Lue Fang is a graduate student at Northeastern University studying Game Science and Design. He recently started a co-op position as Technical Design Intern at WB Games Boston, where he is focusing on workflow and user experience. We had a chance to catch up with him as he starts this new, exciting opportunity; check it out!
Tell us a bit about what you do as the Technical Design Intern!
My job is to improve the workflow and user experience of the game designers there by creating useful auxiliary tool for them to better interact with the game itself. Game designers usually have limited knowledge about how the game engine works, thus they need to count on other tools to interact with the game and manipulate the underlying data to make the game perform better. For example, a tool helping the game designers to visualize the in-game levels and allow them to change the difficulty or layout of the level by only twerking the data in the tool would significantly improve their workflow. Since I have just started the internship, my time there typically split into two parts. First, I need to understand the structure of existing tools and help the team to maintain those tools by fixing potential bugs. Second, I need to discuss with the designers about the underlying design rationales and extend functionalities per design request. Moreover, I would attend regular meetings to discuss new features that could be added into the game and potential improvement for better player in-game experience.
So far, what has been your favorite part of your co-op? What are you most looking forward to?
I think the best part of the co-op is the relaxing and friendly atmosphere in the studio. Everyone is energetic and my supervisor are being very helpful and have guided me through different types of challenges. Working in a place where everyone has great passion and talks about video games makes me feel a great sense of belonging. Moreover, the sense of achievement originated from completing interesting design and programming challenges and the knowledge I gained from understanding the structure of the game every day really keeps me motivated. By the way, I also really enjoy the free cold brew coffee there!
I am looking forward to taking more responsibilities and having the chance to develop a new tool from scratch by myself and gain more hands-on experiences, as well as participating more in the game design aspect to further understanding how to make a game successful.
Are there any projects that you’re currently working on?
As for games, the studio is currently working on the Game of Thrones: Conquest mobile game and the whole studio is dedicated to maintaining and add in more features to the game to make it even better. As for me, I do not have a specific project to work on, since my main responsibility are focusing on helping the designers to update the game and my task would shift per designer’s request.
What are some things you learned in your classes at Northeastern that have been applicable to your co-op?
One of my classes I took in the past spring semester called the Game Engine really helped me out. I had limited knowledge on tool development for games previously, but one of the assignments in this course was actually developing a mini game engine with tools to facilitate the user of our game engine. In this assignment, I learned a lot of useful tips and patterns, along with hands-on experience that I could apply to all kinds of different tool development challenges. Furthermore, I think the programming skills and styles I learned from the CS courses and the critical thinking and creativity I gained from game design courses all together created a solid foundation for me and well prepared me for this co-op.