Laralyn McWillams's Blog
Laralyn McWilliams has designed and helped build award-winning social, strategy, simulation, platform, brawler, FPS, and massively multiplayer online games. 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 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 a frequent speaker on systems design, casual game progression, the use of metrics in the design and operation of live game services, and the importance of considering the player's experience.
She's currently Chief Creative Officer at The Workshop Entertainment.
I’ve been a game developer for half my life. I realized recently that more than years have changed me: I became aware of how much I’ve changed because I’m a game developer. I became aware of just how narrowly we define what a game developer “should be."
What does turning fifty in game development mean to me? I can’t imagine a life that doesn’t involve making games. Over the years, I’ve grown and changed--and I’m nowhere near done yet. As an industry, we can grow and change too.
Diversity helps contribute to the success of our games and to the success of our studios. It helps build more creative teams, able to more efficiently solve more complex and varied problems. This isn't speculation: it's backed by research.
I think every game designer who's been around for a while gets the hitmaker urge. We swim in the commercial sea--our careers can easily become all about surviving wave after wave of "progress." Sometimes we lose sight of the simple joy in creation.
In no particular order, here are my top five favorite games for 2014!
We can all change. Sometimes it takes an event we'd never want and pain we wouldn't wish on anyone to drive that change.
Laralyn McWillams's Comments
[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 .
[News - 12/16/2014 - 04:04]
There are some differentiating categories ...
There are some differentiating categories to be sure: sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, etc. It 's difficult for someone not in the situation to assess what 's a casual remark and what 's not, just like it 's difficult for someone not in the situation to understand the context of the ...