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Tuesday, October 23 • 4:00pm - 4:50pm
To Serve (For) Human Minds

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How I might describe the talk in a blurb: Unless you’re making a game that only you will play, every game you will ever work on will make more sense to you than it will to the end user. A little copy of you will not ship along with the game to navigate the player around a bug, your players will invariably wish you had created more content no matter how much you produce, and your specific sense of fun is probably applicable to a smaller percentage of the world than you realize. This talk aims to explore how to let criticism and impossible demands fuel your designs, as taught by years of computer roleplaying game development. While most relevant to game designers (as the talk will primarily explore various hits and misses of game design), the talk is intended to be philosophically applicable to developers of any discipline. Even rougher draft that’s intended purely for this application process: This talk is a sort of career-retrospective with a focus on my evolving sense of what my job actually is (vs. what I think it should be/ought to be). Having gone from a junior designer with stupidly out-of-scope ideas to a project director with the power to pulverize hopes and dreams, I’ve come to firmly believe that even if you’re not making ‘games as a service,’ you are a servant to the player. You have your job because your judgment and tastes are maybe a little better than that of the average gamer, but to think your imagination is superior (or to consider yourself immune to feedback) is how forgettable games are made. I mostly envision this talk as heavy on RPG systems/narrative design, with the binding theme being lessons of temperament that held true across multiple projects, teams, and roles. I’d go through post-mortems tidbits of various titles I’ve worked on in the last decade or so, with a focus on times where our ability to deliver a fun experience came by way of balancing that which we personally like and that which is best for game and the player.

avatar for Matt MacLean

Matt MacLean

Matt MacLean is a game designer with over fourteen years of professional experience.Most recently, Matt spent over twelve years at Obsidian Entertainment focusing on story-driven RPGs for PC and consoles.His credits includes writing and narrative design (Tyranny, Pillars of Eternity, Neverwinter... Read More →


Tuesday October 23, 2018 4:00pm - 4:50pm AEDT
ROOM 211