|    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.

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Emergent Stories in Crusader Kings II
Henrik Fahraeus (Paradox Development Studio)
"Emergent gameplay" is still a buzzword in the field of game design, and it remains an enticing idea because it is the key to near infinite replayability. An important subset of the concept is "emergent narrative," that is, the unwritten stories that appear out of the simulation itself. This talk explores the (often bloody) emergent stories of the open-ended strategy RPG Crusader Kings II, the quest for balance between narrative forms, and the vast untapped potential of this type of game. Can emergent stories ever be as immersive as written stories? The experiences gained during the development and life cycle of Crusader Kings II might point the way.
Developing UX Practices at Epic Games
Celia Hodent (Epic Games)
User experience has become very trendy in the gaming industry, and an increasing number of studios want to create an internal UX team, sometimes even with a staff psychologist. When that new team comes together, however, they are often perceived as fighting against the design team. In reality, their role is to empower the designers to form true hypotheses (rather than subjective opinions) using knowledge in psychology that can be validated through a rigorous methodology. This talk will cover how UX practices are developed at Epic games - as a tool for the studio to help achieve their design intentions faster.
I, Outsider
Brenda Romero (Romero Games / UC Santa Cruz)
Inside the game industry, we praise the outsiders and applaud their tremendous innovation, whimsy and creativity. We crave the freedom we perceive they have. Yet, outside the game industry, those who push the boundaries often feel quite alone, not certain if their ideas are worthwhile or worthless. They have neither parallel nor peer and crave the validation that comes from being inside. Inside wants out, outside wants in. In this talk, Romero explores this paradox, the struggle for self-validation and acceptance, and considers an inside/out outside/in path that works for all.
Fun or Frustration: Game Balance Pitfalls and Recipes
Maciej Szczesnik (11 bit studios)
Balancing game difficulty, pacing and progress can be a horror, and game designers often fear this stage of the project. Their whole work can be wasted if this last task fails. We all know that game balance can make or break the whole experience. This talk will present the problems and pitfalls that Maciej has encountered while working on The Witcher RPGs and other titles. The talk will highlight methods and guidelines that solve these problems and will you help balance your games.
The Importance of Everything: A Crash Course in Design-Related Analytics
Jim Brown (Epic Games)
Information is now everywhere. If you work for a large company or a publisher, someone is going to come to you with analytics, and you need to be able to understand them in order make proper use of them. As a student or indie developer, you're not excluded: you'll see reports online, in industry news, and you'll get feedback from your fans and your playtests. Understanding the basic framework of analytics will help you determine, for yourself, what the value of this information really is and how it can be used improve your design process.
League of Legends: An Outsiders Analysis
Teut Weidemann (Ubisoft Blue Byte)
As an F2P specialist, it's one of the tasks of Teut Weidemann to analyze the competition's successful F2P games. In this case, the biggest online game of the world is being analyzed: how it works, why it works and spiced with numbers.

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