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Laralyn McWillams's Blog   Expert Blogs


Laralyn McWilliams has designed and helped build award-winning social, strategy, simulation, platform, brawler, FPS, and massively multiplayer online games for more than twenty 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 The Workshop Entertainment.


Expert Blogs

Posted by Laralyn McWillams on Mon, 28 Sep 2015 01:25:00 EDT in Design
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."

Posted by Laralyn McWillams on Wed, 25 Feb 2015 01:15:00 EST in Business/Marketing, Console/PC, Smartphone/Tablet
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.

Posted by Laralyn McWillams on Wed, 11 Feb 2015 03:39:00 EST in Business/Marketing, Console/PC, Social/Online, Smartphone/Tablet
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.

Posted by Laralyn McWillams on Fri, 19 Dec 2014 01:27:00 EST in Business/Marketing, Design, Indie
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.

Posted by Laralyn McWillams on Wed, 17 Dec 2014 02:16:00 EST in Design, Console/PC
In no particular order, here are my top five favorite games for 2014!

Laralyn McWillams's Comments

Comment In: [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 ...

Comment In: [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 ...

Comment In: [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 ...

Comment In: [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 ...

Comment In: [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.

Comment In: [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 .