Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

Riot Games is an amazing company!

Friday, January 7th, 2011

Hello everyone! So in a previous post I said I would talk more about getting hired by Riot Games.

It all started way back with the League of Legends beta release. I got in and played the hell out of the game. I was obsessed, just like I used to be with DotA. So when I went to volunteer at GDC last year, I decided to run a League of Legends tournament for all of the CAs. I contacted Jeff Jew at Riot Games to see if any of the Riot guys would be willing to visit and if they had any schwag I could use as prizes.

Well, not only did Jeff Jew show up, but ELEVEN OTHER RIOT GUYS CAME! Holy crap! It was like a dream come true for so many people. We had laptops set up everywhere and there were at least 40 people playing LoL at any given time. We had a huge 5v5 Riot VS CAs match. All in all the event was a blast, and as thanks for preparing it they invited me to their recruitment party.

While there, I met many Riot employees and they discovered that I did Flash programming. I had no idea that Flash coders could even get a job in anything but the casual/kids section of the game industry, but apparently almost all of the triple-AAA studios use a 3rd party solution called ScaleformGFX for their user interface solution. The way Scaleform works is that you can code the entire UI in Flash using the IDE as well as Actionscript code, and then the Scaleform player runs during your game simulating the way a Flash player behaves in a browser. The unfortunate part is that Scaleform currently only supports Actionscript 2.0, which is a horrible language for most developers. But, to make a long story a little shorter, that is the reason I now work for Riot Games. They needed a Flash developer to take over the UI coding, and I was at the right place at the right time and proved my passion for the game by spending my spare time running a huge tournament to show my support.

This just goes to show that networking is the absolute 100% most vital aspect to getting a job in the game industry. I had met Jeff Jew and played in-game with him once, and he remembered me because while I was in school another Riot employee, Steve Snow, used to come speak at our school and I mentioned that fact. As a result, when I decided to run the tournament, I was able to use my previous networking and send Jeff an email and that resulted in the entire chain of events that eventually led to my employment.

And I have to say, this is the happiest I’ve ever been in my life. Riot Games is the most incredible company I’ve ever worked for. If you add up how happy and fulfilled I was at every job I’ve ever had in the past, it would be a fraction of how happy and fulfilled I am at Riot after just 6 months on the job. Despite tackling immensely difficult problems the likes of which I’ve never seen before, I don’t feel like I’ve “worked” a single day here. I look forward to going in and seeing my awesome and amazingly talented co-workers, and I face satisfying challenges every day! I am the kind of person whereby, in a job, if I don’t get copious amounts of extremely difficult to solve problems and challenges on a daily basis, I get bored very easily. Keep the hard work piling in on me and I’m happy as a kid in a playground. The best part is that the design department is extremely open about including non-design department employees as participants in their discussions. I love game design, but I was hired as a programmer, so that’s my first responsibility. But everyone is encouraged to submit champion ideas (of which I’ve submitted 4 already), provide feedback on any aspect of the game including balance, and play in the play tests that we run every single day to do a massive crowd-sourced QA and design/balance sweep of the game. Since we’re running the game as a service that updates every 2 weeks, the latter is the most important part of the puzzle.

Anyway, this post is turning into a novel. To conclude, I will say to anyone who is interested in working at Riot Games, we have quite possibly the best company the game industry has ever seen. We only hire strong, talented, alpha personality people who check their egos at the door, and I’ve never worked with a more cohesive and impressive group of individuals. The company is very demanding of time and effort, but they are also very generous and recognize those efforts on a regular basis. The leadership is also extremely transparent – you know exactly where you stand at all times, and I have yet to experience any sort of politics. Everyone in the company is treated as an equal, from the QA interns to the programmers to the CEO & President.

I love Riot Games! :)

Steam Christmas Game Sale

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

So League of Legends has obsessed my life since I got hired by Riot Games back in May 2010. I’ve been pretty remiss in my game playing lately, pretty much exclusively playing LoL and not really exploring any other games or even paying that much attention to what games have been coming out. In my defense, League of Legends is a really addictive game and I’m also on a high right now from having started to work at Riot. But what better way to bring in the new year than with a ton of new games to play? So, I made it my new year’s resolution to play a bunch of other games in addition to League of Legends.

Starting December 20th and ending tomorrow, January 2nd, Steam has had a crapload of games on sale. Pretty much their entire collection is slashed anywhere from 25-90% off. This was a little bit of a wake up call to me as I saw a whole bunch of games I’ve been meaning to play at some point but put off due to League of Legends. I strongly recommend to all of you to peruse what’s available as they have something for everyone. The Indie packs were particularly cool – you can get 5 indie games for $5. Not a bad deal! Here’s the list of games I purchased:

That’s 23 (EDIT: Now 25) games that I bought, everything from triple-A studio titles to indie horror games to casual puzzle games you can beat in 2 hours. How much did I pay? Grand total just under $84 (EDIT: Now $99). Yes that’s right, $84, or for you math majors, less than $4 per game on average. Holy bargain bin, Batman!!!

Anyway, go hit it up while you can. The sale ends tomorrow!!! http://store.steampowered.com/

I’ll be posting reviews of these games as I finish them. Until then… Happy new year!!!

EDIT: I bought Team Fortress 2 and Neverwinter Nights 2 Platinum as well, bringing the total to just under $100. Still an amazing deal, as I have some huge titles on there as well as a ton of indie/casual/smaller titles.

Google Reader Is Amazing

Saturday, April 4th, 2009

If you’re like me, you have a lot of websites that you want information from each and every day. If you’re even more like me, you don’t have nearly enough time to read it all, and it’s a pain in the butt to remember which ones you’ve already visited.

Enter Google Reader. A few months ago, I was a schmuck who manually visited about 10 or 12 gaming/Flash/funny websites daily to see if they had any updated content. A friend introduced me to Google Reader, and it literally changed my online life. Google Reader performs the extremely useful service of aggregating all content from the web sites I frequent into one easy place. It’s especially useful because I don’t have to visit the sites to see if there is new content – Google Reader keeps track of which items I’ve read and marks the others unread just like emails. I already had a Gmail account, so it was a cinch to setup my Reader account by simply clicking the “Reader” link at the top and logging in for the first time.

Any website that has an RSS feed or something similar is easy as pie to add to your Google Reader. Simply press the “Add Subscription” button in the upper left corner and type the main address of the website.

In fact, why don’t you sign up right now and add my blog to your Google Reader? :) Simply press “Add Subscription” and type “www.georgeskleres.com” in the pop up that appears and press “Add”. Then you’ll see Game Dev Overload in your list and be happy knowing that any time this blog is updated, you’ll know immediately. :)

Game Dev Overload

Monday, January 5th, 2009

Welcome to my new blog, Game Dev Overload!

Sometimes it can be daunting to tackle game development. I remember when I first started school for Game Design, I felt lost and confused about how it is done with only my passion for games driving me onward. Eventually, I got sick of waiting for the programmers at my school, so I decided to learn programming for myself and make my first game. After being thoroughly dazed and overwhelmed by the sheer amount of knowledge that was out there, I settled on trying my hand at Flash. But even that was difficult. I would not have been able to do it without the help of a friend who hand held me through the beginning stages of Flash and showed me a ton of resources, so in return I’d like to offer this blog as a sort of tool for other aspiring and current game developers. The content will be programmer-heavy, but most indie game developers are programmers anyway (or at least work closely with one). I plan to use this blog to centralize a whole slew of game development resources for both my own and anyone else’s convenience. I will also be posting reviews of some great games I’ve played as anyone who makes games should also be playing lots of games.

Anyway, I hope you find my blog informative and helpful. Enjoy!

– George