Video: Applying human evolutionary psychology to game design

Why are survival games so popular? At GDC 2014, Crypt of the NecroDancer dev Ryan Clark explores how we evolved as humans, why we want the things we want, and how that affects the way we play games.

What are the chances that the remarkable popularity of games like MinecraftDayZRust and Ark is directly related to the basic human desires to collect and hoard resources in order to survive?

Brace Yourself Games' Ryan Clark graduated with a degree in microbiology, and while he wound up making games for a living he's still fascinated by human psychology and the way biology affects how we think and feel.

As part of GDC 2014's Indie Soapbox, the Crypt of the NecroDancer developer took the stage to delve into how we as humans came to be who we are, why we want the things we want, and how that affects the way we play games.

It's a fascinating talk to watch if you're a game maker, because Clark offers rare perspective into how the way players behave in games (collecting, hoarding, banding together or competing for resources) reflects their basic biological imperatives.

If you missed it in person, watch it for free over on the official GDC YouTube channel.

About the GDC Vault

In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault and its new YouTube channel offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many of the recent Game Developers Conference events, and the service offers even more members-only content for GDC Vault subscribers.

Those who purchased All Access passes to recent events like GDC, GDC Europe, and GDC Next already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscription via a GDC Vault subscription page. Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company by contacting staff via the GDC Vault group subscription page. Finally, current subscribers with access issues can contact GDC Vault technical support.

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