Last year, Em Lazer Walker gave an excellent talk titled We used a MIDI CONTROLLER to tune our GAMEFEEL!!, in which she describes how we humans are biased towards round numbers and how that impacts game development.
Humans are terrible with fractions. If asked to increase a number, we might go from 1 to 2, maybe 1 to 1.5 or 1.1, and almost never from 1 to 1.000000001. We have a bias towards whole numbers. But game physics, for example, are much more precise. Setting gravity to 0.978 instead of 0.9 or 1.0 might make all the subtle difference to whether character movement feels good or “crunchy.” Our human brains, however, need help to make such fine adjustments. That’s where the MIDI controller comes in. Like tuning a guitar, the game developer can tweak the game settings ever so slightly and still receive immediate feedback. And like with Test-Driven Development (TDD), faster feedback loops make for better code. And the MIDI controller provides that fast feedback loop. It’s our secret weapon for overcoming our brain’s bad math habits.
What else in your life would benefit from fine adjustment? The steering on your car? The cut of your shirts? The timing on your calendar alerts? Your monthly budget? Your system for planning and attempting self-improvement? Maybe individual steps of that system? How small would such a change have to be for you to be able to do it right away?