seen sustained engagement with my twitter account or itch.io account. And to be fair, I mostly retweet things, so I don’t expect much engagement on social media!

And finally, do you have any general comments you’d like to make about your experience with the project as a whole, good or bad?

I like making things with friends, for friends. This was the first time I’ve contributed to something larger. It felt more distant and disorganized, and in the end less gratifying or fun. It was less thrilling than I imagined to have a bunch of strangers play my game, especially in a context where they couldn’t leave kudos or comments. I’m upset on behalf of my friends who found the experience not just unfulfilling, but frustrating and exploitative. And the format prevents me from playing a lot of my friends’ games, because I’m not good at playing games every day like clockwork, and prefer playing small games in batches when I’m in the mood for it.

Alex Fortes

First, I know there was some controversy surrounding the credit process for contributors to the project, could you tell me your impression of how this happened?

It was basically a misunderstanding. Growing pains of a new format that ended up in some miscommunication. We knew we were going to be credited for sure, we just got different ideas of when. In my case, I thought our names would probably be added to a list daily, as each game and its authors were revealed (which would require extra work on an already challenging project). Turns out the plan was publishing the credits at the end of the year.

I also noticed that you asked to be credited before the end of the project, how did you come to that decision, and what do you think about how that process was handled?

When the issue with the credits blew up, Rami stepped up the communication and we got several chances to vote for several options. All of them were fine for me, I didn’t share the concerns regarding the credits that other collaborators seemed to have. The majority approved to publish an early list that anyone could opt in, and I just thought it could be useful to be there already. A freelancer doesn’t live on exposure, but it does help! I even had a long email thread with Rami to discuss the matter personally, and he was very understanding.

Would you say you’re happy with how the situation was handled, and what about the process were you satisfied/dissatisfied with, if anything?

Sure! When a new format is born, it’s not easy to see every problem coming. While focusing on bigger stuff, it’s possible to overlook things taken for granted. What really matters is reacting: listening to the people affected, fixing the issues promptly and learning from all of it. I can’t complain at all, because we were invited immediately to participate and decide how to solve it in a democratic way.

Do you have any comments on how you think it could have been handled better, or how you think it was handled well?

I think everyone did the best they could, wouldn’t be fair to ask for more. It’s a project born out of passion, nobody earns a penny from it, and we all invested some time, the organizers more than anyone. And they still do! The launcher required several updates so far, and when a game has an issue they fix it quickly so it can be played on the day. Personally I would prefer to have a couple of days to play each game, as work or travelling made me miss a few ones already, but that would take part of its magic, I guess.

Additionally, after being credited, and after your meditation launching (if it has launched as of yet) have you noticed any increase in social media engagement or interest in your other projects that you would attribute to being involved in the project?

My game is not out yet (getting pretty close though), but I did get a small bump after the early credits list got published. It sparks some conversations from time to time, and I met some interesting developers that way. Let’s see how it goes when the game is actually revealed.

And finally, do you have any general comments you’d like to make about your experience with the project as a whole, good or bad?

It was and still is a great experience. I’m usually very slow with my projects: keep adding stuff, keep polishing details… Meditations forced me to keep it basic, and gave me a platform to share something more personal than my usual work. I’m looking forward to see what people think of it. But so far it has been also a treat as a player! It’s awesome to see so many developers sharing their memories, experiences or quirky experiments, and it’s a great time to explore different points of view through gaming. We should definitely celebrate projects like this.

Anonymous Contributor

First, I know there was some controversy surrounding the credit process for contributors to the project, could you tell me your impression of how this happened?

I feel like a lot of the issue fell on transparency and general planning from leadership prior to initiating Meditations. Juniper communicated what she could through Twitter DMs (and she did a great job, this definitely doesn’t fall on her!); however, many important ‘what if’s’ on the project were never addressed prior to asking people to participate. In addition, due to the quick deadline (most folks were approached late November, deadline was December 14th), many participants didn’t have time to ask questions if they wanted to be able to create something on time.

I also noticed that you asked to be credited before the end of the project, how did you come to that decision, and what do you think about how that process was handled?

I asked for credit before the project’s end on principle. If the ‘surprise/hidden creator’ aspect of the project had been communicated prior to asking, then that would’ve been factored into the decision to accept participating (and honestly, I would’ve agreed). But since it was never communicated until the release of the project, it felt as if our works and individuality on the project were stripped at the last second. Also, credit was still displayed for administrators/leads on the project but not the creators – and regardless of intentions, it felt as if they were directing the credit entirely to themselves rather than the 365-ish creators that also made it possible.

Would you say you’re happy with how the situation was handled, and what about the process were you satisfied/dissatisfied with, if anything?

No. As the project required hundreds of game creators to make it possible, proper accreditation should’ve been one of the first things planned and communicated. People make mistakes – that’s understandable – but as a progressive voice of the indie game’s space, it’s a bit questionable how this was an oversight.

As for the decision, I feel like due to the amount of time it took to run the surveys for creators to make their decisions, as well as the power dynamics of the situation (‘lesser known’ developers being worried about how their opinion would affect their careers if the leadership acted spitefully), most people’s decisions were skewed.

Do you have any comments on how you think it could have been handled better, or how you think it was handled well?

Obviously communicating intentions upfront would’ve been the best way to handle it; however, if the oversight was made then the next best option would be to create an additional page for crediting the creators. On this page, it would communicate the intention of hiding the creator’s names until the completion of the project, but also provide a way for viewers to proceed in showing the creators names if they so choose. Folks who originally opted out of the crediting process when submitting (due to personal topics in games) would be excluded from this page entirely.

Additionally, after being credited, and after your meditation launching (if it has launched as of yet) have you noticed any increase in social media engagement or interest in your other projects that you would attribute to being involved in the project?

No, but to be fair that was never my intention for participating. I just felt like it was something conceptually cool and wanted to be a part of it.

And finally, do you have any general comments you’d like to make about your experience with the project as a whole, good or bad?

Regardless of intentions or oversights, power dynamics are real and can really affect those around you, in your industry. I wish there would have been more consideration of this by the project’s leaders.

You can find the next batch of interviews with contributors in Part 4 here.


Mx. Medea is a writer, artist, and editor who spends most of their time drawing things with squares and buried under a small pile of endless paper copy. When not working they can be found playing everything from interesting indie fare to oldschool games. You can find them, their art, and their opinions @Mx_Medea on Twitter.