Nuances of Design next week.

Nuances of Design is a session I am running at the GDC next week, on Friday, February 22nd.

The idea behind this session is to let the audience play games in real time while the presenters guide them through the experience to make certain points and encourage certain observations. Because games are about interactivity and not passive absorption, it always seemed weird to me that we used passive absorption (listening to lectures) in order to communicate about games.

If you’d like to participate, please bring a laptop that can run small games well (i.e. Windows XP or Vista, though I think last year a few people managed to run with Macs and emulation), and also a pair of in-ear headphones. (With headpones like these you can stick half in one ear, to hear the game, and leave the other ear open to listen to the presenter). We will pass around USB flash drives containing the games.

This will be the second time I’ve done this session; the first one, last year, went very well.

I’m also potentially looking for one more presenter/game so if you are interested, and have a game that you don’t mind people getting copies of, which is conducive to being played in a short session, then email me (or post here). Thanks!

5 thoughts on “Nuances of Design next week.”

  1. I won’t be at GDC myself, but if you think it’s suitable you can distribute my game, Harpooned, for your audience to play.

    Get it at

    It’s a free game, around 10Mb and it runs on pretty much any Windows computer. It a fairly straightforward shoot-em-up, but it deals with the subject of Japanese whaling of endangered species in Antarctica. Rather than being an obvious protest, it’s a satire, allowing the player to take on the role of a Japanese ‘scientist’ performing research. It only takes around six minutes to finish the game so it would be quite suited to the format of play and discussion I think.

  2. I’m intrigued! But I don’t really understand the format … does the lecturer just talk as people asynchronously play the game, or does he/she try to guide their progress in a checkpoint fashion (ok, now solve this puzzle. I’m giving you 30 seconds!)
    I suppose it’s up to the presenter, but could you share more details of how it’s been done, or what you’d suggest? And how short is a ‘short session’?

    I live in Berkeley, so if you want I could potentially do Mr. Heart Loves You Very Much. (I don’t have any tickets to GDC or anything, though; hopefully someone could let me in to where-ever the session is?)

  3. The exact format depends on the game. But the core idea is to communicate things that are already in the game, and just use the words to help people see / feel what is there.

    Last year we did 4 games at 20 minutes per game (I think).

    When it comes to Mr. Heart — it depends on if there’s something you feel you can effectively communicate that people wouldn’t get just from playing the game. One of the things about that game is, it feels very simple and it communicates itself pretty well. So there would need to be a point to the talking part, you know? Anyway send me email if you want to talk about this (jon .. at ..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *