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GDC 2012 highlights Sims Social, F2P design panel, Naughty Dog talks

GDC 2012 organizers have highlighted three new sessions, featuring EA's The Sims Social, an all-star F2P design panel, and a session on Naughty Dog's approach to psychologically-led design.
As part of a continuing series of updates for the 2012 Game Developers Conference, show organizers have revealed three new sessions within the Game Design track, featuring a panel with notable speakers such as David Edery (Spry Fox) and Ben Cousins (Ngmoco Sweden), and presentations on EA's The Sims Social and Naughty Dog's approach to psychologically-led design. As part of the discipline-specific Game Design track, these talks will feature some of the industry's top designers, who will offer insight on using new technologies, designing gameplay systems, refining in-game mechanics, and much more. The sessions will take place alongside the rest of GDC 2012's Main Conference, which will be held Wednesday, March 7th to Friday, March 9th at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Those interested in checking out any of the content within the Main Conference can do so by registering for an All Access or Main Conference pass on the official GDC website passes page. The following are some of the newest lectures to be added to GDC 2012's Main Conference: - In a major panel dubbed, "Designing for Free: How Free-to-Play Games Blur the Line Between Design and Business," four talented game designers will discuss how to blend fun game design with the business needs of this emerging free-to-play model. The session will be moderated by Quarter to Three's Tom Chick, and will feature Spry Fox's David Edery (Triple Town), Ngmoco Sweden's Ben Cousins (Battlefield Play4Free), Dragon Age Legends and Civilization IV designer Soren Johnson, and LucasArts' Matthias Worch, all of whom will discuss the inherent design challenges that come with free to play games - Elsewhere, Ray Mazza, creative director at EA's Playfish, will look back at the studio's recent Facebook hit, The Sims Social (pictured). During his talk, "Life is a Social Game: Lessons Learned Bringing The Sims to Facebook," Mazza will outline how the team adapted the popular big-budget franchise to social platforms, and he will discuss the game's emphasis on player-to-player interaction, an essential factor in its eventual success. - Finally, noted Naughty Dog lead game designer Richard Lemarchand (Uncharted franchise) will discuss how to improve game design by focusing on the psychological forces that drive a player's attention. The talk, "Attention, Not Immersion: Making Your Games Better with Psychology and Playtesting, the Uncharted Way," will pick apart the overlapping phenomena of entrancement, compulsion and depth, offering insight on how to better hold a player's attention and, hopefully, make games that are more fun to play. In addition to the above talks, GDC organizers also recently debuted other Game Design talks examining the popular toy-based Skylanders, Eidos Montreal's Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and the indie strategy game and IGF 2012 finalist Frozen Synapse. For more information on these or any other sessions at GDC 2012, please check out the event's official Schedule Builder, which shows the current and growing lineup for the show so far. Also be sure to keep an eye on the official GDC news blog, which will showcase exciting new announcements for the show, in addition to this continuing series of posts pointing a spotlight at the show's most exciting, informative, and usual content. To keep up-to-date on all the latest news about GDC 2012, please subscribe to updates from the GDC news page via Twitter, Facebook, or RSS. GDC 2012 will take place March 5 through March 9 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, and is owned and operated by Gamasutra parent company UBM TechWeb.

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