View Full Version : Eric Holmes speaks at ITT Tech Green Bay (LONG POST)

12 December 2005, 03:17 AM
We students of the ITT Tech, Green Bay, WI campus had a very nice treat earlier today. Eric Holmes, lead design at Radical Games (Hulk: Ultimate Destruction), visited our campus and gave us wanabe-game designers his view on game design. This is the same presentation he will be giving at the next GDC and for us students to get it was an amazing oppertunity.

Eric offered a lot of insight on how (at least at Radical) games are created. He mainly focused on Hulk, for obivious reasons. He explained the various stages of production, touched on the "strike team" setup that Radical uses during development, and advised us to know excatly what kinds of game we want to make, and what aspect of those games, long before we ever attempt to get into the industy. It was a great presentation and I am very honored to have been able to see it.

Here is a list of key points Eric mentioned. These were complied by Ben Geisler, a former Radical employee now ITT instructor. Thanks Ben!
This was an incredible talk, insightful, useful and high quality.

The talk spanned 2 hours and because of this the QA time was cut short.
The media (Fox 11) was there, and highlights will be on the 9pm news.

It was good to see a turn out of ~60 people, if you missed this one it's truly unfortunate. Have I mentioned yet how at the University of Calgary (top 10 computer science school in canada) you have to go through 3 years of CS and be at the top 5% of your class just to HEAR Radical game developers speak?

So this is a tremendous opportunity and we'll be doing it again.

The media was there as well, so you'll see highlights on the 9 o'clock news, Fox 11.

There were alot of useful quotes and tidbits and I'll be sending out notes from the powerpoint, for now this is what I found most applicable.
When hiring designers Eric mentioned he'd rather see a crappy looking but FUN game made out of on-screen stick people than a "pretty" textured model of Angelina Jolie (or whatever).

It's all about FUN and communicating an overall FEEL of your game. You use game GOALs to achieve this, and they should be readily apparent to anyone playing your game. Do not work on ANYTHING that does not relate to your goals.

To get into the industry you should specialize. Pick what type of design you want to do and target it at a specific type (or feel) of a game and a specific studio. E.g are you a mission designer, scripter, environment designer, character designer (note that character designer does NOT model characters, as Eric noted: we have more qualified people for that, and I think he said something like "designer art is usually only a step better than programmer art").

Teamwork teamwork teamwork. Most of the talk was about this. teamwork is crucial for a designer. Eric said "if you were to stick a designer alone in a room for 3 months, you'd just end up with alot of documents".
Without artists, designers have no content. Without programmers, designers don't have the tools they need to place content and write scripts.

This is why teamwork is so important. A designer must interface with everyone, to give his/her vision of the game, communicate the game goals, communicate the design of each mission, etc...

There is more to post latter, I also should mention stikfas for use in motion scripting and move creation. And we should talk more about the implementation process: how to review and tweak gameplay.

If you have further interests about what ITT Tech Green Bay Game Developers Club (GDC LOL) is up to feel free to visit the Club's boards at ..

P.S. If anyone in the industry would be interested in giving a seminar at ITT Tech Green Bay please email either Ben Geisler at or myself at

Related Links:

Radical Website

ITT Tech Website (

GDC Website

Jason Masters

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