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.

Honorable Intentions: Player Behavior Today at Riot Games
Kimberly Voll (Riot Games)
Riot Games has been dedicated to addressing disruptive behavior in online games for over five years. In this talk, Senior Technical Designer, Kimberly Voll will look in depth at Riot's latest understanding of the "how" and "why" in player behavior, with an emphasis on practical design applications for attendees. She'll explore as a case study the completely reworked Honor system for 'League of Legends' that launched last summer, and provide a detailed look at the design decisions behind the system elements from end-of-game voting to seasonal progression. She'll also share results from launch to now, and discuss what's next.
Classic Game Postmortem: 'NBA Jam'
Mark Turmell (Zynga)
Midway's 1993 classic NBA Jam is among the most influential arcade games of all time. Mark Turmell, lead designer and programmer on the original arcade game, will explain the vision behind the game, its role during the '90s arcade boom, and how the first ridiculously huge dunk changed the course of the game's design.
'Horizon Zero Dawn': A Game Design Postmortem
Eric Boltjes (Guerrilla Games)
Going through early prototypes and delving into design decisions and processes that shaped development of the game, this talk gives insight into the journey game design went through while moving from an ambitious paper concept to a finished open world action RPG, with all of the small and large design decisions and choices that have to be made along the way.
Intelligent Game Design on 'Rainbow Six Siege'
Leroy Athanassof (Ubisoft)
Geoffroy Mouret (Ubisoft Montreal)
In this session, the game director and data analyst for 'Rainbow Six Siege' explain how they managed to successfully keep their game in a healthy state by using data and shifting their design process to incorporate scientific methods. Key metrics are carefully engineered to fit the issues at hand and provide the most relevant information for each problem, whether it's been raised by data analysis or community feedback. Through concrete in-game examples, they will show the impact and results of this method.
GDC Microtalks 2018: Playing with Fire
Richard Lemarchand (University of Southern California)
Jenn Sandercock (Inquisiment)
Tanya DePass (I Need Diverse Games)
Chandana "Eka" Ekanayake (Outerloop Games)
Michelle Clough (Independent)
Bob Bates (Independent)
Jane Ng (Campo Santo)
Liz England (Ubisoft Toronto)
Jarryd Huntley (Polytundra LLC)
Liz Ryerson (Independent)
The GDC microtalks are back to celebrate ten years of game design exploration, inspiration and valuable, tangential thinking! The microtalks concept is simple: each speaker gets 20 slides, every one of which is displayed for exactly 16 seconds before automatically advancing, giving each speaker a total of five minutes and 20 seconds to tell the audience about the best game design-related revelations they've had this year. Not sure how they can pack ten talks into a single hour? Come along and see how it's done as nine great thinkers about games and play, alongside microtalks curator and MC Richard Lemarchand, give you a lightning-fast snapshot of the state of the art of game design.
'Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality' Postmortem: VR Lessons *Burrrp* Learned
Alex Schwartz (Owlchemy Labs)
Hear Owlchemy Labs break down the successes, failures, and lessons learned during the development of 'Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality' (developed by the creators of 'Job Simulator' and published by Adult Swim Games). Feast your eyes on tons of early development videos, failed prototype interactions, and learn of the horrors of building portals, interacting with characters in room-scale, zone-based teleportation, and managing performance.

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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