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|    Game Design

Please note: this information refers to GDC 2014, 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


Crimewatch 2.0: Redesigning EVE Online's Policing System
Matthew Woodward (CCP Games)
Game designer Matt Woodward explores how "Crimewatch," EVE Online's policing and aggression management system, got into such a bad state that an unofficial moratorium was placed on further development - and how his team went about redesigning it. This case study covers the history of the system, and walks through the development process, covering initial research, core design, adjustments necessitated by legacy features and player feedback, and how the redesign fared post-release. Special attention is given to the core design, using practical examples to illustrate the underlying design flaws of the original system, isolate the mistakes that led to them, and explain the reasoning that underpins the replacement system - and how that reasoning can be generalized to other designs.
How to Turn a New Leaf at the Animal Crossing
Katsuya Eguchi (Nintendo Co.)
Aya Kyogoku (Nintendo Co.)
Nintendo has many globally popular franchises. One of them, Animal Crossing, is now 12 years old. Like many other Nintendo franchises, the latest Nintendo 3DS iteration has been played both by people who enjoyed the original game as well as their children! Animal Crossing: New Leaf uses network communication to build upon the first Nintendo 64 game's mission of "encouraging communication among different players." Mr. Katsuya Eguchi and Ms. Aya Kyogoku, the respective producer and director of Animal Crossing: New Leaf, will discuss the different approaches they tried to develop ideas that would take advantage of the environment surrounding players so that the franchise would always provide both old and new consumers with something fresh and appealing, while keeping the franchise true to its original uniqueness.
Jiro Dreams of Game Design
Brenda Romero (UC Santa Cruz)
In the career of every passionate game developer, there is at least one moment where he or she wants for greatness. Beyond budgets and time, independent of our teams, we feel driven to create something great, to perfect our artform, not for profits, but for the pure pleasure of perfection. It is a passion many of us share and struggle to achieve in a world where shipping a game often means compromising on our ideal vision.
The Importance of Player Autonomy: Motivating Sustained Engagement Through Volition and Choice
Scott Rigby (Immersyve)
Troy Skinner (Immersyve)
Player research shows that the psychological experience of autonomy is a key factor to building value and sustaining engagement in games, with data from such varied titles as GTA, Minecraft, Skyrim and League of Legends, showing they succeed largely due to their satisfaction of this key psychological need. This talk will unpack the construct of "autonomy satisfaction," and discuss how it can be optimized and made actionable in a game's design, including core mechanics, story development and implementation, reward and progression systems, and other actionable areas. In particular, the talk will focus on understanding autonomy in a more precise way than simply seeing it as a synonym for "freedom" or "choice." Instead, the talk will explain how autonomy can be satisfied when both freedom and choice are present and when they are constrained, as well as the implications for engagement (both initial and sustained), player enjoyment, and monetization.
Hearthstone: 10 Bits of Design Wisdom
Eric Dodds (Blizzard)
The Hearthstone team started with a love of collectible card games and embraced the idea of making them a game type that is fun for everyone. Along the way, we found ten design ideas that worked really well for us, and hopefully some of them will be useful for you too.
Make Things Worse: Enabling Setbacks for Consequential Play
Patrick Redding (Ubisoft Toronto)
At runtime, the player and game together comprise a complex system that is resilient to severe shocks. When shocks happen, a mechanically deeper game will afford the player more ways to recover. Ubisoft's Patrick Redding argues that for a game experience to be meaningful, players should suffer occasional setbacks; situations in which the game requires them to shift their immediate goal in order to continue and succeed. In this session, Redding (Far Cry 2, Splinter Cell Blacklist) explores the conditions that permit setbacks to develop systemically and examines several design strategies that encourage them without provoking players into reloading a save-game. Redding looks at the unique challenge of fostering recoverable setbacks in stealth games, which at their best lets players play tense cat-and-mouse with a formidable AI; but which at their worst can degenerate into brittle guesswork with little room for experimentation or error.
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