Here’s how it works: a panel of ferociously talented game designers at GDC 2016 are given a strange and unusual design constraint.
In years past, notable panelists including Will Wright, Keita Takahashi, Brenda Romero, Alexei Pajitnov & Warren Spector have been challenged to design things like humanity's last game, or a game that's also a religion.
This year the challenge is to design a game that is meant to be played across 30 years – that’s 11,000 days, or 250,000 hours, or 15 million minutes... A full human generation.
Why 30 years? Game designers too often think about only the next technology cycle. Designers in other fields - from architects to typeface designers - think of their audiences in terms of decades or even centuries. So what happens when designers take the long view?
Game designer, NYU professor and GameLab co-founder Eric ZImmerman will once again serve as MC for this year's Game Design Challenge, which features panelists from across the game industry:
- Chris Crawford earned a Master of Science degree in Physics from the University of Missouri in 1975. He has published fifteen computer games and five books. He created the first periodical on game design, the Journal of Computer Game Design, in 1987. He founded and served as Chairman of the Computer Game Developers’ Conference, now known as the Game Developers Conference. Crawford has given hundreds of lectures at conferences and universities around the world, and published dozens of magazine articles and academic papers. He served as computer system designer and observer for the 1999 and 2002 NASA Leonid MAC airborne missions. His current work concerns interactive storytelling technology.
- Nina Freeman is a level designer at Fullbright in Portland, Oregon. She is working on their current game, Tacoma. In her personal work, she is most often making vignette games based on her own life stories. She worked as a designer on IGF nominee "how do you Do It?" and IGF Student Honorable Mention "Ladylike." She designed the recently released "Cibele," a game about an online relationship created by Star Maid Games.
- Zach Gage is a game designer, programmer, educator, and conceptual artist from NYC. His work often explores the powerful intersection of systems and social dynamics, through both interrogating existing systems in digital spaces, and framing entirely new systems through games. In the world of games, he's best known for Sage Solitaire, SpellTower, Ridiculous Fishing, and Lose/Lose.
- Laralyn McWilliams is an award-winning game designer with more than twenty years of experience across an unusually diverse range of audiences, platforms and genres. She was Creative Director for the ground-breaking MMO Free Realms, which the New York Times called "a triumph of the company’s own reinvention." She was also Lead Designer for the critically acclaimed Full Spectrum Warrior, the most nominated game of E3 2003. She was on Gamasutra’s list of the Top Game Developers of 2014, and shared the top spot in Massive Online Gaming's 2010 list of the Top 20 Most Influential People in MMOs. She was also on Beckett's list of the top women in MMOs for 2010, and was one of Gamasutra's 20 most influential women in games.
So attend GDC and come to see what strange and wonderful designs our panelists cook up. Plus, you may well help select the winner of the 2016 Game Design Challenge!
What's more, new sessions will continue to be announced for GDC 2016 in the coming months. Stay tuned, and don't miss the opportunity to save money by registering for the conference early -- the deadline to register for passes at a discounted rate is Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016.
GDC 2016 itself will take place March 14-18th at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. For more information on GDC 2016, visit the show's official website, or subscribe to regular updates via Facebook, Twitter, or RSS.
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