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Rosethorn’s Ramblings: Site Update

Welcome back again.  As you can see, we are starting to populate the site with new content.  There are few new writers and contributors waiting in the wings with new content.  If you are interested

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Rosethorn’s Ramblings: Site Update, GaMExpo, Nerdvana Con, Life Updates

What to Watch: You Tube

Top 5 YouTube video’s of the past week (with one blast from the past). Each week, on Tuesday, I am going to post 5 videos I think are worth watching on YouTube.  I’d love to hear what you

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What to Watch: You Tube

Rosethorn’s Ramblings: Welcome Bac

Welcome back to Killer Betties! It’s been over three years since I’ve made a post, but I am back. Before I get to what I’ve been doing for three years, I want to talk first about The

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Rosethorn’s Ramblings: Welcome Back, TWD, The Bar, and Other Random Thoughts

Football Manager 2017 Review

Football Manager 2017 is a football management simulation video game for the PC developed by Sports Interactive and published by Sega. Gameplay: In terms of gameplay, it is really fun. You can create

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Football Manager 2017 Review

Volunteers Wanted

Killer Betties is going through some growing pains and we need more bodies (and pens) to keep up with it. If you have any interest in writing video game reviews, previews, interviews or editorials, p

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Volunteers Wanted

‘Advent Rising’ Coming to the Xbox

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by on May 18, 2005 at 11:58 am

Majesco Entertainment Company, an innovative provider of digital entertainment products and content , today unveiled the details of its aggressive marketing campaign for Advent Rising, one of the Company’s acclaimed premium titles shipping to national retail outlets on May 31.

And let me tell you, when they say aggressive, they mean it.

Highlighting the campaign are two high-profile activities designed and optimized for greatest consumer impact:

Cinematic in-theater commercial premiering May 19 in front of the Star Wars: Episode III movie on thousands of screens nationwide, including Regal Cinemas, United Artists Theaters, Edwards Theaters, AMC Theaters and Loews Theaters. The trailer reveals a sampling of the game’s original musical score created by a 70-piece Hollywood union orchestra led by Emmy Award-winning conductor, Mark Watters.

$1,000,000 “Race to Save Humanity” play and win contest starting June 9 and offering the first 500,000 consumers who purchase Advent Rising on Xbox the chance to win hundreds of prizes, including a grand prize of one million dollars. Other prize partners include SoBe Beverages, Radica and Brady Games. The promotion is supported across the advertising campaign and includes a radio buy in the top 20 markets. The contest is open only to US and Canadian residents (void in MD, VT and in Quebec) who are 13 years or older. The contest ends August 15. Complete contest rules can be found online at www.adventtrilogy.com beginning May 31.

Advent Rising is shipping May 31 for the Xbox and June 30 for PC. Additional information about the game can be found online at www.adventtrilogy.com. Stay tuned for a review of the Xbox edition of the game.

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KB Shots of the PS3

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by on May 17, 2005 at 1:33 pm

Staci is in LA right now, our lifeline at E3. She was at the Sony conference to unveil the PS3, and took some great shots of it while she was there. Make sure you aren’t drinking or eating anything, I’d hate to hear of any choking incidents after viewing these. Check them out here.

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ID Announces ‘Enemy Territory: Quake Wars’

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by on May 16, 2005 at 3:54 pm

You might be thinking, “Quake wars? As in, Quake the game by the same ID? In Enemy Territory? Dubya Tee Eff?”

Yeah, that’s what I thought too. And yes, it is that same Enemy Territory, and that same Quake, smashed together into an all-new war game developed by Splash Damage, the same that developed the first Enemy Territory. Read on for the full press release.

Santa Monica, CA – May 16, 2005 – id Software(tm) and Activision, Inc. today announced the development of ENEMY TERRITORY: QUAKE WARS(tm). Developed by Splash Damage and built on id Software’s new MegaTexture(tm) rendering technology, ENEMY TERRITORY: QUAKE WARS pits the armies of Earth against the invading alien Strogg in the ultimate online strategic shooter. Featuring strategic team play, persistent character promotions, day and nighttime combat missions, and the universe’s most powerful weapons and vehicles, ENEMY TERRITORY: QUAKE WARS transports players to the front lines of an epic new war for Earth.

“For years, fans have enjoyed incredible battles on the Strogg home planet; but with ENEMY TERRITORY: QUAKE WARS, we’re taking players back to the war that started it all – the Strogg invasion of Earth – where the choice is to fight with the humans or the alien Strogg in a massive campaign for survival,” said Todd Hollenshead, CEO, id Software. “Like all great id Software games, ENEMY TERRITORY: QUAKE WARS unites bleeding-edge technology, a fantastic universe, and meticulously balanced gameplay to deliver an engrossing and futuristic gaming experience.”

“We have been so proud of Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory’s(tm) rave reviews, ‘Game of the Year’ awards, and massive fan-base, so to work with id again in developing ENEMY TERRITORY: QUAKE WARS is an amazing opportunity.” states Paul Wedgwood, Lead Game Designer and Owner of Splash Damage Ltd. “The stories of the Strogg invasion of Earth have always fascinated me, and now through ENEMY TERRITORY: QUAKE WARS, we’re able to bring this incredible war to life with an uncompromising level of detail and realism.”

As the invasion begins, players choose to battle as one of five unique classes in either the EDF (Earth Defense Force – humans) or the barbaric alien Strogg armies, each augmented with specialist weapons and combat hardware. Troops utilize over 40 conventional and futuristic vehicles, deployable structures, and defense systems like quad-bikes, tanks, and alien walkers for epic ground assaults; or helicopters and anti-gravity ships to lend firepower from the air.Throughout each battle, teams establish bases, deploy defense structures, artillery, radar, and advanced forward-command systems into enemy territory while constructing and demolishing obstacles to speed progress and gain a tactical advantage over the enemy.

With realistic dynamic lighting and shadowing from headlights, searchlights and even the moon, battles can be fought during the day or night; while accurate simulation of the atmosphere, weather, and vegetation combine to create an unparalleled degree of realism. Battlefields are perfectly rendered using MegaTexture, a totally new rendering technology developed by id Software that crunches millions of polygons and a gigabyte-scale texture into a single, seamless and un-tiled landscape with unique detail down to the square inch or the un-obscured distant horizon.

Players can take on class specific missions or join a fireteam to utilize advanced command and communication options, including voice-chat and the game’s context sensitive mission order system. With bitterly contested multi-battle campaigns, each soldier fights not only for victory, but to gain valuable skills, special rewards for team-play, and persistent military promotions and medals. ENEMY TERRITORY: QUAKE WARS will debut at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo in Activision’s booth #1224 in the South Hall.

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2K Games E3 Lineup

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by on May 16, 2005 at 11:26 am

2K Games, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., today announced their lineup for the 2005 E3 Expo in Los Angeles on May 18 – 20, 2005. 2K Games will feature a wide variety of games for the PC, PlayStation2, the Xbox, and the Xbox 360. Read on to get the list.

Prey: Developed by Human Head Studios and produced by 3D Realms, Prey is a revolutionary first person shooter for PC and the Xbox 360. Prey is being exclusively showcased by ATI in a movie theater-style exhibition in booth #600 in the South Hall.

Sid Meier’s Civilization IV: The fourth game in the PC strategy series that has sold over five million copies, Sid Meier’s Civilization IV is a bold step forward for the franchise, with spectacular new 3D graphics and all-new single and multiplayer content.

Sid Meier’s Pirates!: In Sid Meier’s Pirates! for Xbox, players take the leading role of a Pirate Captain in the 17th century Caribbean – amassing fortune and fame in an attempt to seize a rightful place as one of the most revered and feared pirates in history. Players test their skills as a sea captain exploring the high seas and exotic ports in a richly detailed 3D world. Some of the many additions for the Xbox version of the game include two new 2-4 player console-exclusive mini-games, Xbox Live leaderboards and content downloads, support for Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound and HDTV resolutions and much more.

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion: In development for PC and a next-generation console system, the fourth title in the best-selling Elder Scrolls series brings the RPG genre to new heights with its combination of freeform gameplay and cutting-edge graphics. Oblivion features a 3D engine that can render stunningly realistic environments, groundbreaking AI for all characters in the game, and the same open-ended gameplay style that has made The Elder Scrolls one of the most critically acclaimed franchises of all-time. Oblivion will be shown by appointment only at Bethesda Softworks’ meeting room, #2352 in the West Hall.

Serious Sam II: Sam “Serious” Stone returns to PC and Xbox in this first person shooter from Croteam, the creators of the Serious Sam franchise. Serious Sam II features a brand new 3D engine, over 40 new levels, new vehicles and crazy weapons, and the waves upon waves of enemies that the series is known for.

24: The Game: Set between seasons two and three of the hit series on FOX, 24: The Game puts gamers in the shoes of Jack Bauer, a counter terrorism agent dealing with the longest day of his life, with jaw-dropping revelations for fans of the series and thrilling, non-stop time-pressure gameplay.

Shattered Union: Set atop the smoldering ruins of a fictional United States torn apart by civil war, Shattered Union is an action-packed turn-based strategy game for console and PC. Gamers will play through an exciting single player campaign to reunite the country by force or online in one-on-one matches.

Conflict: Global Terror: The Conflict series joins the war on terrorism in this highly anticipated entry in the successful franchise which has shipped over 2.5 million units in North America alone. In fall 2005, the original Delta Force members from the Conflict series will return to fight alongside players on consoles and PC in a variety of locations around the world where terrorism is present.

Snow: A gritty strategy game for PC and Xbox that follows the tradition of classic movie and television crime dramas and requires players to oversee every aspect of the criminal organization. This will surely make for an intense, paranoid and most importantly, strategic gaming experience.

Vietcong 2: With its brand new 3D engine, all-new single player campaign and new multiplayer modes, Vietcong 2 for PC aims to improve on the acclaimed gameplay of the first game, while presenting a completely new experience. a believable story driven by the player’s character, which takes place in one area over several weeks, during the Tet offensive in the Imperial city of Hue. Player’s will fight through dense jungle, sparsely populated suburbs, city streets, various houses, water canals and even an extremely large ancient citadel complex with an imperial palace.

Zathura: Based on the highly anticipated film of the same name, Zathura will be released for PlayStation 2 and Xbox in conjunction with the theatrical release of the movie in late 2005, and will allow players to create their own high-action space adventures in a visually stunning 3D game environment.

Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth: A first-person horror game for Xbox that combines intense action with adventure gameplay, Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth draws upon the rich mythology created by author H.P. Lovecraft that has been enjoyed by fans around the world for nearly 80 years.

I can see some hits and some misses, but the hits will be big probably. Elder Scrolls IV is going to be huge. If ATI is showing off Prey, then I bet it’ll be awesome. Serious Sam II will be probably the best sequel we’ve ever seen. This E3 is shaping up to be very cool, but then I guess every E3 did. I love the month of May.

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Activision Releases E3 Games List

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by on May 13, 2005 at 12:45 am

Activision, Inc. will showcase a blockbuster game line-up at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo(E3), taking place at the Los Angeles Convention Center from May 18-20, 2005. I am almost positive you’ll find one game in this lineup you’ll want to see. Read on to see the list and short descriptions of each.

Activision’s Game Line-Up Includes:

Call of Duty 2 – The sequel to the 2003 “Game of the Year,” Call of Duty 2 delivers an unparalleled portrayal of the chaos and cinematic intensity of World War II through stunningly detailed graphics, advanced AI, realistic character animations and explosive on-screen action – all powered by Infinity Ward’s brand new proprietary engine. Call of Duty 2 has not yet been rated by the ESRB.

Call of Duty2: Big Red One(tm) – Building on the Call of Duty brand’s signature epic, cinematic intensity of war, Call of Duty 2: Big Red One unites players in the chaos of battle fighting as part of a squad in the legendary and decorated “Big Red One,” the American 1st Infantry Division. Call of Duty 2: Big Red One has not yet been rated by the ESRB.

Fantastic 4 – The only game based on Twentieth Century Fox’s upcoming feature film, Fantastic 4 is a team-based action-adventure in which players harness the Marvel Super Heroes’ unique and amazing powers through a compelling single-player mode or two-player co-operative gameplay experience. Fantastic 4 has been rated “T” (Teen – with mild language and violence) by the ESRB.

The Movies(tm) – Developed by Lionhead Studios’ Peter Molyneux, a pioneer in the “life simulation” genre, The Movies lets gamers become Hollywood players, by creating unique movies and releasing them from the studios they build, starring the actors they discover and develop. The Movies has not yet been rated by the ESRB.

QUAKE 4 – Earth is under siege by the Strogg, a barbaric alien race moving through the universe consuming, recycling and annihilating any civilization in their path. In a desperate attempt to survive, an armada of Earth’s finest warriors is sent to take the battle to the Strogg home planet. Id Software’s QUAKE 4 has not yet been rated by the ESRB.

Shrek SuperSlam – Ogre-sized brawling action collides with the hilarious Shrek universe in Shrek SuperSlam, the ultimate four-player melee game. Shrek SuperSlam has not yet been rated by the ESRB.

Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland(tm) – For the first time ever, Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland(tm) gives players the freedom to experience continuous skating and BMX biking action without leaving the game or waiting for load times as they explore and choose missions in a massive, living Los Angeles skate world. Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland has not yet been rated by the ESRB.

Ultimate Spider-Man – Take on the role of the world’s most famous Super Hero, Marvel’s Spider-Man, and one of his most menacing nemeses, Venom, in an original storyline written and illustrated by the creative team behind the best-selling “Ultimate Spider-Man” comic book series. Ultimate Spider-Man has not yet been rated by the ESRB.

X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse – The sequel to the best-selling X-Men title ever, X-Men Legends, X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse is an all new action-RPG that lets players create, customize and control teams of four mutants from 16 all-time favorite X-Men and classic Brotherhood villains from the Marvel Universe. X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse has not yet been rated by the ESRB.

I can tell ya I’m looking forward to at least half of these.

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Killer Women: Sheri Pocilujko

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by on April 6, 2005 at 9:16 am

Women who are gainfully employed in the games industry are becoming more and more common. The assumption that video games are a man’s domain is finally becoming outdated. Women are playing and working with video games in astounding numbers. According to the ESA, 39% of game players are women. While the percentage of women working in the industry is still small, these women are paving the way for equality in this environment as well. More and more young women are going to technical schools and getting hired by game developers who see the value of a female perspective when creating video games.

So, how did these women get started and why do they do it? Those are the questions I want answers to, so I ask. This will be a continuing series of profiles of the women who have broken stereotypes and taken jobs in the video game industry.

Sheri Pocilujko is a Game Designer for High Voltage Software. How did she get started and what does she do? Read on to find out.

Name: Sheri Pocilujko
Title: Game Designer
Company: High Voltage Software

What’s your earliest memory of video games?

I remember playing on an Atari 2600 growing up as a kid. In fact we even got a second Atari at one point to handle all the gaming needs. I could play for hours on the Atari (who said girls only want dolls!). I also had a NES, SNES, and an Apple IIGS growing up before we got a full-fledged PC. Even outside of video games I was brought up in a gaming household. We played card and board games ALL the time. It was one of the regular ways our family spent time together. In fact even now every family get together usually ends with a game of Trivial Pursuit or some other game if everyone’s not in the mood for trivia. (Sequence has been a good one because of the younger kids in the family.)

What kind of education do you have and has it prepared you well for this industry?

I currently have an Associate of Arts and I’m working towards a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Project Management. I’ve taken a lot of business courses for management, marketing, etc. and continuing education classes in communication skills, time management, etc. I think the variety of classes I’ve taken has prepared me well for this industry because it has given me many different perspectives.

Coming in to the industry with a lot of business classes helps me understand the business aspects that often frustrate developers. It helps you understand why sometimes the “suits” will make some of the decisions they do, regardless of the current state of the game you are working on.

What type of work did you do before you got into the industry and what jobs in the industry have you held?

Wow. My first real job (besides babysitting…) was as a bank teller. From there I started doing Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, and Credit and Collections work (collections is not fun!). My main job previous to this one was mostly Quality Assurance, but at that company I also got to do a lot of other jobs including product, marketing, sales, web, and customer support. It was a unique experience that really let me challenge myself. Now here at High Voltage Software I’m getting challenged even further by being a game designer. Game designers at High Voltage get to be responsible for a lot of different things here and it makes the job interesting and really lets out my creative side.

Was your entry into working with video games planned or chance?

Chance. My boyfriend at the time was a programmer for a video game company and he liked to work the 11-7 shift where as my normal “corporate” job had me working 8-5. So after my shift I’d head over to his company and play the game in his cube and help him find crashes. Being the analytical person I am, I started making my own notes, catching typos, trying unique things out, and finding crashes, etc. all on my own. The project manager, who was also the VP of Product Development, over at the company saw this and said “why don’t you come work for us and get paid for what you’re doing for free already?” (Thanks Larry!) The rest, as they say, is history.

How long have you been working in the industry?

Just a little over 5 years, but I hope to stay in it a lot longer!

What does your job entail? What is an average day like?

High Voltage current tasks has me helping place cameras in levels to guide game play and helping to create in-game cinemas in each level. Just prior to that, I was working on a project by designing feature and level ideas as well as placing objects in levels.

Tell us about the most interesting or exciting moment for you in your job.

I think it’s hard to pick just one but I’d probably have to go with the somewhat cliché answer of seeing someone excited while playing a game you helped create. It makes a lot of those tough moments during the development cycle more bearable.

What is your least favorite thing about working in the industry?

Overtime! But wouldn’t everyone say that? Seriously though, I think sometimes seeing a game you care so much about not do as well in the market as everyone hoped would probably be the least favorite thing.

What is the one misconception you feel people have about working in the industry in your type of position?

Pardon the punned expression but that it’s “all fun and games”. You do get to express your creativity but you also need to be very detail oriented and have the ability to communicate your internal vision externally. Take your favorite game and think about what is in that game. Someone had to sit down and write out a list of every object that game would have, what the object would look like, where it would be placed, what it would act like when the player tried to interact with it, what other attributes it would have, etc. And that’s just for objects….

Do you feel you are advantaged or disadvantaged as a female in an industry so dominated by men?

Is “both” an OK answer? I think as a female in this industry there are distinct advantages and disadvantages. Sometimes a developer will come pick my brain as far as a feature or idea he has when he is looking to make it more female-friendly. Although most female developers are probably not your stereotypical female gamer (or casual gamer) in a lot of cases we can innately point out things that might offend the general female audience.

The disadvantage is that when you are dealing with an issue you think would be sensitive to females and you are surrounded by men it can be hard to persuade them. For example, at a previous company I was working on a game where there was some AVIs featuring real life people. The one female in the AVI had a shot where you accidentally see her bra exposed. Although some women would be totally fine with that many women would not, and I don’t think the person featured was asked about the situation. The problem with getting the issue taken care of was I was surrounded by a lot of males who said they’d have no problem if their boxers were accidentally showing and “It’s just clothing.” So in certain cases I’ve gotten a lot of “You wouldn’t understand” type comments or looks. Sometimes you’re also kept out of certain e-mail circles and jokes because they think you might not feel comfortable.

As long as you show them what you are or are not willing to handle though most male developers seem to open up quite nicely. We’ve found on a lot of the dev lists that most male developers just want to know the rules, then they’ll follow them (as long as you’re not going overboard). I’ve also lucked out because High Voltage seems to have a growing base of female developers as well in various disciplines so I’m not alone here.

Do you consider yourself a hardcore gamer?

I am definitely not a hardcore gamer, I’ve known some co-workers who after an 12 hour day still go home to put in at least 6 hours of gaming, so I’ll never be hardcore. The hours I play vary depending on what other things I have going on in my life (school, IGDA work, friends, etc.) and if you count board/card games the numbers jump because I play those a lot too!

What settings and genres do you enjoy most? Least?

I love RPG games (usually the hack and slash ones) and I am a big Dead or Alive fan so I like fighters, but that one is the best out of all of them. I think some of the “all we care about is as much violence and gore as possible” games are the ones I enjoy the least. Although I don’t mind violence or occasional gore, if it is just thrown in there to have it and doesn’t make gameplay sense then the game doesn’t make sense to me.

If you could pick one game as the best game ever, what would it be?

Wow….it is even possible to answer that question? I mean I may think Dead or Alive 2: Hardcore was the best fighter I’ve played but not necessarily the best game. And you can’t compare Dr. Mario with Dead or Alive or Baldur’s Gate or any other game not in that genre. City of Heroes was great too, would be great still if I had more time. Can I plead the fifth on this one? 🙂

If you could tell developers of games to make sure to put one thing in games to appeal to a broader audience which includes women, what would that one thing be?

I think most of what you put in a game that would attract female gamers (who are typically more casual gamers) would attract casual gamers. So I think it’s not just keep gender but type in mind. The majority of people who buy games are not hardcore gamers, so keep an eye out for your UI, tutorials, manuals, etc.

Do you have an opinion about the current state of the industry with regard to females and gaming?

Females make up 51% of the world’s population. Each year they continue to make up a larger percentage of the game playing population. (They are over 60% in Korea alone!) If executives, marketing, and the developers themselves continue to dismiss females as a part of their various market segments then they are crippling the industry’s potential to grow and furthering the saturation of audience.

If you can talk about it, can you tell us some about the project you are currently working on?

No can do, sorry. The most I can say is I’m working on an adventure-platform game to be released on multiple platforms. Though my project manager would like me to tell you that “it will most likely be the greatest game that the world has ever known!!! :)”

Do you have any advice for females who would like to get into the industry?

Never settle for anything less than what you really want. Don’t be afraid just because you’re the only girl in the room. Get involved in the industry so you can learn not only what in your portfolio and skill sets to improve, but also who you need to know. That last part is huge; a lot of this business is not what you know but who you know.

What are your favorite games?

Favorite Games: Dead or Alive (any of them), Kingdom Hearts (until the part I got lost in near the end), Dungeon Keeper (I’ve found myself oddly addicted to that game), and Progress Quest – the best satire of an MMO ever! But that’s just video games. I also like spades, hearts, rummy, gin, canasta, Axis and Allies, Scrabble, chess, Sorry, and a whole host of other board, card, and tabletop games that I play regularly with friends.

Favorite movies?

Favorite Movies: Princess Bride – One of the top 10 movies of all time!, The Lion King, Dead Poets Society, any Pixar movie, City of Angels (English version), the whole LOTR trilogy, and a few others make my top list.

Favorite Authors?

Favorite Authors: Roger Zelazny (Amber), Robert Aspirin (MYTH), Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman (Dragonlance), CS Lewis (Narnia), Terry Brooks (Landover ), A.A. Milne (Winnie-the-Pooh), and many others. I read a lot of non-fiction books too but those aren’t exactly popping names out to me at the moment.

Inspirations?

Inspirations: Dance, Music, Theater, Musical Theater, Movies, Video Games, Books, Friends, Life – you can find an inspiration almost anywhere if you look for it.

What do you like doing in your free time?

Free Time: Wait, did you say we’re supposed to have free time? When I’m not at work or doing my online classes I’m playing games with friends or doing work in the industry or trying to keep my place from looking like a mess. When I can I try to travel, even if it is not that far away. And most of all I >LOVE< my TiVo! TiVo rules! I can't live without my TiVo! (Did I mention I love TiVo? *grins*)

in Interviews

Killer Women: Heather Logas

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by on March 22, 2005 at 11:21 am

Women who are gainfully employed in the games industry are becoming more and more common. The assumption that video games are a man’s domain is finally becoming outdated. Women are playing and working with video games in astounding numbers. According to the ESA, 39% of game players are women. While the percentage of women working in the industry is still small, these women are paving the way for equality in this environment as well. More and more young women are going to technical schools and getting hired by game developers who see the value of a female perspective when creating video games.

So, how did these women get started and why do they do it? Those are the questions I want answers to, so I ask. This will be a continuing series of profiles of the women who have broken stereotypes and taken jobs in the video game industry.

Heather Logas currently works for Telltale Games as a Game Designer. Curious about what that is? Read on.

Name: Heather L Logas
Title: Game Designer
Company: Telltale Games

What is your earliest memory of video games?

My earliest memory of video games was when my mom brought home our Atari 800. My sister and I were very young. I still remember the cover image on the box for Pac-Man, and my mom asking if this was “the right one?” I guess we had seen them on TV.

Did you grow up on games or did you find them later in your life?

We grew up playing board games with my parents. We had a closet full of games. Sometimes this would cause a problem, because they would fall on our heads when we tried to get a particular one out.

What kind of education do you have and has it prepared you well for this industry?

My undergraduate degree is in Art with a Conceptual Information Arts emphasis from San Francisco State University. This was a new media degree where I learned a lot about media and culture and also picked up a few technical skills. I then went on to Georgia Institute of Technology and got a Master’s Degree in Information Design and Technology. This was another pretty flexible new media program where I was able to study games like crazy. Both programs helped prepare me for the industry. Growing up a gamer was a vital part of my education as well.

What type of work did you do before you got into the industry and what jobs in the industry have you held?

I did a bit of everything before getting involved in the industry. Retail, administration, science museum docent. My last job before graduate school was working in a living history program acting the part of a sailor in 1906 on a tall ship and teaching kids about sailor life, teamwork, self-esteem and leadership.

My first “industry” job is in quotes because it was a start up making a huge MMORPG and none of us had a clue what we were doing. Needless to say, it didn’t last very long. I was a world designer there. I had an internship as an assistant producer at LucasArts on Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, and now I’m happily working as a game designer at Telltale.

Was your entry into working with video games planned or chance?

A bit of both. I knew I was interested in games, and my two last projects at SF State were both games, but I went to Tech with it in my mind that I was going to study Virtual Reality. I guess I thought it sounded cooler at the time. But I quickly got involved in games at Tech and realized after attending my first GDC that gaming was where I wanted to be. I had spent my life up to that point sort of picking life goals but never being very passionate about them. Something wouldn’t sound as neat as it did the previous week, or something else would catch my attention. Games are the first things that have really stuck with me. I am endlessly fascinated by them.

How long have you been working in the industry?

I really only consider myself to have been “in the industry” since starting work at Telltale. So that would be maybe seven months now.

What does your job entail?

As a designer, most of my work involves translating stuff from my head into a useable format by other people. So I tend to do a lot of writing and diagramming of spaces, interfaces, etc. I also spend a fair amount of time in meetings with various team members to hash out design details and other aspects of the game. We do a lot of things pretty collaboratively. Most days I also spend at least some time working on PR or marketing stuff, because we are still a pretty small company and everyone has to help out where they can. I don’t mind, it keeps things interesting.

Tell us about the most interesting or exciting moment for you in your job.

I get really excited when I come up with a solution that I really like to a tricky design problem. There’s also a great charge that comes with seeing something that was previously only written down on paper be translated into the game space.

What is your least favorite thing about working in the industry?

I tend to get frustrated by the arrogance I sometimes find in the industry. Many people are really open to new ideas, but too many are ignorant of what goes on in academia or the gaming world at large and don’t feel that anything outside of their own experience is relevant to what they do. There is a whole universe of games that don’t live on computers or consoles, and there is a whole discipline studying games in great detail. Embracing all of this information can only make someone a better game designer. (There are also those that aren’t arrogant so much as just un-informed, and they aren’t nearly as irritating.

What is the one misconception you feel people have about working in the industry in your type of position?

No one who isn’t in the industry and isn’t a gamer themselves has any idea what I do.  They always try to ask if I’m a programmer or an artist. The conceptualizing part is sort of hard to grasp.

Do you feel you are advantaged or disadvantaged as a female in an industry so dominated by men?

Being a woman in the industry is really great on one hand because there are all these other great women to get advice from and commiserate with. I definitely think there is camaraderie amongst the women in the industry and we have a tendency to look out for each other and help each other out where we can. There are also some people in the industry who are seriously interested in getting women more involved, and that can sometimes work to a woman’s benefit.

On the other hand, I think it is hard for women being in a male dominated culture because it is hard for both you and them to know when you have a legitimate complaint about something and when you are being over sensitive. As an intern at LucasArts, I complained about a certain outfit for one of the female characters on the game I was working on over and over, but I feel I was shrugged off because it wasn’t taken as a legitimate complaint. I have also been around some mildly sexist (meant to be in jest) behavior which I wasn’t sure whether it was worth it to say anything or whether I was being a bit too oversensitive. It’s a hard line to draw sometimes.

Do you consider yourself a hardcore gamer?

I am absolutely a hardcore gamer. If not for the amount of time I currently play games then for the breadth of games I have enjoyed (and enjoy) and the depth to which I enjoy them. Currently I spend maybe 10 – 15 hours a week playing games (on average). But almost all my time thinking about them.

What settings and genres do you enjoy most? Least?

I really enjoy games with interesting stories/worlds and interesting types of Gameplay. I seek out things that are different from things I’ve played before, and different from what the market at large is making. I also will play almost anything that involves pirates. I am obsessed with MMORPGs, but pretty much hate them all (except for Puzzle Pirates.)

There are some 1st person shooters I would like to try, but I can’t deal with not having peripheral vision. I wind up craning my neck trying to look around the edges of the screen. I also am not a fan of games that simulate real world modern warfare or sports. The sports games just don’t interest me, and the war games make me sad and depressed. They are too close to the reality of people who are actually suffering and dying, and to me it feels insensitive to be playing a game about it.

If you could pick one game as the best game ever, what would it be?

Oh my goodness! What a question! There are so many great games in the world!

I’ll say Dungeons & Dragons. It introduced a whole new way to think about games and its influence can be felt 50 years later in any fantasy game you play today, on or off the computer.

If you could tell developers of games to make sure to put one thing in games to appeal to a broader audience which includes women, what would that one thing be?

I think just consideration. Sheri Graner Ray has her great saying “what if the player is female?” If game developers would just stop and ask themselves that question they might choose to put more clothes on some of their characters or tone down pointless gore just a bit. This isn’t to say they should completely cater to a female audience, just consider them right alongside their male market.

Do you have an opinion about the current state of the industry with regard to females and gaming?

I honestly don’t think it’s terrible. There are inroads that have yet to be made but overall, I think companies are more aware of women as a viable market. I personally have never dealt with a “you’re a woman so you don’t know anything about games” attitude.

If you can talk about it, can you tell us some about the project you are currently working on?

Well, we recently finished Telltale Texas Hold ‘Em, which is a poker game where you play against crazy characters that banter back and forth across the table like in a televised poker tournament. It’s definitely aimed at more casual players. We are currently working on getting more exposure for it: it’s a really fun experience and we’d love for a wider audience to get to enjoy it.

Our current project is an adventure title (think a distant, more mature cousin of your favorite classic LucasArts adventure game) based on Jeff Smith’s comic book Bone. It is a great story with great characters, and we are really excited about the chance to bring it to life in a whole new way.

Do you have any advice for anyone who would like to get into the industry?

Step 1: Love games.
Step 2: Prepare! Study the hell out of whatever you are interested in doing.
Step 3: Move somewhere where there is more than one game company.
Step 4: Meet people. Going to grad school, getting an internship at LucasArts and attending GDC all helped me meet people who helped me get my current job.

I used to be discouraged reading stories about how folks got into the industry, because oftentimes it would involve knowing someone and being at the right place at the right time. But it is possible to turn the odds in your favor by moving to the right place and going out of your way to meet others in the industry (or with connections to it). It’s not just about fate.

What are your favorite games?

You may have guessed, but I have a lot of favorite games. At the moment I am really enjoying Sid Meier’s Pirates! (the remake), Yo Ho Ho! Puzzle Pirates, Subway Scramble, and Katamari Damacy. I also just bought this huge pack of old Atari games for the PS2, and am anxious to dig into that.

Favorite movies?

Movies…I have a specialized genre that I call the “life-affirmation” genre. These are movies that inspire me and make me feel good about the world when I’m done watching them. Examples are Harold and Maude, Human Traffic and Pleasantville.

Favorite Authors?

Authors? Lemony Snicket (did you know he went to my High School?), Jeff Smith, Wendy Pini, George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman (but not Sandman), William Gibson, Scott McCloud. Probably more that I am missing at the moment.

Inspirations?

I tend to find inspiration everywhere around me on a daily basis, but when I am stuck on some design problem I will play other games or read game theory books or articles or even just go for a walk someplace pretty.

What do you like doing in your free time?

As for free time… weeknights are usually pretty mellow. I am usually pretty tired from work. I’ll read, or play games, or watch a movie with my husband. On weekends I try to get out more with friends, or else I’ll work on the apartment some (it needs some work still). I also like playing with our guinea pigs and taking walks in the park with my hubby, or going out to dinner with him and my parents. I usually have a ton of projects I am in the middle of, but I don’t work on them too often because they take a lot of focus and energy and I don’t often have a lot of either when I’m at home.

Thanks for the interview! This was fun!

in Interviews

Killer Women: Terri Perkins

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by on March 6, 2005 at 6:52 pm

Women who are gainfully employed in the games industry are becoming more and more common. The assumption that video games are a man’s domain is finally becoming outdated. Women are playing and working with video games in astounding numbers. According to the ESA, 39% of game players are women. While the percentage of women working in the industry is still small, these women are paving the way for equality in this environment as well. More and more young women are going to technical schools and getting hired by game developers who see the value of a female perspective when creating video games.

So, how did these women get started and why do they do it? Those are the questions I want answers to, so I ask. This will be a continuing series of profiles of the women who have broken stereotypes and taken jobs in the video game industry.

Terri Perkins is the Online Product Manager for Funcom. Curious about what that is? Read on.

Name: Terri Perkins
Title: Online Product Manager, Funcom

What’s your earliest memory of video games?

I had Atari thumb in most of junior high due to Space Invaders and Pac Man. Next, I discovered and became addicted to my first pc game “The Count” in the early/mid 80’s. Of course I wouldn’t admit to playing it as it wasn’t an “in” thing for teen girls at that time! After that, I didn’t touch a game again until “Internet in a box” came out. The internet gaming side brought out my true geek nature and I stayed with the gaming world from then on, beginning with Moos and Muds.

What kind of education do you have and has it prepared you well for this industry?

My education was quite varied ..public and private schools, public and private Universities overseas and in the U.S and post graduate computer courses. Studies ran the gamut from journalism to combat photography to Education and psychology and later to Microsoft certification. I believe it all helps somewhere. Perhaps most important is the ability and desire to learn. I think this is vital in the industry.

What type of work did you do before you got into the industry and what jobs in the industry have you held?

Out of the industry — Hotel Management, Air Force Combat Photographer, Teacher, Info Tech Director and consultant.

In the industry — Immortal, Senior Guide, Host, game reporter, ARK Personnel Director, Online Product Manager.

Was your entry into working with video games planned or chance?

Completely planned. The first time I encountered a GM in an online game, I thought there could just be no better of a job. It became my goal then to learn how to get into the industry and how I could make myself most useful to the games.

What initiated your interest in working in this industry?

Originally it was a hobby. Before graphics came into play, those of us involved in the text games thought it would be a wonderful job but didn’t believe anyone would really pay us to do it.

How did you get started in the industry?

By volunteering. I volunteered in it for many many years and learned all I could. I volunteered to design areas, build customer service programs, some designing with MUDS, write white papers and text books and to review games for websites. When I finally felt I had the experience needed, I begged a lot and wrote proposals and applied. I think eventually Funcom hired me to get me to stop spamming their email.

How long have you been working in the industry?

In volunteer management and design since the mid 90’s. My first full time paid position was 2 years ago.

What does your job entail?

My job is a bit of a catch all. In general I handle advertising and work with marketing, P.R and Sales in conjunction with the rest of our great team.

What is an average day like?

There is no average day! It normally starts around 4:30 a.m so I can meet with my coworkers and contacts in Europe and is filled with emails, ICQs, research, agreements and contracts, NDA’s, reading and writing, tours, meetings, interviews, conventions, planning, proofing and testing. Sometimes I can sneak in a small nap in the early afternoon and then about 3pm the west coast wakes up and it starts over again.

Tell us about the most interesting or exciting moment for you in your job.

There are sooo many! Launch days are incredibly intense and stress filled. Nothing can compare to those! My absolute favorite moments are probably the press tours and conventions. When people unfamiliar with the games are introduced to the amazing worlds and you see eyes bulging and jaws dropping.. or an awkward silence and you ask if everything is okay and they reply that they are just in awe. Nothing can beat that!

What is your least favorite thing about working in the industry?

My least favorite thing is dealing with little things that can mess up your day, like broken links or things that can go wrong at the most inconvenient times.

What is the one misconception you feel people have about working in the industry in your type of position?

That it’s all fun and games. It’s an incredible amount of work that requires constant attention and time. Yes it’s fantastic to mingle with gamers across the globe but it also requires enormous hours of work behind the scenes that people generally don’t think of. I wouldn’t trade it for another job in the world though!

Do you feel you are advantaged or disadvantaged as a female in an industry so dominated by men?

I don’t feel you have any advantages being a female in the industry. It’s not like someone says “Oh since it’s a female I’m dealing with we’ll make this easy!” I don’t expect any advantages for race, gender, religious preferences or nationality either. I have definitely had times that people felt I didn’t know gaming, technology or wasn’t aggressive enough because I was female — but I don’t think the perceptions lasted long . At some conventions for example, you are assumed to be a receptionist, secretary, booth babe or someone’s girlfriend just due to your gender. If you are working in a role that is normally handled by males then you have to do the job wonderfully and be much more aware of your actions and how they will be perceived, and still some will assume you got a job because of sleeping with someone. Maybe men get this too? As women take on more of the senior roles I believe this issue will diminish over time as it has with other industries. Bottom line is this: If you’re a weak person (no matter your gender) this industry isn’t the right place for you.

Do you consider yourself a hardcore gamer?

Yes..definitely a hard core gamer. I play pretty much every moment of free time I have. This greatly varies and there are days where I will play for 8 or more hours and many days in a row where I can’t play at all.

What settings and genres do you enjoy most? Least?

Most: Online Persistent worlds.. setting doesn’t matter to me.

Games I enjoy least are those that depend on how fast you can click a button with little to no thought processing.

If you could pick one game as the best game ever, what would it be?

One of our future titles! For games already in existence, I have to say that over the long term, AO is the only one that has been able to hold my interest for several years outside of MUDs.

If you could tell developers of games to make sure to put one thing in games to appeal to a broader audience that includes women, what would that one thing be?

Choice. There is no one thing that appeals to any group of people. I think you need to have options and choices to appeal to a variety of player desires. I don’t like it when people “aim” games at females personally and have yet to see one that was designed for this that worked. An example of this is character selection. When I go to choose a character I want a variety, not one choice of an avatar that is 36-23-36 with flowing blonde hair. There is no universal trick to this. Nothing appeals to everyone, the more choices you have then the more likely you are to appeal to more people.

If you can talk about it, can you tell us some about the project you are currently working on?

Future titles and projects that will revolutionize the world as we know it! I can’t say more..the security guards are giving me “the look”..sorry.

Do you have any advice for females who would like to get into the industry?

I get asked this a lot and it’s the same answer I give to the males. Find what you want to do and start doing it. Volunteer, take classes, read. Doors don’t just open for you, you have to make them open. Make sure you truly have a desire and love of games that goes beyond playing the games. I don’t think there is a difference for males versus females in this other than with any other predominantly male industry. You’re going to have to work harder to prove yourself. No one, (to my knowledge) says “Ok we need a woman for this job”. They look for qualifications, so make sure you get qualified!

What are your favorite games?

Anarchy Online is still my main game and favorite MMO, for text I like DragonRealms and for standalones..Sam and Max.

Favorite movies?

Matrix 1, Monty Python, Casablanca, Office Space.

Favorite Authors?

Dan Brown, Jeffrey Deaver, Michael Crichton.

Inspirations?

Elonka Dunin, Walt Disney, Tim Berners-Lee, Jean Paul Sartre.

What do you like doing in your free time?

I wish I could say mountain climbing or something exotic, but I have very little of this and generally spend it catching up on family and friends or sleeping. My hobbies and work blend into one.

in Interviews

Killer Women: Samantha Ryan

1
by on February 22, 2005 at 8:35 pm

Women who are gainfully employed in the games industry are becoming more and more common. The assumption that video games are a man’s domain is finally becoming outdated. Women are playing and working with video games in astounding numbers. According to the ESA, 39% of game players are women. While the percentage of women working in the industry is still small, these women are paving the way for equality in this environment as well. More and more young women are going to technical schools and getting hired by game developers who see the value of a female perspective when creating video games.

So, how did these women get started and why do they do it? Those are the questions I want answers to, so I ask. This will be a continuing series of profiles of the women who have broken stereotypes and taken jobs in the video game industry.

Samantha Ryan is one such woman. She happens to the President/CEO for Monolith Productions. What’s a President/CEO do and how did she get her start? Read on to find out.

Name: Samantha Ryan
Title: President/CEO, Monolith

What’s your earliest memory of video games? Did you grow up on games or did you find them later in your life?

My father was what the industry refers to as an “early adopter.” We always had the latest electronic gadgets, games and devices before everyone else. This included all the early consoles from Atari, the Commodore 64, and a few others.

What kind of education do you have and has it prepared you well for this industry?

Back in the good old days, there was no such thing as an education for computer games. My degree is in Broadcast Production. Some of this knowledge has crossed over. But most I simply learned through the school of hard knocks.

What type of work did you do before you got into the industry and what jobs in the industry have you held?

Just before I decided to make the switch to games, I was working for Infinity Broadcasting, which is primarily a radio company. Once I jumped over to games, I started in marketing, but over time, moved into the production side of the business.

Was your entry into working with video games planned or chance? What initiated your interest in working in this industry? How did you get started in the industry?

I was tired of broadcast, which felt old and stale. I wanted to be in an industry that was fresh and cutting edge. I loved playing games and decided to make my move. That being said, it was not easy to make the transition. Employers prefer someone with direct experience already, not someone from another industry. You have to be more creative in your search in order to break through this invisible boundary.

How long have you been working in the industry?

About 8 years.

What does your job entail? What is an average day like?

My day-to-day activities flux based on the projects we have in development and the administrative needs of the company. My goal is to hire great people and empower them to make decisions for the good of their projects and the company as a whole. I can then function as the glue that holds all the projects and support functions together.

Do you feel you are advantaged or disadvantaged as a female in an industry so dominated by men? Do you have any examples of situations where you feel you had an advantage because you were female? Any where you think being a woman played against you?

In my experience, being a woman in a male dominated industry has been neutral. There are rare occasions where I might be at a slight advantage or disadvantage, but these balance out. This may be because the games industry as a whole is more progressive than other industries. I’m not sure. I do know that I don’t think of myself as a woman when I make decisions. I simply do the best job possible as a representative of the human race.

Do you consider yourself a hardcore gamer? How many hours a week do you get to play (besides the title you are working on)?

I used to be a hardcore gamer. I don’t qualify in that category any longer, but I still play a couple hours a week on average.

What settings and genres do you enjoy most? Least?

I don’t have any setting preferences. As for genres, I enjoy strategy games on the PC such as the AOE/AOM series, StarCraft and Rollercoaster Tycoon. I also like shooters such as HL2 and the Thief games, and MMO’s like UO and SWG. On console, it’s mostly action games like Metroid, POP, and Burnout, or RPG/survival horror stuff like the RE series, FF series, etc. My least favorite genre would be sports. I don’t think I’ve ever played a pure sports game.

If you can talk about it, can you tell us some about the project you are currently working on?

Monolith currently has four projects in development. The Matrix Online and F.E.A.R. both ship in 2005. The other two titles are not yet announced, although one of them will finally be announced in February.

Do you have any advice for females who would like to get into the industry?

Be in this industry because you love this industry. We are still a young industry in many ways, and this offers a lot of opportunity for those with confidence in themselves and a desire to make great games.

in Interviews

Killer Women: Yngvild Lothe

0
by on February 22, 2005 at 8:35 pm

Women who are gainfully employed in the games industry are becoming more and more common. The assumption that video games are a man’s domain is finally becoming outdated. Women are playing and working with video games in astounding numbers. According to the ESA, 39% of game players are women. While the percentage of women working in the industry is still small, these women are paving the way for equality in this environment as well. More and more young women are going to technical schools and getting hired by game developers who see the value of a female perspective when creating video games.

So, how did these women get started and why do they do it? Those are the questions I want answers to, so I ask. This will be a continuing series of profiles of the women who have broken stereotypes and taken jobs in the video game industry.

In steps Yngvild Lothe. She works for Funcom as a Game Designer on Anarchy Online. How did she get started and what does she do as a Game Designer? Read on to find out.

Name: Yngvild ‘Bacchante’ Lothe
Title: Game Designer, Funcom

What’s your earliest memory of video games? Did you grow up on games or did you find them later in your life?

I didn’t find any interest in video games until my younger brother was old enough to get them as presents. I guess I was about 9. It soon became a fight between us who would have the Bombsweeper (game & watch) game, and I spent time after school at my cousins’, since they had a C64. I also remember having a list of stuff to write in order to start my favorite games on my first PC. (got it when I was twelve back in 92) I never understood why I would write “cd games” and then “outrun.exe” or whatever my dad wrote for me, but following the list I managed to play the games which were the most important part for me at that point. From then on I’ve always played games, PC or console.

I have one game that I’ll never forget as well, and that was when we went to a store asking for an adventure/puzzle game, since that was what I wanted. The guy at the store recommended Alone in the Dark, and so my dad bought me that game. I only made it down the stairs and into the first few rooms, I got so scared that I insisted on putting my closet in front of the window so that the monsters wouldn’t get me. I even tried playing at daytime with my parents in the room, but I just didn’t dare to move further. Both the character and the monsters looked so realistic to me!

Was your entry into working with video games planned or chance? What initiated your interest in working in this industry? How did you get started in the industry?

At college I dated a guy that had an interest in computers besides just playing games or writing a journal and homework, like I did. He showed me some basic programming, and I joined him when he went to a LAN-party in 1996. I was one of two girls there, and got plenty of help from the guys that actually dared talk to me. I learned to use some pixel-drawing programs, looked more into programming, and became a halfway member of what is called “the computer scene” in Norway. Here talented people get together and use creativity and skill in order to make demos and animations. I met people from all over Europe, and especially in Finland there were more girls interested in computers as well.
I think that this background has prepared me well for this industry; I guess I feel like one of the guys here, for good and for bad. =)

After college, I started Computer Science studies at the University in Oslo. I quickly discovered that programming wasn’t really my thing, and got me a job in an office while pondering what I should study. My brother convinced me to test this MMORPG that was currently in beta, and next thing I knew I had my own Anarchy Online beta account and was guild leader for 150 other players. Thanks to that I noticed the ad for customer service personnel that Funcom had on their web page, and sent in my application. I got the job, and after 2 years in customer service, I joined the Anarchy Online Design team in October 2003.

How long have you been working in the industry?

Since September 2001.

What does your job entail? What is an average day like?

I’m not sure there is such a thing as an average day here… but I usually start the day around 10 am. We have a meeting with the team each morning to sum up the latest news and what tasks we should focus on. I think this is an important part of the day since we are working on a live product. Then I read my email and try to make a “to do”-list. This is also where the mandatory morning coffee comes in. I usually then follow up on what kind of events the ARKs (the volunteers of AO) have produced, or if they have any requests, and then I start working on the task that I have. My tasks include designing and implementing quests, NPC dialog and the story in the game.

Tell us about the most interesting or exciting moment for you in your job.

Well, I love when we come up with a new concept on how to do things. Especially when someone tells us it can’t be done, and we still make it! I love doing research and getting to the bottom of things.

What is your least favorite thing about working in the industry?

I think that what’s hitting me hardest is the negative feedback you can get from players. People tend to raise their voices when they aren’t happy with something, and sometimes it feels like a personal hit. I really care for the game, and would of course like to see everyone happy all the time, and when doing your best never seems to be good enough to some people, the job can be really frustrating.

What is the one misconception you feel people have about working in the industry in your type of position?

Most people think that being a game designer includes fantastic drawing skills. I’m often asked questions about graphics and 3D-design, and to the average person it’s hard to explain exactly what is an online game, what is a quest and how do people talk to the computer.

Do you feel you are advantaged or disadvantaged as a female in an industry so dominated by men? Do you have any examples of situations where you feel you had an advantage because you were female? Any where you think being a woman played against you?

In my work, I don’t really notice any advantages or disadvantages being a female. There are of course examples of times where I might have being treated differently because I’m a woman, but on an everyday basis I don’t think much about being a woman and the others on my team being men. There have been examples in the past where they didn’t invite me to game nights etc. because they didn’t think I would be interested, but that’s more or less gone now that they know me better.

I’ve also noticed how I probably become an object of gossip whenever I find friends among my co workers, and it’s sometimes hard to keep your female style as it is often commented if you are wearing high heels or a shorter skirt etc.

Do you consider yourself a hardcore gamer? How many hours a week do you get to play (besides the title you are working on)?

I don’t consider myself a hardcore gamer in general, more a part time hardcore gamer! I have a tendency to play so much in a short period of time that I continue playing the game in my dreams, and then I quickly grow tired of it. I think I kind of use up the game too fast, sort of like with tequila. You can have too much at one time, and later when you have forgotten how bad it turned out, you try it again, and all the memories come back.

What settings and genres do you enjoy most? Least?

I like RTS games very much. I prefer to build up stuff rather than to tear it down. (I was totally addicted to LEGO as a kid.) In my perfect game I will play against an opponent that is good, but not unbeatable. I hate losing. I’ve spent a lot of time with different tycoon games, I also loved C&C, especially Tiberian Sun. I’ve tried a lot of different role playing games (as I’ve been a pen&paper role player for quite some time), they keep me entertained for a while, but I’m still waiting for that one really good game.

As much as I would love to like it, I can’t tolerate FPS games. I tend to get nauseated, upset whenever I get killed (usually way too quickly to my taste), and I get upset by the non-realistic features in the games.

I also try out different MMOs from time to time, but I find it more like work than fun as I always look at it thinking how it could have been better this way, or how I could implement this in our game.

If you could pick one game as the best game ever, what would it be?

Diablo II. I’m not sure if it’s really the best game ever, but it’s the game I’ve had the best time playing. My boyfriend at the time and I usually teamed up as Necromancer (him) and Paladin (me), and kicked ass! I have no idea how many times I’ve played that game, I even think I know most of the game dialog by heart.

If you could tell developers of games to make sure to put one thing in games to appeal to a female audience, what would that one thing be?

Tough question. I think I could write about a lot of different stuff that would appeal to female gamers. I think for online games, it is important to many women that you get on a personal level with your character. It is important that they can have variety in choice of character and the characters appearance. This includes details in looks, clothes, social emotes, interaction etc.

If you can talk about it, can you tell us some about the project you are currently working on?

Well, I’m working on the game Anarchy Online, it has been out 4 years this summer, and is a science fiction based MMORPG, set 27000 years into the future on the planet Rubi-Ka. Http://www.anarchy-online.com for more information =)

Do you have any advice for females who would like to get into the industry?

Of course, it’s different depending on what type of job you want to do, but in general I think it’s important to brand yourself, get contacts in the industry and don’t give up. Add a good portion of luck and timing as well. Knowing when companies are about to hire more people and don’t expect them to look at the CV you sent in last time they hired and give you a call. Be more aggressive, which I think, in Norway at least, is a skill that is more often seen in men than in women. And be tough! Don’t believe that all good things will come to you, and go grab it instead! I’ve wasted time thinking that justice will happen and that everyone will see what a good job you’re doing and reward you for it. It’s a lot about finding the balance point where you are proud of your work without showing off.

What are your favorite games? Favorite movies? Favorite Authors? Inspirations? What do you like doing in your free time?

Currently I’ve been playing Burnout 3 (Xbox), and I play some Puzzle Pirates when I want to relax, or I can sit playing Civ3 or Rollercoaster Tycoon for a day, but hard to say that I have a favorite game.
As for games, I also play a lot of board and card games, and some of my favorites include Puerto Rico, Steve Jackson’s Chez Geek, Zoff im Zoo, Game of Thrones, Carcassonne and Guillotine.

I’ve always enjoyed Peter Jackson’s movies, and wasn’t surprised that the LOTR version turned out to be so wonderful! I’m also a big fan of Quentin Tarantino. I love the colors and the atmosphere in movies such as Once upon a time in the West and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. City of Lost Children and The Fabulous Destiny of Amelie Poulain are simply beautiful movies, in colors, camera angles and casting. A movie I saw recently and enjoyed was The Boondock Saints. I can’t understand how I missed it when it came out, but it’s definitely on my list now. Right now I’m looking forward to seeing Constantine and Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. (We are usually a bit behind the rest of the world when it comes to movie releases.)

As for authors, I’m a paperback collector, so I can safely say that I read my books till they are torn and missing pages. I started reading Tolkien as a kid, and when I run out of books to read, I started playing the Middle Earth pen& paper role play. It opened my literature world from being the classic, and in my young eyes boring, works, and to find exciting adventures in the worlds created by Terry Pratchett (Discworld), R.A. Salvatore, (The dark elf and The Icewind Dale trilogies). I read the Ravenloft series of books, and was disappointed to find out that they no longer wanted to publish books, and ended it by revealing the whole magic behind the lands in the final book about Stradt. Luckily I was advised never to read that book, so it’s still unopened in my shelf. My dad gave the Isaac Asimov Foundation series, which I still love reading. I’ve also enjoyed reading Orson Scott Card, but I think my favorite series must be the series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. I’m still waiting for the 4th book in the series, and just a few weeks ago he announced on his web page that it was still not done. It taught me how to not start reading a non-finished series of books. I also love Neil Gaiman’s Sandman and his book Neverwhere. I think I can read those over and over and the magic just won’t go away.

I think all of the above is what gives me inspiration for my work, I guess the Norwegian winter is perfect for evenings spent inside reading, watching movies and playing games. I have a tendency to switch hobbies ever so often, guess it’s a matter of attention span, just as it is with games. For one time I was learning Kyudo (Japanese Archery), then only last summer I moved on to start in an medieval styled fighting group, but when winter came I crawled inside for my books and games. 😉 I try to make time to hang out with the girls at least once a week, and in the winter we also go skiing in the mountains in the weekends.

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Staci's bookshelf: currently-reading

HauntedGrave WitchThe ReckoningThe AwakeningThe SummoningSister of the Dead

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