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Designing Football, from Helmets to Hashtags

football field

Dimensions of a professional football field (image: 2011 Official Playing Rules And Casebook of the NFL)

Sports are good design. American football is no exception: helmets are perhaps the most highly engineered piece of protective equipment in professional sports; the football field is unique in that it’s not designed to accommodate a ball, but to serve as a metric of progress in a battle for territory; the ball itself is an index of the game’s evolution, shrouded in myth and hearsay. It’s taken more than 100 years for professional football to become the game we know today and that history is embedded in the design of its fields, stadiums, and equipment. I recently wrote a three-part series investigating this design history for Design Decoded and learned some surprising facts about America’s favorite sport, including the rationale behind the so-called Boise Rule, which mandates turf color, and the link between naval paratroopers, cobblers, & college football.

Read my three-part design history of football on Design Decoded:

Life Without Buildings

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I used to build my first base in Antarctica. That wasn't very clever of me.

In this next chunk of a mammoth chat with XCOM: Enemy Unknown‘s lead designer at Firaxis Jake Solomon, we talk Chrysalids, the death and critical wounding of your soldiers, the fanbase, why min-maxing X-COM’s not all it’s cracked up to be, the base, the geoscape and which of the original game’s aliens didn’t make the cut…
(more…)

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