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Game postmortems vs. developer Reddit AMAs: Computational analysis of developer communication

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 14th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games, FDG 2019
EditorsFoaad Khosmood, Johanna Pirker, Thomas Apperley, Sebastian Deterding
ISBN (Electronic)9781450372176
Publication statusPublished - 26 Aug 2019
Publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventInternational Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games - San Luis Obispo, United States
Duration: 26 Aug 201930 Aug 2019


ConferenceInternational Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games
CountryUnited States
CitySan Luis Obispo


Postmortems and Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) threads represent communications of game developers through two different channels about their game development experiences, culture, processes, and practices. We carry out a quantitative text mining based comprehensive analysis of online available postmortems and AMA threads from game developers over multiple years. We find and analyze underlying topics from the postmortems and AMAs as well as their variation among the data sources and over time. The analysis is done based on structural topic modeling, a probabilistic modeling technique for text mining. The extracted topics reveal differing and common interests as well as their evolution of prevalence over time in the two text sources. We have found that postmortems put more emphasis on detail-oriented development aspects as well as technically-oriented game design problems whereas AMAs feature a wider variety of discussion topics that are related to a more general game development process, game-play and game-play experience related game design. The prevalences of the topics also evolve differently over time in postmortems versus AMAs.


  • Game development, Literature analysis, Postmortem analysis, Reddit, Text mining

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland