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Lianna Pang

Lianna (they/them) is a game designer based in New York City currently pursuing a BFA in game design with an interest in gameplay experience, storytelling, narrative design, and 2D animation. They have an aptitude for creative directing and project management. Outside of games, they also have an interest in psychology, music, YouTube, and creative writing.

Why are you studying games?
Before I applied to college, I never knew that I would ever actually make games. Instead, I was an avid watcher of let's plays on YouTube. It was through there that I learned games were a medium through which a much deeper level of emotion, reflection, and experience was possible. I started reflecting upon these discoveries as I came into contact with more of the gaming community, and realized that making people react the way I've seen people react in YouTube videos is something I wanted to do. I want to help make experiences for others through games like so many before me have done, to bring to them that same type of depth and connection that games can offer.
Describe your most embarrassing playtesting moment.
My most embarrassing playtest moments are probably when there are glitches in my projects, something I can't even fix as it's just a Unity bug, but a playtester points out that they really like that feature.
Describe one memorable lecture, assignment, or exercise you've had at the Game Center.
One of the more memorable moments AND one of my favorite assignments I've done at the Game Center was in my Intermediate Game Design class. For our narrative design assignment, we had to work in a group to create an interactive chain of stories using Inklewriter. It was the first time I had done something like that and compared to all the other Unity projects, it was especially refreshing. I really enjoyed coming up with a story with my teammates, the world-building, and planning out the details that would link our stories together.
How has the Game Center changed your thinking about games?
My classes and time here so far have taught me that game design goes way beyond just programming and modelling. There's a deeper, almost psychological way of thinking about how to construct the experience of a game, and that there are many, MANY more facets of creating games, from idea to release. There's also quite a few fields within game design and development I have yet to explore, and I'm excited to do so.
What do you hope to accomplish after school?
After I graduate, I'm hoping to enter an opportunity where I will be able to build more upon my skills as a game designer. It would be foolish to think that I have learned everything so I hope to continue learning after school in these opportunities using a set of general knowledge that I can apply and refine in different areas within the field.
What's the last great game you played and what's great about it?
I had to play through all of Playdead's Inside for an audio analysis assignment and was absolutely blown away by the amount of detail and nuance they put into the game, to the reactive breathing patterns of the protagonist to the seamless blending of ambience, sound effects, and music. Even cooler, did you know they used a real human skull to alter the way the ambience and music sounded? The game's definitely worth playing yourself!
What's your favorite New York City spot?
Tribeca! I love the duality of walking along the East River on one side and one of the biggest roads in the city on the other. Also you can get a good view of New Jersey across the river. There is a good concentration of food spots there, while also being near enough to Broadway to do some shopping. Battery Park is a really nice place to sit down, soak in some sun, take a walk and relax, and I love the quaint little statues scattered throughout the park.