UI Artist at Blizzard Entertainment
Jung Seong-hak (Entertainment Design, ERICA, ’07)
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Blizzard Entertainment is one of the most famous and popular game companies in the world. Since its establishment in 1994, it has released many game series such as Warcraft, Diablo, and Starcraft, which all gained huge popularity. The company’s most recent work is Overwatch, which is a team-based shooting game. Since its release in last May, it has been gaining an immense number of users in Korea as well. This week, News H interviewed Jung Seong-hak (Entertainment Design, ERICA Campus, ’07), a UI (User Interface) artist for Blizzard in Irvine, California.
Blizzard’s UI artist
One of the biggest reasons why many of Blizzard’s games became hugely successful is because of user-friendly interface, and easy-to-learn game environment. Such aspects of a given project are what UI artists mainly deal with. “UI refers to the point of contact between the user and the content. Project artist teams deal with the UX (User Experience), which is the real experience that users get while playing the game. It includes the simplest graphic, from animation to prototyping, which is a process that is supplemented from actual users' feedback,” Jung elaborated.
It has been 9 years since Jung started to work at Blizzard, and there are points he thinks is the most important part of the job as a UI artist. “The UI artist's work constitutes a big part of the main project, so it's always important for them to keep their work consistent with the whole project. As such, it's important for artists to always try to see the big picture. There are always new and existing users, both of whom we have to take good care of, which is the trickiest part,” explained Jung.
The boy who loved art and game
Jung loved drawing and playing computer games as a child. His interest in these led him to search for majors university with a relation to his hobbies. During the years at HYU, Jung had many chances to develop his abilities as a designer. “I was the leader of the school club ‘Intro’. We used to create a lot of image work and present it in different exhibitions or contests,” Jung recalled. In his senior year, Jung started to search for suitable companies to apply for jobs, just like other students do, and found Blizzard’s recruitment announcement. Jung didn’t hesitate, sending in the resume right off the bat, which soon took him on a flight to California.
Until this day, playing computer games is Jung’s favorite hobby. “I played numerous games in the past and it includes those made by Blizzard and others. Personally, I prefer games with good graphics and stories. Recently, I thought ‘The Last of Us’ from Naughty Dog Inc. was impressive,” noted Jung. As both user and artist at Blizzard, Jung said he is happy that the game Overwatch was such a big hit. “Currently, I like to play Overwatch above other computer games. Since I play it at work, I try not to go on it when I’m home, but it’s just too difficult for me,” admitted the game fanatic.
New start, new life in California
As expected, Jung’s new life in the United States wasn’t without hardship. He tried to record the experience through different means. Jung’s post on his Facebook account, ‘How I was issued a family relation certificate in the States’ went viral and many people sympathized with the arduous process. Jung also thought of drawing his daily life in California into comics. Jung’s short cartoon was posted on the Korean portal site Naver, with the title ‘Welcome, California’. “When I first got here, I had many new experiences that were hard to deal with, so I thought, why not depict it through a cartoon to give people first-hand information. I'm no longer publishing now, but am thinking of continuing it later,” said Jung.
According to some of his cartoons, Jung seemed to have adapted to California pretty well. As soon as Jung landed in California, he could easily find Korean grocery stores, restaurants, movie theaters, and even a Korean sauna. What amazed Jung was California’s beautiful view and its coastline. “I didn’t have much chance to visit beaches when I was in Korea. In California, my home is only 10 minutes away from the sea, so I like going to the beaches a lot with my wife,” said Jung.
Happiness is what really matters
“As a human being, we all like to explore and search for something to feel a sense of accomplishment. I think computer games are the most easily accessible and cost-efficient form of entertainment that attracts people,” said Jung. His four years at HYU was short, but it was definitely one of the most important moments in Jung’s life. “My life at HYU was full of happy moments and good memories as I met my wife and good friends."
As of now, Jung is happy with his job. He mentioned how the company welfare and competent colleagues always give him positive motivation. “I don’t have anything specific to say as a final goal in my life- I just want to live happily, doing what I love."
Yun Ji-hyun firstname.lastname@example.org
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