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]
Yes--these are all good examples. ...
Yes--these are all good examples. I 'd forgotten about your ability to play emotes in Fable--which combined with the reactions of folks around you to create some pretty fun emergent play. It also felt great to pull out a trophy and wow an entire village
[Blog - 06/03/2015 - 02:15]
Thanks for speaking up--one of ...
Thanks for speaking up--one of the points I was trying to make is that every voice matters, including yours right now. r n r nFrom my perspective, in the call to prayer example, it 's all about how they handle the people who don 't share their beliefs. Are they ...
[Blog - 02/11/2015 - 03:39]
Most of the studies in ...
Most of the studies in the post look at hard data, such as the number of women in exec roles at a company compared to overall publicly-reported company revenue. That 's hardly based on informal interviews. Even the data about creativity is based on problem solving in preset research situations. ...
[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 .
[News - 12/16/2014 - 04:04]
Unless one of the things ...
Unless one of the things we 've worked for, for so long, is women leaving game development as a career or deciding not to enter it in the first place, it 's difficult to celebrate any aspects of gamergate because that 's one of the largest--and potentially longest lasting--effects it ...
[News - 12/11/2014 - 05:23]