Learn Too Write Good Even If U Want Too Werk In Gamez

Gamers are very good at using digital interfaces: controllers, keyboard macros, heads-up displays, and graphical user interfaces. When playing a fast-paced games, they need to issue command quickly, precisely, and clearly.  However, to be a professional game developer, you also need to be good at human interfaces; that is, you need to be able to communicate well with other people.

Game development is a business, and all business is communication:

  • Publisher to Customer
  • Developer to Publisher
  • Boss to Team
  • Team to Boss
  • Team Member to Team Member

In most cases, team development is a team sport, not an isolated activity.  Game developers are constantly communicating with each other: across cubicles, at the water cooler, and in meetings.  Yet not all communication is spoken, much of it is written.  If team members are not co-located, much of their communication is done through instant messaging or emails.

Now, when you are sending an instant message to a fellow team member, you can get way with the informal communication style most of us use when texting a friend: for example,  “Tried uploading file, no luck 4 now. Will try again l8r. Sorry!!! ”

But when writing to a potential employer, client, or publisher, you need to use proper spelling and grammar if you want to be taken seriously.  If you send an introductory letter or email that begins with “Hi, Id like to meet u & talk about werking in gamez & stuff,” that is not communicating and the only think you will get in return is their disdain.

When engaging in business communications, you’ll find that many people turn into “Grammar Nazis,” taking each misspelling and grammatical mistake as a sign of your carelessness and lack of seriousness.

Here are some tips I suggest you follow in your business correspondence:

  • žCapitalize the beginning of sentences, names, game titles, and the word “I”
  • žUse proper spelling and punctuation
  • žPut a space between punctuation mark ending a sentence and the start of the next sentence
  • žDon’t use “u” for “you”, or “&” for “and”
  • žDon’t confuse “its” and “it’s”

I can tell even from this side of the screen that you’re rolling your eyes at me, but I’m quite serious.  A friend of mine who runs a boutique development studio had hired a marketing person who was great in every way — except that he kept confusing “its” and “it’s” when writing his materials.  After a few warnings, my friend felt he had to fire the guy over this one mistake. His concern that such carelessness in the marketing materials, even with such a small mistake, would give his customers the impression that all of their work was careless.

Poor writing skills is obviously a deal-breaker for people involved in marketing, writing, and design, but what about programmers or artists?  As long as they do their job function well, do they need to be concerned about how well they write?  Well, at times, they do.  Programmers and artists are often called upon to write reports and prepare preproduction documents, especially when they move into leadership positions on the team.  But if they send in resumes even for an entry level position that is full of misspellings, hard to decipher sentence structure, and poor formatting, those resumes may wind up at the bottom of the stack or even in the wastebasket.

Remember: attention to detial.  It matters.



About David Mullich

I am a video game producer who has worked at Activision, Disney, Cyberdreams, EduWare, The 3DO Company and the Spin Master toy company. I am currently a game design and production consultant, a game design instructor at ArtCenter College of Design, and co-creator of the Boy Scouts of America Game Design Merit Badge. At the 2014 Gamification World Congress in Barcelona, I was rated the 14th ranking "Gamification Guru" in social media.

Posted on April 4, 2016, in Career Advice and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. When I saw the notification in my e-mail, I was worried it’s some sort of an april fools article 🙂

    Is the problem you mention in this article a common one?

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