#GDC17 Summary of Sessions, and Links to Articles

It’s that time of year again. Join me for video game (and board game) development insights at the 2017 Game Developer Conference in San Francisco!

As every year my strategy for maximizing benefit of the conference is to choose two topics I’m weak in, and gain some understanding and/or training. This year my topics are “storytelling” and “board game design”. As it turns out, the tutorial and boot camp sessions this year have day long programs on those two exact items. Check out the following descriptions and links to in-depth articles on insights I gained this time around.

More links will become live as I have time to complete posts. Check back frequently to see what’s new!

Story Telling Fundamentals

Speaker: Evan Skolnick

This was a day long boot camp complete with group exercises. I’m going to break down the day into several posts. Around 90 percent of the talk was about narrative structure in general, with the remaining 10 percent connecting the narrative structure to game design practices. For these articles, I’ll save the game connection for my final post so that we can focus on understanding the narrative structure first.

• Story Telling 1: The Heart of It All, Conflict
• Story Telling 2: Get Our Acts Together, 3 Act Structure
• Story Telling 3: Exploring Archetypes
• Story Telling 4: Uncovering the Monomyth, Hero’s Journey
• Story Telling 5: Tips and Tools for Pacing and Tone
• Story Telling 6: Connecting It all to Game Narrative and Game Play

Board Game Design

This is the inaugural year for board game sessions at GDC. The day of talks began with a focus on the psychology involved with play, and lead into some more inspirational talks from designers. Just about every board game presentation came from developers who published a board game, but are rooted in the video game industry. During discussions of player psychology and game mechanics, the line between video and physical games blurred. That’s a good thing.

• Board Games 1: Creating the Legacy Experience (by developers of Pandemic Legacy)
• Board Games 2: The Psychology of Loss Aversion (by Geoff Engelstein of Ludology)
• Board Game 3: Mech vs. Minions (an inspirational post mortem by Chris Cantrell of Riot Games)

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