Please introduce yourself:
Hello everyone, my name is Ying Shi and I am from Beijing, China. Ive been
working for ChangYou as an illustrator now for over 2 years and hope to develop
my career further within the company.
How long have you been an illustrator for, and did you always want to be
involved in MMO games?
Ive been an illustrator for over 4 years and used to work in a mobile phone
game design company before that. My interest in PC games development and the
gaming industry made me want to express my value as an illustrator (as well as
my design work) and so I joined ChangYou in order to expand this facet of my
How did you go about designing the bosses/a boss of TLBB and what were the
main influences and inspirations of your art work?
The works of an illustrator at ChangYou and projects such as TLBB include lead
set designs, mount designs, pet designs and NPC monsters as well as other areas
of artwork boss designing is just one part of my job criteria. Due to the size
of the entire project, one illustrator will work on a variety of different
projects and not only focus on one area. I was working as an animation designer
before my work became influenced by Japanese and Korean styles, however, since I
got in touch with online PC games, I found I was more interested in designing
European and American games. I found myself reading lots of design books and
studying their art-work in detail and although my inspiration came largely from
traditional Chinese culture, I realised that versatility as well as passion for
art left a good impression on both me, and the people looking at it.
Villains are usually seen as the most dramatic part of a story, would you say
there was any pressure on you to design cool bosses? Is this always a pressure
as a designer?
When I receive a design brief, I always analyze the character and think about
how to make it more impressive and interesting for the player. Its not so much
a pressured scenario as opposed to a challenging scenario, but naturally you
do still worry that others, including players, might not find them as
interesting as me when designing them. Theres a fine line but of course this is
always approved beforehand.
How many concepts do you go through to get to the right one when developing
We can use our own ideas to create an image, but if we want the person or player
to like what they see, then we need to take some time to think about what it is
we want to design. Generally speaking, there are three types of bosses that
appear in games, the cute-type, abominable-type and fantasy-type. These are
factors to think about when designing and, at the same time, we need to consider
the story of the boss life, where does he/she come from, whats the background,
the reason the boss is an enemy and how/why they became the way they are.
Which is your favourite character and why?
Its hard to say because as a designer, theres always something Im not 100%
happy with. As a result of this, I havent sat down and actually thought that
there is one particular design I would say is my favourite. I like them all but
would love to spend more time on each of them too. My main aim when designing is
to fill the criteria of the character and the game, not just what I like, but
more importantly what the players would like.
TLBB provides a number of different boss characters and doesnt stick to one
type of genre i.e. a gangster video game or a cowboy western shot-em-up where
you know what to expect a lot of the time. Did this open the doors to even
greater creativity? Or did you have to follow certain guidelines? If so, what
were the difficulties, as a designer, of sticking to the right format?
From the start of a brief, we need to consider a characters story and according
to the background and expectation of this, then we design the appropriate
characters. I also have to consider whether or not the character can be smoothly
implemented in the final model of the game. Sometimes, due to some limitations
in the engine of a game, its difficult to get an absolute perfect result of
what you want.
TLBB is widely known for its authenticity to the book (Tian Long Ba Bu). What
key ideas and features did you take from the book in order to create what we see
Its important to bear in mind that the game has a genuine ancient Chinese
martial arts feel to it and so highlighted areas such as the 9 nine different
classes, the cities, the skills etc. are very influential. Weve tried to
maintain a genuine feel to the book also, hence why the NPCs are named after
characters in the original work of Louis Cha.
For more about the classes, please visit
What do you enjoy most about your work as an MMO designer and what are the
most challenging things about it?
I love design work generally. As a creative person, part of what I feel is a
responsibility to discover new areas of design work and produce innovative
characters, settings, pets and more. Not only is it something that satisfies me
personally, but every design work becomes a treasure for ChangYou and the
project in this case TLBB.
What are the common misconceptions that MMO game designers might have?
For creative people, or for me at least, the most fun part of it is the actual
designing itself. I have ideas all the time and so coming up with a list of
these isnt too difficult for me. I try not to think too much about something
because then it becomes a chore. Instead, I focus on the brief and simply go
with the flow of what I believe fits that category best. The engine resources
are sometimes limited and so wanting the character to do certain things or have
certain attributes can be tough, so instead we push it to its absolute limits to
get the best out of the game.
Bosses and villains are both loved and hated in films and games. Do you enjoy
drawing the villains and do you see this as a fun part of being a designer?
Its a challenge to design any part of a game, especially an MMO that has so
many different features to consider. I love designing them regardless of whether
or not they are an enemy and so the notion of a boss, although very cool, is the
same for me as it would be for a hero (for example). Its important for me as a
designer to leave an everlasting memory for any aspect of the game, if I achieve
this, then I achieve a goal for both myself and the game.
What current project are you working on and will it involve designing bosses
again? If so, can you give us a sneak preview of it?
At this moment Im working on the TLBB project management team as well as some
design work alongside that. With the company expanding its catalogue and
creating future additions to MMOs, the work that our design teams are putting in
has been immense. Ive seen some of the designs myself and they look really cool
but its hard for us to give anything away as they are not yet finalised and
details of future releases are still in the planning stages. In the meantime,
players can enjoy TLBB and look out on the
http://www.ChangYou.com/en website for more news of upcoming projects.