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.
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2017 HIGHLIGHTED SESSIONS
eSports Day: Arcade to eSports: How Your Competitive Game Influences Player Culture and Values
Tom Cannon (Evolution Championship Series)
Starting in arcades in the early 1990’s, fighting games have a rich competitive history. Though competitive gaming has flourished and evolved since then, the cultural identity of the fighting game community has remained consistent in it’s own unique, quirky way. This talk will examine how the format of the arcade influenced the competitive culture of fighting game players, and why this culture endures today.
‘Final Fantasy’: A Challenger Once Again
Hajime Tabata (Square Enix)
This talk will discuss what ‘Final Fantasy XV’ set out to achieve, and the multi-faceted approach that was taken. It will also cover what the development team has set their sights on moving forward. Come listen to director Hajime Tabata, speak about the project from a developer’s standpoint.
‘Nioh’: Reinventing the Samurai Action Genre
Fumihiko Yasuda (Koei Tecmo Games)
‘Nioh’, one of the longest in-development titles Team Ninja has created, has gone through a lot of changes since it was first announced 10 years ago. During the last stretch of development and before its successful release last month, Team Ninja decided to publicly test their chosen direction on a global audience. By allowing gamers access to early stages of ‘Nioh’ for a limited time, in the form of an Alpha and a Beta demo, they were able to gather useful information that help re-align their game development. This presentation goes through the key lessons learned from that exercise, the applications of collected data, the reception of the open communication with their fans, and implementation of the feedback gathered.
‘Offworld Trading Company’: An RTS Without Guns
Soren Johnson (Mohawk Games)
For ‘Offworld Trading Company’, Mohawk Games set out to make a new type of real-time strategy game, one that focused on economics instead of combat. Following this initial vision led Mohawk Games to shed other standard tropes of the genre, such as unit selection, on the way to creating a unique gameplay experience, one that de-emphasized micro dexterity challenges in favor of macro high-level strategy while still hewing to the standard half-hour RTS format. This postmortem details the twist and turns of Offworld’s design process, from conception to prototyping to Early Access to final release.
‘Mini Metro’: When Less is More
Jamie Churchman (Independent)
In a world full of distractions, game developers often make the mistake of thinking their games need to be the most distracting thing. So they add timers, rewards, particles everywhere, collectibles, notifications, and bribes to share content. Your time is valuable but frequently these techniques play on compulsions to obsessively collect, complete, and compete. This isn’t necessarily bad per se, but what if you could be just as effective by avoiding or minimizing the use of these methods while appealing to a more intrinsically rewarding player experience? This talk will take a look at the successes and failures of visual design in ‘Mini Metro’. It will examine how user interface and visual design decisions play a role in creating a rewarding experience for the player. It will also share how you can support this by building a robust design language, design beauty through a process of elimination, and produce a captivating experience.
Absolutely No Pressure: Continuing a Successful Game Series with ‘Civilization VI’
Ed Beach (Firaxis Games)
A significant number of game projects are follow-ons to previous titles in a franchise and are often follow-ons to games that have been huge critical or commercial successes. So how do you approach designing the NEXT game in such a series? Hear how the team at Firaxis approached this assignment for ‘Civilization VI’, despite the fact it meant they had to be critical of their own work on the previous title. During the session Ed Beach of Firaxis will look in depth at several of the key subsystems in a ‘Civilization’ title and review what design changes were adopted (or abandoned) for each.