Question of the Week | 7-7-11


I know it’s a long shot but i would like to know if the upcoming title, MW3 multiplayer has the option for color blind gamers. i.e.. alternate colors like in Black Ops.

As a color blind gamer this will a big influence as to whether I buy the game.

Best regards,

Nick Prynn


Hi Nick,

Research suggests that as much as 6% of the general population suffers from Color Blindness, or more accurately Color Vision Deficiency. Men (9-12%) are 20x more likely to be afflicted than women (0.25-1%).  Those numbers vary depending on which source you quote, but we estimate that nearly a million gamers are playing Call of Duty every day with this issue.  I am happy to report that we are working on a Color Blind Assist option for Modern Warfare 3.

So start honing your MP skills, Nick.  You won’t be able blame your red-green deficiency for all that friendly-fire come November 8th




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Written by Michael Condrey

Categories Question of the Week

Question of the Week | 7-1-2011



My name is Andrew, my question for this week is: What inspired you guys at Sledgehammer Games to create your own company?  [from Anna:] What exactly do you do as the studio COO?


Happy July 4th weekend, Andrew and Anna. 

I've chosen to answer your questions together this week since both are commonly asked, and very much related.

Andrew, we founded Sledgehammer Games with a singular goal in mind; to deliver AAA software by building an industry leading development team and creating a studio culture built around a commitment to excellence in everything we do.    Glen and I have strong ideas and convictions around the quality of the games we want to make and the values we want to instill in our teams.    We are dedicated to delivering fantastic games for our fans, and to delivering a tremendous workplace for our developers and their families. 

The opportunity to foster our culture in a brand new state of the art studio from a completely clean slate was inspirational. Founding Sledgehammer Games gave us the canvas to paint our studio vision, and Activision's independent studio model gave us the resources and freedom to bring that painting to life.  

Knowing that our studio’s first game would be brought to the tens of millions of Call of Duty fans was a major inspiration for us as well.    We are both really proud of our previous game, but the draw of the fan base of Call of Duty was something special, and frankly, something rare in our industry.   It’s humbling.  We know the expectations from the fans are higher than ever, and we don’t take that lightly.   I can say with complete conviction that when Modern Warfare 3 hits November 8th, 2011, the staff at Sledgehammer Games will have left nothing on the table.  We’ll have poured every last ounce of passion and determination into making this the best game possible, and something we are thrilled to have our Sledgehammer Games logo on. 

What exactly do I do, Anna?   That’s a great question.  Mostly, I try to keep Schofield from doing or saying anything stupid.  That keeps me pretty busy making sure he can’t really do or say anything…

I am kidding.  Sort of.  No, really I am kidding.

Everyone at Sledgehammer Games is a game maker including Glen and I.  We are both very hands-on developers.  Our roles span across the studio management responsibilities and the game development responsibilities.  The simplest way to describe it is that Glen is the crazy guy and the head of the studio creative process.  His job is to push the studio to think bigger and innovate farther.   I am the pragmatic guy and the head of the studio development process.  My job is to make sure we have the people, processes, and resources to achieve that creative vision.   To his credit, Glen has a good sense of the business constraints.  Equally, I have a lot of opportunity to influence the creative.   Ultimately we push each other, sometimes quite loudly, to ensure we make the best game possible; the most innovative and highest quality possible, while still maintaining predictability around the schedule, budget, and people.  That, to us, is the win state for our fans and our staff.





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Categories Question of the Week

Question of the Week | 6-24-11


My name is Anibal.  I’m currently in high school and I’m looking to eventually work for Activision and/or a developer like Sledgehammer Games. I am currently trying to learn C++ and C#.  If you guys could please offer some advice to help me become a better programmer or developer, I would really appreciate it. I am also trying to learn how to use 3ds max and Autodesk Maya for 3D rendering. Again, I would really love to work for you guys someday.   


Hello Anibal, 


Great name!  Sounds like a good developer gamertag:  cAnibal.  or Maybe Anibolic?  With a gt like that, I bet you tear up the MP leader boards ;)

Today the options for game developers are wider and more exciting than ever before.  With the relatively recent introduction of mobile and social games now complementing AAA titles that rival Hollywood's best films, game development teams can be made up of just a handful of talented "many hats" developers, or can number into the multiple hundreds of development specialists.    Find your interest; be it in art, engineering, audio, production, then strive to create work that you are proud to share.    Be passionate about delivering excellence.  It's fairly easy to make average software.  Creating something gamers will love takes a lot of work, a lot of practice, and a solid commitment to your education.   

Since you asked specifically about writing game code and more specifically rendering, I solicited some advice from Danny C., Sledgehammer Games' Principle Rendering Engineer.  His advice:


1) First things first: Write a game.

This sounds daunting, until you realize you don't have to write a game that's as large in scope as your typical console game. Keep it simple. Design it, plan it out, use your Maya or Photoshop skills to create programmer art, and code it. Most game programmers I know started programming in middle school or high school and one of the first things they did after learning how to branch (if) and loop (for) was write a game. The fundamental challenge in game programming is problem solving and you'll get fantastic experience solving real game problems by diving right in. Almost every problem requires some sort of trade off. Using your critical thinking skills to make these decisions is important in figuring out your own programming style.

2) Learn 3D math/linear algebra

One of the prerequisites to working on rendering or physics code is knowledge of 3D math: the use of matrices in rotation and perspective projection, Euler angles, dot products, cross products. One way of getting this under your belt is taking a 3D graphics course in high school or college. Another is to learn from books and the internet. A deep understanding of 3D math will help in almost every aspect of game rendering, from the tools to the build pipeline to the game run-time. 

The important thing is to keep at it. Your first game may not be great, but your second one will most definitely be better. At some point, you might join the console gaming industry or you might decide to become an independent developer. The great thing is these days both those options are available to you.


Best of luck, cAnibal! 

 - Michael and Danny


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Categories Question of the Week

Question of the Week | 6-17-11


 I heard that you guys were pulled from one project to help develop MW3. If this is true, then how hard/easy/confusing was it to get the team rolling on MW3 over the project you had been working on? And will the transition back be just as easy or difficult?

- Joshua Malone

Fullsail University Game Design Student


Hi Joshua, thanks for your question.

Sledgehammer Games was founded in July 2009 as a new Call of Duty development team within the Activision family of independent studios.  We initially prototyped a few ideas around an Action Adventure game within the Call of Duty universe.   There was a lot of passion and excitement about the idea of expanding into the Action Adventure space and we built a complete playable demo experience proving the validity of the concept.   

We were presented the option to co-develop with Infinity Ward, one of the industry’s most acclaimed development studios, on the follow up to the critically acclaimed Modern Warfare 2.  It  was an unexpected opportunity to work with a studio known for their history of delivering world class software, on a franchise we have all loved as gamers and developers for a decade.  We discussed the option with the team, and collectively agreed it was a rare opportunity that we couldn’t pass up.

We were in a fortunate position at Sledgehammer Games in that we had a very senior team with a deep background in FPS development experience, and familiarity with the IW technology. Still, I’ll be honest, the ramp up wasn’t easy.  Then again, the most worthwhile things in life rarely are easy. I couldn’t be more proud of the commitment from the team to push themselves to master the pipelines and to quickly begin contributing to the co-dev effort..  We are also extremely thankful to the developers at IW who were key in helping the knowledge pass down to their counterparts at Sledgehammer Games.  Without their support, the ramp up would have been much more challenging.

Now, with both teams pushing ahead at full steam, we have an unprecedented amount of talent focused on the game.  The dynamic between the studios invites collaboration, challenges quality, and encourages the development of the best ideas across the game.  With support from others across Activision, Modern Warfare 3 is on track to be the deepest and most epic offering in the franchise yet. 


- Michael Condrey, Co-founder


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Categories Question of the Week

Question of the Week | Introduction


Do you have a question for Sledgehammer Games? Want to know more about us, our studio culture, and/or MW3?

Every Friday, a member from the Sledgehammer Games Crew will answer one of your questions.

So for example, if you want to know more about what we do on a daily basis, we just may answer that. If you’re interested in learning about how we’ve been doing our research in developing MW3, we just may answer that.  If you have a question about what food we stock in our kitchen, well, I can answer that for you right now, Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal! 

So if you want your question highlighted and answered, please submit to:

First question will be answered this Friday.

Written by Guy Beahm

Categories Question of the Week


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