WoW Designer Teaches Kid How to Make Games

WoW Designer Teaches Kid How to Make Games

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One of Blizzard's top designers gives a young aspiring gamemaker some helpful advice.

Being a game designer is a dream job that many would like to have, but in reality can be a tricky career to get into - especially if you're looking to join up with one of the big names like Blizzard. It can also be just as tricky to get in touch with a game industry veteran for their advice. Recently a World of Warcraft player by the name of Aaiya, posted in Blizzard's forums on behalf of their 8-year-old son to see if just maybe he could speak with one of Blizzard's employees to learn more about game design and the best way to land that dream job making games. Surprisingly, Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street, the Lead Systems Designer for World of Warcraft, responded to Aaiya's inquiry with a very lengthy and detailed post that was chock full of advice on the best ways one could try and achieve their dreams of making the next big title.

First, Street stressed the importance of having good communication skills, because whether you pursue a game design degree specifically or something else, it's always important to be able to explain your ideas fully and collaborate with a team. Street also noted that having any experience in creating games is also needed, either by being a professional game designer or at least by working with a game company in some capacity, such as quality assurance or customer service.

"Playing a lot of games does count as experience," Street added, "But it's the kind of thing that's hard for us to test. You're better off playing a lot of games and doing something else as well."

Street went on to talk about how, if one isn't quite able to get a job the game industry through traditional methods, there are still plenty of options available for those looking to start up a career as a designer. Becoming a professional game player might actually help you land an interview, but wouldn't necessarily prove your ability to design a game, and may be harder to accomplish than getting into game development in the first place. An easier route that Street recommended would be to design your own game (bonus points if it's a fully fleshed out and playable), or at the very least an add-on or mod for an existing game to show you're capable of taking an idea and following through on it.

"This is how I got my foot in the door," Street admitted. "I designed a scenario for Age of Empires that was eventually included in a shipping product."

Along with advice on staying active in the industry by keeping up with the latest industry news and networking with professionals at conventions, Street closed out his letter with some of the qualities that Blizzard itself specifically looks for in its game designers - such having excellent communication skills, a good sense of design and most importantly, a passion for creating games. Given that Aaiya's son is only 8 years old but already eager to learn more about working in the game industry, I think it's safe to say he's already got that down.

Source: Blizzard Forums

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inb4 Blizzard hate

On topic. I read that when it was originally posted in the WoW forums and liked it a lot. Cheers to all involved.

Lesson: Make Mods now, make moneh latter.
I wonder which scenario it was?

shintakie10:
inb4 Blizzard hate

On topic. I read that when it was originally posted in the WoW forums and liked it a lot. Cheers to all involved.

Anyone else think of Phreak when they saw this picture?

Cool on Blizzard, Good reminder of the little things you can do for some brownie points.

Devoneaux:

shintakie10:
inb4 Blizzard hate

On topic. I read that when it was originally posted in the WoW forums and liked it a lot. Cheers to all involved.

Anyone else think of Phreak when they saw this picture?

Cool on Blizzard, Good reminder of the little things you can do for some brownie points.

I think of Ghostcrawler when I see Phreak.

Anyways, I need to get into mod making. Thinking of starting out with Dungeons of Dredmor. It seems simple enough and rather straightforward.

Parent's reaction after reading GC's extremely lengthy post: "Nevermind, son."

The child went on to later create "crack the game." Fans could not be reached for comment as they were too busy injecting their computer components into their veins to become "ubber elite".

Good ol' Ghostcrawler. Perhaps my favourite employee dude at blizzard, because he actually takes time to calmly discuss things with the community while also being a designer himself and not an appointed community representative.

Blizzard - not totally corupted by Activition yet :P

But seriously very cool and mists is still keeping me intrested, a pretty good expansion.

This is a wonderful thing to do for the young fella. It's acts like this that inspire and shape the great designers/minds of tomorrow.

But he'll probably still wind up an alcoholic. So sad, really. He had so much passion and potential...

A large part of what got me into indie development for video games (as a hobby) is through "up-and-coming" companies like Blizzard during the 90s. I was infatuated with the Warcraft series as well as their earlier stuff like Blackthorne and the Lost Vikings. What I love about this is that GC, perhaps the most respect of the Blizzard devs (since people actually know his name) is inspiring the next generation of potential game designers. Furthermore I think that it's great that this kid wants to get into game development, it's a hard industry to enter if uninitiated but play enough games and make enough games and you'll get there.

 

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