‪‪ Game Designers | Game Developers Conference | GDC


Learn methods to create compelling interactions with realistic physics, facial expressions, and lighting. Get ideas for new games, tips to push your project forward, and learn how to understand and tune the interactions of an ever-increasing number of tools, systems, and techniques required to design great games.

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Design Track Conference Highlights (W-F)

All Access, GDC Conference+Summits, or GDC Conference Pass required.

Weaving 13 Prototypes into 1 Game: Lessons from 'Edith Finch'
Ian Dallas (Giant Sparrow)
When you make a game that's got 13 different stories in it, each with its own unique art style and gameplay mechanic, you spend a lot of time working on (and throwing out) prototypes. In this session the speaker will talk about how he and his team approached prototyping where the goal was for each mechanic to be something players had never seen before, but also intuitive enough to grasp without tutorials. He'll also discuss the challenge of blending these radically different mechanics into a cohesive experience along with the production process his team evolved to try and keep the whole team informed in the face of nearly constant, frustrating, exhilarating change.
'Friday the 13th': Design and Balance for Asymmetrical Horror
David Langeliers (IllFonic)
This talk will focus on the design challenges and decisions that were faced during the development of 'Friday the 13th: The Game', specifically addressing game balance. The lecture will discuss how the team behind 'Friday the 13th' worked to make a Jason player feel extremely overpowered, a large team of counselors feel very under-powered, while still having the experience feel fair for both teams, and scary for the counselors while staying true to the source IP.
A Fun Time in Which Some No-Good Game Developers May or May Not Discuss How We Made 'NieR:Automata'
YOKO TARO (Independent)
Takahisa Taura (PlatinumGames Inc.)
An unbelievably miserable lecture in which an extremely strange director, YOKO TARO, and an idiotic game designer, Takahisa Taura, will try to talk about the development of 'NieR:Automata', using their near-dead brains. It seems that they are thinking about taking a look back on the development of 'NieR:Automata', and how they came together to create one of the most perverse experiences in video game history. From the captivating imaginings of YOKO TARO to the satisfying action-packed battles of PlatinumGames Inc., they will discuss their design process and how they worked to bring the world of 'NieR:Automata' to life is what they are saying they will do, but they may end up changing their minds and talking about what they have eaten in the US in detail for one full hour instead. No one can see into the future. Don't you agree?
10 Years of Evolution of the 'Assassin's Creed' Brand
Jean Guesdon (Ubisoft)
This talk will expose how 'Assassin's Creed' became one of the most influential franchises of the last decade.

In his presentation, Ubisoft's Jean Guesdon will share a thoughtful deconstruction of how the brand has evolved from AC1 to AC2 to an annualized brand, across different hardware generations, through offshoots, to cross-studio co-dev, tying in books and comics and film, and how it is now being refreshed with 'Assassin's Creed Origins'. Jean will answer questions such as: How did the 'Assassin's Creed' team solidify their identity and pillars in order to be able to evolve without losing sight of what"'Assassin's Creed' is? How did they move from a one story driven game to a global transmedia universe? How did they adapt the production pipeline? And, how do you find the right balance between tradition and novelty?
Walk Tall, My Friends: Giving Life to AI-Buddies in 'FINAL FANTASY XV'
Prasert "Sun" Prasertvithyakarn (Square Enix Co., Ltd.)
Character design is usually misunderstood as a job limited to character artists or scenario writers. That's not true anymore in next generation open world games, where players spend 99% of the time playing and not watching cutscenes. For this reason, game designers at Square Enix now focus on character storytelling by AI, and how to actualize them for the player, instead of only setting the characters. However, the concept of character storytelling by AI is still new and challenging. Game design, AI architecture design, and emotional experience design call for different expertise, but are all needed to create a living, experience-engaging AI-buddy, especially in a big and complicated open world game such as 'Final Fantasy XV'. In this talk speaker Prasert "Sun" Prasertvithyakarn will share with how he and his team at Square Enix combined these three designs to bring their three AI-buddies Prompto, Gladiolus and Ignis to life, pioneering the field, and searching for new approaches for the next generation to come.
'Splatoon' and 'Splatoon 2': How to Invent a Stylish Franchise with Global Appeal
Hisashi Nogami (Nintendo)
No one expects a dull Nintendo game, but the 'Splatoon 2' game's scrappy ink-hurling heroes who can morph into turbo squid and graffiti up skatepark-style arenas are unusual even for a company that puts hats on mushrooms and wings on turtles. How does Nintendo come up with its big (and occasionally gonzo) ideas? 'Splatoon' and 'Splatoon 2' producer Hisashi Nogami will share his experiences working with a design team whose goal was to create a game that was novel yet easy to grasp and riveting to play. What were the brainstorming sessions like and what kinds of review processes determined the game's final ideas? How do you make a sequel better while releasing it on a brand-new platform with unique features? And how do you land on a quirky concept like "squid creatures fighting turf battles with water pistols" in the first place? Mr. Nogami, who also served as director and lead artist on Nintendo's 'Animal Crossing' series, will don his lab coat, roll up his sleeves, and divulge lessons learned while illustrating the importance of risk-taking.

Related Summits & Tutorials (M-T)

All Access, GDC Conference+Summits, or GDC Summits Pass required.

Game Design Workshop (M-T)
Immerse yourself in the iterative process of refining a game design and discover design concepts that will help you think more clearly about their designs and make better games. The workshop includes hands-on activities, group discussion, analysis and critique.
Level Design Workshop (T)
The Level Design Workshop returns for the eighth consecutive year bringing together another an all-new docket of talks spanning a variety of topics that will interest working and aspiring level designers across the game industry.

Historically, LD Workshop presentations run the gamut from sharing specific techniques, to in-depth analysis of shipped games, to introspective explorations of "big" concepts that affect level designers/teams, as well as providing guides to process and workflow.

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