I'm an openly gay game developer who's worked on indie to AAA games for the past 10 years. I am an advocate for diversity in game teams/content/communities. AMA!

Nov 2, 2017

My name is George Skleres and I've worked in the game industry on everything from kids games, such as Dora Saves Map and Elf Island, to the AAA title League of Legends, to my own indie board games. I am openly gay and have spent a lot of time researching and speaking about diversity in gaming. Female, LGBT, and minority gamers are under represented in game teams and game content, and often times also marginalized or harassed in game communities. I am currently working on a Kickstarter campaign for my latest game, Wiener Takes All, a comical card game that is a parody of dating in our society and the superficiality that comes with it.

Kickstarter: www.kickstarter.com/projects/630880089/wiener-takes-all

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Wiener-Takes-All-1715828508444000

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Why are parents always the last to know that their kid is Gay?

Nov 4, 9:49AM EDT0

George, tell me about AAA game?

Nov 2, 7:44PM EDT0

Which one?

Nov 4, 12:06AM EDT0

Specifically to "League of Legends"?

Nov 4, 12:27AM EDT0

Have you called in sick or late to work or skipped classes to game?

Nov 2, 4:45PM EDT0

I have definitely done this. :)

Nov 3, 11:28PM EDT0

What educational path should my child take to become a game developer?

Nov 2, 3:05PM EDT0

Get a bachelor's degree, doesn't matter what major or school. I recommend English, Psychology, Business, or Computer Science the most because those are the most universally applicable when finding a game industry job is difficult.

The degree itself proves that you can commit to something for 4 years and follow through. Almost everything else however is extraneous. It's more important to actually MAKE games on the side, even for no pay. Pet projects are usually best since you love them and you are willing to go the extra mile to see them created. Ulimately, the game industry cares about what you've done, not what you learned, so an online portfolio with finished work (art, games, stories, etc) is the most important thing.

Nov 3, 11:31PM EDT0

What non-game art influences you the most?

Nov 2, 10:37AM EDT0

Do you mean visual art specifically? If so, then I'd say cartoon animation. Cartoons are a great way for anyone of any skill level to create content, from novice to expert.

If you don't mean only visual art, then definitely books. Reading is critical, both fiction and non fiction. There's a ton of ideas and knowledge out there in books that will help you when you have to create an experience for a player that you've never experienced yourself.

Nov 3, 11:33PM EDT0

How can educators and universities get involved in game development?

Nov 2, 10:26AM EDT0

Make your students make games! Anyting - digital game, board game, card game, etc. A portfolio of finished work is always a million times better than grades or a specific major (with the exception of very specialized positions).

Nov 3, 11:34PM EDT0

Should you design for yourself, or should you design for your audience?

Nov 1, 3:02PM EDT0

Generally I make games for which I am also part of the audience, so it's a moot point for me. In the circumstance that I am not part of the audience, design for the audience. The player's experience is paramount.

Nov 3, 11:35PM EDT0

When did you start gaming?

Oct 31, 8:43PM EDT0

5 years old, NES classic. I guess technically I played on my friend's Atari at their house, but the NES is the first system my family owned.

Nov 3, 11:36PM EDT0

Are you from the US?

Oct 31, 2:58PM EDT0


Nov 3, 11:36PM EDT0

Which games/companies, especially in AAA and larger studios do you think best represent LGBTQ people, both in their products, and in their teams? And in your experience as a dev at larger companies, which were the worst?

Oct 31, 11:16AM EDT0

Wizards of the Coast probably does the best job I've seen of promoting diversity in game content. Magic the Gathering and D&D both have immensely diverse art work and storylines scattered amongst the cards/campaigns/books. I am fairly confident their development teams are also diverse based on what I've heard but I haven't worked for them so I can't confirm.

Bioware does a pretty great job too. Dragon Age, Mass Effect, etc ... lots of good diverse characters and content in those games. RPGs are a great opportunity for diversity in games and Bioware tends to be at the forefront.

Most competitive games (fighting games, mobas, FPS's, etc) are super slow to adapt to diverse game content, and their communities tend to be extremely hostile to gamer minorities. A few exceptions - I was pleasantly surprised when Blizzard made Tracer a lesbian, though they are still pretty lacking in terms of racial diversity. Also Brawlhalla by Blue Mammoth does a really great job of creating respectful and bad ass female characters - I don't think I saw a single instance of boob armor yet the female characters were still awesome!

I don't want to talk about specific companies, but I will say this... It hasn't always been easy being gay in the game industry, but it's gotten a lot better. I've had a MUCH easier time being gay, however, than pretty much any woman has ever had being female. We have a LONG way to go to get to the point where women are treated as equals in the game industry.

Nov 3, 11:41PM EDT0

What is your favorite type of game?

Oct 31, 10:30AM EDT0

I'll give you my top 3, in order! :)

1. Strategy

2. Simulation

3. RPG

Last edited @ Nov 3, 11:42PM EDT.
Nov 3, 11:41PM EDT0

Who do you consider at the top of your field, and why?

Oct 31, 12:00AM EDT0

I don't honestly know where to begin with this. There's too many people I admire for too many different reasons. Sorry for the cop out! :(

Nov 4, 12:05AM EDT0

Do you feel guilt and shame around your gaming?

Oct 30, 4:22PM EDT0

Never! Why would I feel guilt?

Nov 3, 11:51PM EDT0

Are there any little known cheat codes you know of for popular games?

Oct 30, 11:41AM EDT0

Nope! All the games I can cheat with have public console commands!

Nov 3, 11:51PM EDT0

Why do you think this game will help people represent the LGBTQ community?

Oct 30, 11:25AM EDT0

This game, specifically, will not. But it DOES make people think about the double standard of male/female character fantasies, whereby men are almost always a power fantasy and women are almost always a sex fantasy. It forces the players to examine their own comfort levels with sexualization of men, instead of the typical never ending overt sexualization of women that occurs daily in our society. It's not really saying much to be honest, but it's something.

Nov 3, 11:54PM EDT0

What’s the biggest thing players just don’t understand about game mechanics?

Oct 30, 9:51AM EDT0

Probably that players usually remember when they have bad luck and usually forget when they have good luck. If I roll 100 random numbers and there is only one losing streak of just 5 times in a row and multiple winning streaks of 5+ times in a row, the average player will distinctly remember the losing streak as a painful experience for a long time but probably won't have strong lasting memories of the winning streaks. It's how our brains work as humans - avoiding pain is far more important to remember than reliving pleasure from a survival perspective. So ... even though in the hypothetical example above there was actually above average luck, the player may feel they were dealt poor luck and blame it on the game "cheating."

Nov 4, 12:04AM EDT0

How can you reduce game lag?

Oct 30, 12:48AM EDT0

Get a better net connection. Unless your machine is so old that it's literally lag from processing. Then you need a better PC. :)

Nov 3, 11:56PM EDT0

What are the best 30 seconds of game design ever?

Oct 29, 11:57PM EDT0

I am going to assume you mean outstanding game design that results in great game play experiences? If so, then I'd say the feeling of betrayal you get when you realize that the person you were arguing for turns out to be a werewolf and kills you all. Oh well, next game! :)

Nov 3, 11:57PM EDT0
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