I have recently listened to the audio version of a book called "Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise" by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool. Their standpoint is that the "10000 hours rule" and the whole concept of "talent" are pretty much bullsh*t and the key to success is "deliberate practice", and adopting the right kinds of "mental representations" for a given task, by analyzing the way expert performers in a field treat their craft. E.g. they trained a student to memorize long sequences of random digits, that are read to him at a rate of 1 digit per second. The key to getting up to worldclass performance in that field was grouping those numbers into groups of numbers, and putting them in a "retrieval structure" that makes use of the longterm memory, because the shortterm memory is just incapable of storing huge amounts of numbers so quickly. The first student they trained had to figure out all the "mental representations" that worked for himself, the next student in the experiment received training by him and was able to progress through the first stages much quicker that way. IIrc she later hit a wall though and adapted by using a different set of mental representations for the task that were better suited for her personally. I wonder if and how the concept of "mental representations" can be applied to gamedesign as well, and how we could gain some insight on how expert gamedesigners conceptualize the complex and interlinked systems they are working on. In part this thread is inspired by the diagram in the thread "how a game works", which looked to me like the author is basically trying to visualize his "mental representation" of how a game works, and I agree with @Murgilod that it was nonsense. But I'm not sure I could actually come up with a good one myself, because I see games as such a complex interconnected web of things that affect each other and serve different needs, that I'm not sure it lends itself at all to be represented as a 2D diagram in that way. Curious to hear what y'all think about this. As an aside: I just read the Boosfights book on Jagged Alliance 2 ( https://bossfightbooks.com/products/jagged-alliance-2-by-darius-kazemi ). Thanks to @Ony for recommending the series a while ago! @frosted, you might be interested in that one too. A great quote about that game from the book: "They don’t make them like Jagged Alliance 2 anymore. They never did.". The book describes how the game came to be the way it was, taking into account economic factors of the development and overall state of the industry at the time. What I found interesting, is that it sounded like none of the developers had super intensive gamedev experience, but instead they had deeper knowledge of boardgames and P&P RPGs, and looked at those for reference. I wonder if there is an aspect to how these kinds of games are forced to implement their systems as very clear and comprehensable rulesets and dice-based RNGs, to model a certain gaming experience, that shapes the "mental representations" with which gamedesigners approach their work. Maybe this could explain to some degree a shift in the game designs that younger developers come up with, who grew up with an overall more digital gaming experience.