|    Game Design

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.


Level Design in Hitman: Guiding Players in a Non-Linear Sandbox
Mette Poedenphant Andersen (Io Interactive)
Jacob Mikkelsen (Io Interactive)
During the final development stages of Hitman user research showed that players had fun but the learning curve was way too steep and the scale of the first level (Paris) was incomprehensible. We had reached our goal of going back to the roots, but it became apparent that we had to improve our player guidance and teach players how to think and act like 47 without changing the sandbox core of the game. We will illuminate the challenges of designing the tutorial and a linear guidance system in Hitman to support the open-ended sandbox structure of the game.
Looking Back and Moving Forward with Pillars of Eternity
Josh Sawyer (Obsidian Entertainment)
'Pillars of Eternity' is a crowdfunded PC RPG with its roots in 'Baldur's Gate', 'Icewind Dale', and 'Planescape: Torment'. Creating a spiritual successor to such beloved games after more than a decade presented a number of challenges. This talk looks at several of these problems and examines how the team at Obsidian attempted to achieve a classic look and feel while accounting for contemporary design sensibilities. The session will also show what Obsidian learned from its successes and failures and how the team plans to apply those lessons in the future.
Alien Cultures: Rebooting 'Master of Orion' with a Global Team
Chris Keeling (
Jacob Beucler (
Wargaming took on multiple challenges to deliver the legendary reboot of 'Master of Orion'. Internal challenges included publishing with a third-party studio, cultural and time barriers to communication, and setting expectations for development, communication, and publishing while simultaneously developing new internal processes for them. External challenges included a popular IP that set player expectations globally, the perception of the Wargaming brand as only F2P, and working with the community and UX testing to balance the need to address the previous generation of 4X space strategy players as well as making the game approachable for a new generation of gamers.
In it for the Long Run - Sustaining Mobile Hits Over Years
Sophie Vo (Wooga)
They say it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks. The same holds true for revitalising your mobile title. You have a passionate user base, you have years of good memories and (finally) stable code behind you but engagement is dropping along with your team's motivation. This talk will look at ways developers can take that old dog of a mobile F2P game, teach it big new tricks and give it a fresh lease of life. I'll delve into the risks and challenges developers face when adding new gameplay features and ways in which team leads can foster a rewarding and innovative development environment.
Narrative Experience First: Interaction Design in 'Fragments of Him'
Mata Haggis (NHTV University and Matazone)
The design of 'Fragments of Him' is 100% driven by the goal of keeping the player involved in the story. This required many small design choices to be made about how to smooth the player's experience and how to amplify the narrative with the interactions. This talk will cover the successes and failures we came up against in the development of the game, including many practical examples of topics such as reticule design and iteration, forced player movement, removing interactions to create additional immersion, and more. The session delivers many tips you can apply to improve your own games.