Laralyn McWillams's Blog
Laralyn McWilliams (@Laralyn) has designed and helped build award-winning social, strategy, simulation, platform, brawler, FPS, and massively multiplayer online games for almost twenty-five years. She was creative director for the ground-breaking MMO Free Realms at Sony Online Entertainment, which the New York Times called “a triumph of the company’s own reinvention.” She was also lead designer for the critically acclaimed Full Spectrum Warrior, which was the most nominated game of E3 2003.
She was on Gamasutra's list of the Top Game Developers of 2014, and she shared the top spot in Massive Online Gaming’s 2010 list of the Top 20 Most Influential People in MMOs. She was also on Beckett’s list of the top women in MMOs for 2010, and one of Gamasutra’s 20 most influential women in games in 2008. She's currently Chief Creative Officer at Skydance Interactive.
Thinking about what it means to be over fifty in game development prompted me to make a list of what I consider the twenty most important things I've learned over the years. All of these lessons came from making mistakes and learning from them.
Being a developer is different now versus ten or even five years ago. Between angry mobs and bitter colleagues, it's easy to lose yourself to anger--to live in darkness. It's time for us to step back into the light. I believe that together, we can shine.
In March, 2013, I wrote The Metrics Arenít The Message here on Gamasutra. The years have brought change both to me and the topic, and it's time for a broader look. It's time to talk about how much we let fear steer our decisions. It's time to break free.
Developers of single-player games spend time refining player input when it comes to game controls and almost no time creating methods for player input when it comes to emotional expression. Even single-player games should be a two-way conversation.
Iíve been a game developer for half my life. I realized recently that more than years have changed me: I became aware of how much Iíve changed because Iím a game developer. I became aware of just how narrowly we define what a game developer ďshould be."
What does turning fifty in game development mean to me? I canít imagine a life that doesnít involve making games. Over the years, Iíve grown and changed--and Iím nowhere near done yet. As an industry, we can grow and change too.
Laralyn McWillams's Comments
[Blog - 09/28/2015 - 01:25]
There 's a huge spectrum ...
There 's a huge spectrum of possibilities, starting with the basics, like choosing dialogue from a menu. The next step in complexity would be letting players choose an expression, and having it change NPC barks. I 'm not saying complex behavior analysis is the only answer. I 'm saying let ...
[Feature - 03/11/2013 - 09:35]
I believe design is an ...
I believe design is an art. Good designers understand the games they 're building partly through instinct and intuition. r n r nI also believe design is a craft and, like most crafts, sometimes it requires precision and an analytical approach. It 's also consumer entertainment, so clear information about ...
[Blog - 06/03/2015 - 02:15]
Re: In the end, hiring ...
Re: In the end, hiring a woman because she 's a woman or a man because he 's a man given examples are kept simple but do represent common preaching for the sake of diversity will actually cloud the hiring process to the point where it has a negative impact ...
[Blog - 02/11/2015 - 03:39]
I would give an all-woman ...
I would give an all-woman dev team the same advice: aim for diversity because it drives success. r n r nThe success of any team is a combination of its team members. I 'm sure there are all-women teams who can out-perform teams that are all men. I 'm sure ...
[Blog - 10/30/2014 - 03:49]
As the writer of the ...
As the writer of the blog post, and also the person who wrote the title, I can assure you it isn 't flame bait. It reflects discussions I 've been having with my colleagues for several years now. I 'm not a journalist--I 'm a developer.
[Blog - 12/19/2014 - 01:27]
Yes, extremely rare. Most I ...
Yes, extremely rare. Most I used to think ALL game companies put employees under both an IP ownership agreement meaning they own all your ideas and creations, often even those created away from work and a broad non-compete agreement during employment meaning you can 't publish anything game-related .