GDC 2014 Design track talks feature Gone Home, Crusader Kings II

Conference organizers are highlighting a number of Design track talks at GDC 2014, including Steve Gaynor explaining why Gone Home is a game, a look at how Crusader Kings II fosters emergent stories, and more.
Passes for the Game Developers Conference 2014 are going fast, and today we're announcing even more sessions for the Main Conference that you'll want to check out. Today we’re showcasing some of our excellent Design track talks, part of a set of 90+ in-depth lectures, including a discussion of how Crusader Kings II is built to foster emergent narrative, a talk by The Fullbright Company's Steve Gaynor about why Gone Home qualifies as a game and how games are uniquely qualified to tell certain types of stories, plus much more. Now in its 28th year, GDC is the world's largest and longest-running professionals-only game industry event, and will once again take place at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California during March 17-21, 2014.

This is why Gone Home is a game

The Fullbright Company’s Steve Gaynor is coming to GDC 2014 to address questions -- raised in part by the success of Gone Home -- of what makes a game, how interactivity and player agency provide meaning, and what design philosophy and specific techniques the Fullbright Company used to create an interactive experience that resonated deeply with players and critics alike. Those who attend the session, provocatively titled Why Is Gone Home a Game?, should expect to learn more about how classical definitions of games and play inform modern video game design, how the design philosophy of immersive simulations can be broadly applied across genres to foster player engagement, and how a focus on accessibility can bring their games to new and vital audiences.

Uniting hearts and minds

Frank Lantz currently serves as director of the NYU Game Center, but he’s also produced games like Drop7 and Parking Wars across more than two decades of work as a professional game designer. One of his more intriguing GDC 2014 talks, Hearts and Minds, will attempt to address the connections between science and art. This talk will look at how games are made, played and talked about in order to better understand how the different ways we look at the world interact and affect the game industry. Lantz seems to be taking a very philosophical tone in this particular talk, which should appeal to anyone with an interest in the social, historical and cultural context of games.

Emergent narrative in Crusader Kings II

Cultivating emergent gameplay is a hot topic in the game industry at the moment, and designer Henrik Fahraeus is giving a talk at GDC about his experiences at Paradox designing and supporting Crusader Kings II to foster emergent narrative -- unwritten stories that play out within a game’s systems. In his talk, Emergent Stories in Crusader Kings II, Fahraeus intends to share some of the best emergent stories from Crusader Kings II, the quest for balance between narrative forms, and the vast untapped potential of this type of game. Attendees can expect to hear more about Fahraeus’ process for creating drama without a pre-defined narrative, and his belief that emergent stories can provide players with near-infinite replayability. Anyone with an interest in game design or the ways that games can tell unique stories is encouraged to attend.

More essential GDC details

Earlier GDC 2014 announcements include the news that Keiji Inafune, Yu Suzuki, and other Japanese gaming luminaries will be giving talks with live translation from localization firm 8-4, the reveal of this year’s lineup for the ‘Doing It On The Table’ board game exhibit, and the news that Irrational Games co-founder Ken Levine will be giving a GDC talk about Narrative Legos. Developers on Papa & Yo, Ryse, and Destiny will also be giving talks. All of the announced talks are now available in the online GDC 2014 Session Scheduler, where you can begin to build your conference week and later export it to the up-to-the-minute GDC Mobile App, coming soon. GDC 2014 itself will take place March 17-21, 2014 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California. You can register for the event by visiting the info page on the official GDC 2014 website. For more information on GDC 2014, visit the show's official website, or subscribe to regular updates via Facebook, Twitter, or RSS. Gamasutra and GDC are sibling organizations under parent UBM Tech

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