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|    Game Design

Please note: this information refers to GDC 2015, check back for updates.

Creating compelling, immersive games requires understanding, visualizing, demonstrating, and tuning the interactions of an ever-increasing number of game tools and systems. While game designers need to understand and exploit the possibilities of new technologies such as realistic physics, facial expressions, and lighting techniques; they must also continue to master the traditional disciplines of drama, game play, and psychology.

The Design Track explores the challenges and ramifications of the interaction between new technologies and established techniques.

Arrow Search for all Design Track sessions


Transitioning from Linear to Open World Design with Sunset Overdrive
Liz England (Insomniac Games)
This session goes into how, after 20 years of developing linear games, Insomniac Games evolved to tackle open world design in Sunset Overdrive. It will cover some of the pitfalls and growing pains associated with such a drastic change within the studio, and go into depth in the way we restructured the design department in order to solve these new challenges. In particular, the session will cover new approaches and techniques we made to prototyping and implementing large, overlapping gameplay systems, and dealing with the problems of working in a single shared gameplay space. Special attention is given to how our design workflow on Sunset Overdrive compares and contrasts to our previous workflow on Resistance 3, a strictly linear game.
game < design
Stone Librande (Riot Games)
Game designers frequently emphasize the "game" part of their title. In this inspirational talk, Stone will focus on the "designer" aspect. How is game design similar to other forms of design, such as fashion design, automotive design or industrial design? What can we learn from these other disciplines that will help us grow as game designers, both personally and professionally? Stone describes his own personal design journey and the lessons he has learned along the way. Topics will include design history, the lives of famous designers, techniques taught in design schools, and the philosophies of world-class design studios.
Permadeath, Aging and Marriage: The Bloodline System of Massive Chalice
Brad Muir (Double Fine Productions)
Project lead Brad Muir walks through a case study of the bloodline system of Massive Chalice. How do you create a cohesive design when your characters are aging and passing away over the course of an epic timeline? This talk hits a variety of issues related to the timeline such as marriage, genetics, pregnancy, menopause and more. Learn how Double Fine tackled each of these aspects to develop a cohesive, streamlined system that lets players manage their heroes for several hundred years.
Hearthstone: How to Create an Immersive User Interface
Derek Sakamoto (Blizzard Entertainment)
Learn about the organization, vision and process used to create an immersive user interface for the popular card crafting game, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. Time permitting, team culture and cross-platform development will also be discussed.
Inspiring Player Creativity in Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved
Jonathan Mintz (Harmonix Music Systems)
Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved is a music game that goes beyond song performance, asking players to create their own song remixes and audio compositions. Join lead designer Jonathan Mintz for a look at how the game turns players into creators. You'll see methods for getting players into a creative mindset, how the interactions in the game are set up to give players confidence, and how the game celebrates players' creations to keep them engaged. We'll also look at prototypes and failed experiments that helped define the final game structure. Specific case studies will explore both the musical play and realm exploration portions of the Fantasia, illustrating how these techniques can be applied to different styles of gameplay.
Engines of Play: Toward a Universal Model of Player Motivation
Jason VandenBerghe (Ubisoft)
In an unholy psychological fusion, the speaker has merged the 5 Domains of Play (Big 5) with Scot Rigby's PENS model (SDT). The result is a startlingly *usable* model of your player's motivational journey through time. It starts with taste, expectations and individual variation, and then carries through to long-term satisfaction, nostalgia and deciding to buy the sequel. Knowing which of your proposed game design features fit with what part of your player's motivational journey is what this talk is all about - but as a bonus, this (unholy) semi-unified motivation model *also* works as a fantastic tool to communicate your project's answer to the timeless questions: "Who are our players? What do they want?" on your team, in your company, and even to your players. Don't be scared. It's just science.