Designer Interview: Melissa Kelt

Hi Melissa, thank you for taking the time out of your busy work schedule on Game of Thrones Ascent to give us some information about yourself!

Q: How long have you been working in the Game Industry, and what are some of your previous projects?

A: I've been with Disruptor beam for 2 and a half years now. A few years prior to that I worked for gamerDNA creating themes based on a wide variety of games for their guild hosting pages. I also served as one of the last player senators in Star Wars Galaxies--a community-elected role that was strictly volunteer but involved hosting community events within the Game and providing the developers with a top wishlist of new features based on player feedback.

 

Q: Would you please describe what you do at Disruptor Beam?

A: I'm a user interface designer. I create the game layout and make miscellaneous graphics related to the UI. I also do HTML & CSS. I just finished working on celtic knots made of squid tentacles, and I consider being able to do that as part of a paying job the pinnacle of my career thus far.

Iron Islands

 

Q: What got you interested in working in this field? Was your career planned, or a happy accident?

A: Accidently on purpose? I consider it a stroke of sheer luck that I shared a server in an online game with the folks who founded gamerDNA and would later become Disruptor Beam. However back then I was working as a graphic designer fresh out of college mostly making junk mail and print ads for a local business. I spent much of my after-work hours in 2007 convincing Jon Radoff and his wife Angela that I was capable of making game-related graphics professionally, and in return they really took me in and gave me work that was way more interesting and fun than making brochures. We went our separate ways for a few years but the Radoffs pursued me to join their team for Disruptor Beam, which is one of the highest compliments I've been given professionally.

Q: What is your favourite moment or memory in a game (past or present) and why?

A: Hosting massive player-created events in Star Wars Galaxies. There were a lot of sandbox aspects to that game that gave players the ability to create their own cities, decorate their houses, and later on place temporary items outdoors. This allowed us to construct our own event venues like arenas for player vs player tournaments. One of the most grandiose events I hosted I was able to create a version of the roman colosseum, complete with multiple levels of arches on the outside and rising tiers of seating inside surrounding an oval fighting ring. A team of players helped to direct the event and commentate on the matches. Seeing it all come together with hundreds of players participating and spectating in my hand-built arena was one of the greatest things I've experienced in any game.

 

Q: Are you a fan of the A Song of Ice and Fire books and Game of Thrones television series? If so, how does that influence your work?

A: Oh yes absolutely. I'm a fan of both. While I noticed the differences--bits that were missing and extra scenes in HBO's version--I thought they did a great job bringing it all to life. I loved the books first though. Long before I heard of this project or the HBO series I was devouring the books in audiobook form, listening to the voice of Roy Dotrice (who also plays Hallyne the Pyromancer in the series) do a marvelous job of depicting George R. R. Martin's notoriously huge list of characters. I would be listening to these audiobooks while working on graphics for other projects. The difference now is what I'm working on matches what I'm listening to. I couldn't believe the news that we were going to create a game based on the books and tv series, and I can't imagine any project I'd want to work on more.

 

Q: If you could make sure Game of Thrones Ascent had one thing in it, what would that be?

A: Animated chat emotes like a /joffslap or a /hodor would be a lot of fun to add. =). But really I just want to try my best to make sure the game feels like Game of Thrones as a whole.

 

Q: What is your favourite part of working on Game of Thrones Ascent?

A: Having the most epicly awesome source material for inspiration that I could possibly imagine from one of the greatest books and tv series of our time.