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Game Design and Development
Port Washington NY

Warren Spector and his Creative Process

Kevin Granger on Friday, 04 April 2014. Posted in Speakers

The MAGIC Speaker Series at RIT is “intended to advance the discourse surrounding digital media and its impacts throughout the RIT community." Since MAGIC stands for Media, Arts, Games, Interaction and Creativity, what could be a more relevant topic than creative processes? That’s what Warren Spector came to campus recently to talk about: “The (or at least my) creative process: where do you (I) begin)?”


Warren Spector is best known for his production of the award-winning and culturally significant game Deus Ex. Warren also produced other games, including System Shock, Wings of Glory, Cybermage, Epic Mickey, several entries in the Ultima collection, and oversaw development of Thief: Deadly Shadows.


The MAGIC center was packed to the brim, full of students of many disciplines, especially Game Design and Development. After being introduced by the Director of MAGIC, Andy Phelps, Warren talked about the steps that one must go through and the challenges one faces when making a game. One of the first issues encountered is the paradoxical dichotomy between a process and a purpose. From there, he branched (typical of him, eh?) into different starting points: do you focus on making a game for a specific genre? A theme? An emotion? (That one, he noted, was one of the more difficult ones). A demographic? A philosophy?


Warren stated that his games always start with a philosophy: empowering players. Deus Ex was started because he was fed up with the current state of role playing games, and Epic Mickey was based off of the idea of being able to change and manipulate the world around you.


He went on to clarify what parts of a game are most important to focus on to when developing it, and for him, that was fantasy, mechanics, and genre.


Warren clarified that the best way to become good at the creative process is to… create. Practice makes perfect, right? Warren said he had over 300 game ideas sitting in his laptop. (Never before have I wanted to steal someone’s laptop so much.)


After the talk, Warren took a large amount of time to answer questions. These questions ranged from his feelings on casual games, how to get a job in the industry, and how he felt about current developments in the field. Surprisingly enough, Warren isn’t a fan of the current Virtual Reality movement. Warren said there was one big problem that hasn’t been solved practically by it yet, and he demonstrated by walking forward.


Overall, getting a glimpse into the creative mind of Warren Spector was enough of a treat, but the way he conducted the talk and Q & A was enough to make you a fan of him, even if you’re not necessarily a fan of his work. I can’t wait to see what else the MAGIC speaker series has in store!