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Gamedesign / Story [clear filter]
Monday, August 3


Artificial Way Systems in 3D Isometric Games like Drakensang – Online
The topic of this Session is how to create way, maps and level structures in 3D Isometric Games like "Drakensang – Online”. To create such a perspective generates some problems and demands first decisions in Art, Gamedesign, Story and programming. These simple problems are e.g. hiding objects by other objects and the readability of silhouettes from top to bottom with cutting highs. Another topic is Details vs Emptiness, what is the right way to illustrate a such game. Must be there a separation of level space between gameplay and narrative? Furthermore the question, how to create an intuitive leading of players in such a weighted perspective! To give an answer to these problems we must look on the basic elements of way and our perception. What is a "way"? What is, if a way is broken or crossed by other ways? How we are able to recognize or lose our way? And how can we illustrate, tell, communicate this to the player. If we know the answers of these questions, then we can make a better decisions in creation artificial ways in our games.

avatar for Florian Busse

Florian Busse

Senior Level Designer, GIANTS Software GmbH
I hold a master degree in Animation from the University of HFF – University for Film and Television, Potsdam/Babelsberg. I develop myself to an senior 3D environment modeler. My other experiences include texturing, drawing, sculpting, visual storytelling, and game design. During... Read More →

Monday August 3, 2015 10:00am - 11:45am
Respawn Stage 5 - Classroom


Mechanics VS Narrative
There are two basic ways of launching into development of a game -- with a narrative or metaphor as a starting point or with a gameplay mechanic. Whichever you choose it greatly influences your development process. In a structured discussion we explore the following questions:
How is the process sliced? Which phases can be identified?
What comes first? Well, does anything come first?
How do you plan for emergent gameplay vs arced stories?
What are the main problems and chances of both approaches?
Does one or the other suit itself better for certain types of games?

avatar for Gunnar Lott

Gunnar Lott

Managing Director, Visibility Communications
Gunnar Lott was a well-known games journalist from 1998 to 2007. He started as a trainee and went on to become Editor-in-Chief of GameStar, then the world's biggest PC-Gaming magazine. He founded and led two other mags, GamePro Germany and Making Games (a publication for game developers).In... Read More →

avatar for Riad Djemili

Riad Djemili

Co-Founder, Code & Design, Maschinen-Mensch
Riad Djemili is the co-founder of Berlin indie game company Maschinen-Mensch. Their debut title The Curious Expedition, a fantastical expedition simulation game set in the 19th century, was released in 2015 on Steam Early Access and nominated for the DCP, the most prestigious German... Read More →
avatar for Reynald Francois

Reynald Francois

Creative Director, Ubisoft Blue Byte
Since Reynald joined the industry in the 00’s, he’s done a bit of everything. He worked on MMOs, console titles, mobile games, wrote for a TV animation series and comic books, did some anchoring on TV, was editor of his own games magazine or worked on physical game things like... Read More →
avatar for Martin Ganteföhr

Martin Ganteföhr

Interactive Writer | Designer | Director
Martin Ganteföhr studied literature and linguistics, but turned towards storytelling in games in 1996. For nearly two decades, he has been working as writer, designer and director in the interactive industry. In 1998, Ganteföhr co-founded House of Tales Entertainment, the first... Read More →
avatar for Andreas Suika

Andreas Suika

Evangelist, Epic Games
Andreas started his career more than 13 years ago at Blue Byte and worked there in different positions. As Tester, Data Wizard and Level Designer he had the chance to work on products like Battle Isle and Settlers 4. Settlers 5 and Settlers 6 he attended as Lead Game Designer. As... Read More →

Monday August 3, 2015 12:00pm - 12:45pm
Respawn Stage 1


Narratification or: How classical storytelling damages your game
The talk will make the case for narratification rather than classical storytelling as the right way to create immersive and emotionally involving stories in games. Classical storytelling, produced top-down based on a game’s setting, more often than not creates a ludo-narrative dissonance, a disconnect between the told story and what the player experiences while playing the game.

The answer to this problem is a bottom-up approach, where a story is developed right from the gameplay. This approach is called narratification, a process of creating and implementing narrative elements that will render game narratives more intentional, reflective of the game as an art form, the gameplay patterns used in the actual game – and the way an individual is playing the game.

The talk will give examples of both approaches to show the different results.

avatar for Wolfgang Walk

Wolfgang Walk

Owner, Walk Game Productions
After a career as a student of many subjects and manager of a discotheque, Wolfgang Walk turned his hobby, computer games, into a profession in the mid-1990s and joined Blue Byte as a story designer and project manager. Since then, he has been trying to grasp what he is working on... Read More →

Monday August 3, 2015 2:00pm - 2:45pm
Respawn Stage 2


Dynamic Composition and Storytelling in Video Games
The success of storytelling in games depends on the entire development team—game designers, artists, writers, programmers and musicians—working harmoniously together towards a singular artistic vision. However, the medium of video games is so young that we’ve yet to realise an equivalent to music notation. 

Chris’ talk will offer development teams a common design language to help shape their video game masterpieces. Examples from films and animations will illustrate the do's and don'ts of using this language for orchestrating the core components of their games to create complex stories and sophisticated aesthetic experiences.

avatar for Chris Solarski

Chris Solarski

Author & Artist Game Designer, Solarski Studio
Chris Solarski is an artist game designer and author of Drawing Basics and Video Game Art: Classic to Cutting Edge Art Techniques for Winning Video Game Design, which has been translated into Japanese and Korean.He is interested in the intersections between video games and classical... Read More →

Monday August 3, 2015 4:00pm - 4:45pm
Respawn Stage 2


“Growing balls” - transforming an indie studio from Premium to F2P in three games

When Paladin Studios embarked on a journey to create their premium game “Momonga”, they didn’t know it would be the first in a series of 3D mobile games with ball physics. It eventually even kickstarted the transition from a Premium to a F2P-design oriented studio. In the unique format of doing post-mortems of Paladin’s last three games in one session, Zirm compares how mechanics, designs and monetization evolved. He outlines the iterations the projects went through and shows how reality is a kick in the nuts sometimes.

Zirm shares lessons learned on how Paladin had to grow up as a studio to make the transition from Premium to F2P, how effective game monetization is more than just adding In-App Purchases, how a lot of free to play mechanics go against a game designer's instinct and how Yoda was right when he said “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” The session is spiced up with practical tips, anecdotes and the world-exclusive preview of Paladin Studios’ newest (ball) game.

avatar for Johannes Zirm

Johannes Zirm

Product Manager, Paladin Studios
  Johannes Zirm’s youth was spent on building treehouses or playing games, depending on the weather. He has a Master of Art and Design degree from Bauhaus-University Weimar and a Master of Arts (Literature) degree from the Tongji University Shanghai. Over the last six years, he... Read More →

Monday August 3, 2015 4:00pm - 4:45pm
Respawn Stage 3
Tuesday, August 4


The art and business of storytelling
This session will take an unusual view on storytelling seeing it from two completely different directions. First a philosophical and historical view on why story for human beings is such an essential part of our life and how everything in our world is structured through stories. Secondly how story is also at the core of a multi-billion dollar entertainment industry and why even the biggest brands in the world rely on story. Nowadays one often debated question is if story is threatened by play, spectacle and technical innovations more than it was at the time of Shakespeare. And if so, does this mean that the entertainment industry at large is playing a dangerous game with her audience? In either case, in the gap between play and story lies an answer to the question why the games industry struggles so hard with story and how games can deal with story in a more natural and emotional engaging way.

avatar for Benjamin Feld

Benjamin Feld

Director Digital // Vice Managing Director, Mixtvision Mediengesellschaft mbH
Benjamin is working in the media industry for over a decade and has a track record of developing and producing successful formats for different media. He worked as a producer for companies like Super RTL and EM.Entertainment and was Head of Interactive at Studio 100 Media before joining... Read More →

Tuesday August 4, 2015 10:00am - 10:45am
Respawn Stage 3


How To Design Fairer Games IAP
Effective game monetization is about more than just throwing In-App Purchase (IAP) items into your game and hoping for the best. Today, too many Free2Play developers have left their players feeling uncomfortable about spending money through poor game design: so much so that for many gamers, avoiding paying has become half of the fun. The problem is too many game designers fail to appreciate that players don't buy IAP just because they "like" our games - they buy because they expect future value in our games. And in order to maximize this sense of value, even our IAP-related design choices must be geared towards enhancing our players' desire to continue playing our game. Lifetime Value (LTV) is about focusing on the lifetime of the player, not just how much money we can extract from then in the short term. This tale will explore what influences our players' decisions to keep playing and spend money in games by focusing on their delight using effective game design techniques that deepen player engagement. Join me to learn how you can approach IAPs more creatively and to build more effective monetization while still respecting (and not angering) your players.

avatar for Oscar Clark

Oscar Clark

Evangelist (Co-founder RocketLolly Games), Unity3d.com
Oscar Clark is an Author, Consultant and Evangelist for Everyplay from Unity Technologies. He has been a pioneer in online, mobile and console social games services since 1998. He provided 'vision' for one of the first Online games communities (Wireplay - British Telecom); was global... Read More →

Tuesday August 4, 2015 11:00am - 11:45am
Respawn Stage 2


Smart Tutorials: Teaching by design
Smart Tutorials: Teaching by design

Creating a good game tutorial is essential to bringing people into a game but it is also one of the most difficult things to do. Making the tutorial for mushroom 11 was a challenging task. With its new mechanics and controls, the game had to teach players the basics, such as moving, shaping and splitting, before ramping the difficulty up. The developers chose to avoid text and hand-holding almost entirely, in favor of using puzzles to teach first time players. Julia will go over these puzzles, demonstrate their design and evolution, and discuss the lessons they learned (and relearned) as designers.

avatar for Untame


Game Developer, Untame
We are a small indie household studio based out of Brooklyn NY and we have been working on award-winning Mushroom 11 for several years. Mushroom 11 is a game where you control a green fungus like mushroom by destroying it. For each part destroyed, it grows back so it always has the... Read More →

Tuesday August 4, 2015 3:00pm - 3:45pm
Respawn Stage 2


Mobile Devices and Disabled Gamers
20% of gamers have some kind of disability, and many mobile gamers also encounter situational impairments, such as playing in direct sunlight, or holding onto a handrail on the underground. Small screens and touch interfaces bring some accessibility barriers and solutions that are specific to mobile devices. This session will share insights on what accessibility and disability actually mean and why they are important. It will also share some easy mobile-specific considerations you can make in your own games, and the human and business impact that they can bring.

avatar for Ian Hamilton

Ian Hamilton

Accessibility specialist, IHDC
Ian’s background is from both gaming and web products at the BBC, where he became involved with accessibility, in particular for preschoolers with profound motor and cognitive impairments. He now works in the wider industry on both advocacy and consultancy, working with developers... Read More →

Tuesday August 4, 2015 4:00pm - 4:45pm
Respawn Stage 4


Together we are less alone - Building lovely communities by bringing Local Multiplayer Games to Public Spaces

The past generation of consoles almost killed a social phenomenon that made gaming big in the first place: playing games together with friends on  the same couch, in the same room. Most multiplayer games for Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 connected friends via the net, not the same screen.
It became a rare opportunity to sit, play and talk. In the meantime, a new trend of game design from the indie game scene arose: “Local Multiplayer Games”. These games such as Nidhogg, Gang Beasts or Towerfall are based on two core principles: they are accessible also for casual gamers and they are fun to watch. Designed by rules ofsocial interaction, these games - celebrating the community of players - raise a new paradigm of playing together, open up chances for games as public events and support social interaction not only in private living rooms, but also in bars (like the Nidhogg bar events in NYC), at festivals (like the A MAZE. events), in semi-public forums on the internet (like the Let's Play genre on YouTube) and in new places like cinemas (like the Game <3 Cinema event series).
What does this mean for concepts of games and spaces? What new ways of interacting with individuals and society become possible by this? And how can we benefit as designers and game enthusiasts?

The talk shares a vision of games as public interaction and thinks about new approaches on how to make games social events, not only with friends but also with society.

avatar for Silja Rheingans

Silja Rheingans

Organizer of People and Things, International Games Week
Wanting to be a singer, a journalist, an author, a coder, a game designer, and several other things that little girls dream of, Silja studied way too long and ended up being none of it. Instead she became the Organizer of People and Things: Connecting community & project management... Read More →

Tuesday August 4, 2015 4:00pm - 4:45pm
Respawn Stage 5 - Classroom