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Video: Balancing accessibility against depth in game design

Witch Beam's Santana Mishra and Tim Dawson speak at GDC 2016 about how they built Assault Android Cactus to be a game that's accessible while also offering something new to hardcore shoot-em-up fans.

How do you go about making a game that's not only appealing to a specific audience, but adjustable enough that it can be enjoyed by a wide variety of people without losing what makes it special?

Earlier this year, Witch Beam's Santana Mishra and Tim Dawson took the stage at GDC 2016 to talk about how they built a game that's accessible to newcomers while offering something new to hardcore shoot-em-up fans.

In a very broad sense, they say they accomplished that by building layered systems into their shoot-em-up Assault Android Cactus that offered different goals to different players without removing the game's "arcade edge."

It was a great talk that's broadly applicable to lots of different game design projects (not just arcade shoot-em-ups), so if you missed it the first time 'round take advantage of the fact that you can now watch the entire talk 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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