Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Design Talks

I occasionally get the opportunity to speak publicly about game design, an opportunity I am grateful.  Preparing for these talks often involves a lot of introspection about my design process, and I enjoy sharing those thoughts and comparing them with others.

  • "Level Design: An Overview" - GlitchCon Minnesota 2014
    • I appeared at the University of Minnesota as a guest speaker for GlitchCon, where I presented a talk about the core skills essential in any level designer, as well as providing a detailed overview of the iterative approach we take to level design at Bethesda.  The talk was streamed and can be viewed online here.
  • "Skyrim's Modular Level Design" - GDC 2013
    • Along with longtime co-worker and environment artist Nathan Purkeypile, I presented this talk which explored the details of our modular kit-building system for level design on Skyrim, which evolved from the legacy of previous Bethesda Game Studios titles.  Although our videotaped appearance at GDC was corrupted, but a transcript of the talk is available on this site.
  • "Level Design Workshop" - GDC China 2012
    • I organized an all-day tutorial session for GDC China in 2012, joined by Matthew Scott of Valve and Steve Gaynor of the Fullbright Compay.  We covered fundamental topics and shared our insights regarding level design layout, pacing and narrative.  This multi-hour session was not recorded, but slides can be found here.
  • "Motivating Players: Remix" - FIEA 2012
    • I returned to FIEA in 2012 and gave an updated version of my 2011 GDC talk about player motivation.  This version of the talk includes examples from Skyrim, which had only just been announced when I gave the original talk.  Slides are here, and a full video is provided by FIEA as well.
  • "Talking Shop: A Modding Panel" - QuakeCon 2012
    • I appeared at QuakeCon with Matthew Scott and Chet Faliszek of Valve to discuss the many reasons our two companies have placed a focus on empowering players through modding support.  This came after our collaboration with Valve on the Steam Workshop implementation for Skyrim, the first non-Valve game to do so.  The full video of this panel can be found online.
  • "Pursuing Elegance" - GDC 2012
    • I attempted to cover a topic that I've often struggled with - how to balance the creative and technical sides of the creative process when developing games, which what I hope are practical examples of how to walk that line.  Slides are here, and a transcript is hosted on this site.
  • "Motivating Players" - GDC 2011
    • For the second year of Level Design in a Day, I chose to focus on how we attempt to keep players engaged in large-scale, open world games like those we focus on at Bethesda.  Slides are available here, and a full transcript of the talk can be found on this site.
  • "World of Design" - QuakeCon 2010
    • In this panel talk, I was joined by designers from id, Splash Damage and Infinity Ward. I was given the chance to talk to QuakeCon attendees about Bethesda's approach to building worlds with a sense of place.  Gamespot covered the panel in a highlights video.
  • "Level Designer, Storyteller" - GDC 2010
    • The first of what became a GDC tradition, Level Design in a Day sessions collect several designers from across the industry to talk about what issues are on their minds.  My topic in 2010 was the role of level design in storytelling.  Slides are available here.

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