Sense of Style
- Classical style relies on imagery. Everything should be framed as a concrete, imaginable thing.
- State the point of your writing up front; don't try to hide it from your reader.
- Writers tend to abstract idea's based on their function. For example, I might refer to a game over screen as a "fail state," but the reader often won't understand what a "fail state" is, especially my exact concept of a fail state. Most of the time, functional fixations should be avoided, but if they are absolutely necessary—for example, I am attempting to compare the fail states of games with and without "game over" screens—I should be very clear in my definition of the term. This
- When experts reason about big ideas, they do so using abstract chunks of information, made up of concepts which bundle simple ideas in such a way that they fit into working memory. Expects must take care to avoid using using those large chunks in their writings without introducing the concepts properly.
- Don't get too hung up on your process for deriving knowledge. People don't care. Your own narcissism as a professional blinds you to how little it matters. The reader wants to know what you've discovered, but not necessarily how.
In Starcraft, players must spend minerals to build an army. The minerals can be mined from patches spread throughout the map. In order to mine from a mineral patch, the player commands a worker to mine from the patch. The worker will then collect the minerals by carrying them back and forth from the patch and the nearest base. Bases are buildings which must be constructed somewhere on the map, but it is most common to build bases directly beside a cluster of mineral patches. Mineral patches always come in big clusters, so the best base locations are obvious. Most bases allow 16 workers to mine at one time; additional workers are completely ineffective. If a base mines out—as in, all of the available resources have been collected—the base ceases to be a source of income for the player. If the base lacks workers, either because the player never assigned them or because they were killed off by opposing players, the base is referred to as being under saturated, and ceases to be a source of income for the player. In the case of a base being mined out, the income is lost forever, whereas an under saturated base can be restarted once the base receives new workers.
When starcraft experts are viewing or playing a match, they bundle all of these concepts—mineral patches, workers, bases, saturation—into the single idea of "how many mining bases does a player have." That's it. That, is a mental chunk, and it is substantially less complicated to reason about than the constituent parts.