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Video: How to invite player creativity through game mechanics

February 13, 2019 | By Staff




How can games help players act creatively? How can game designers use the structure of their games to get someone creating pictures, building landscapes, writing poems, composing music?

Game designer Holly Gramazio hopped onstage at GDC 2017 to try and help fellow game makers answer these questions by sharing a dozen different techniques that games can use to encourage player creativity, from encouraging people indirectly through adding constraints, to mediating collaborations, to distracting them from the fact that they're being asked to make something at all.

It was a fascinating presentation that frankly examined the strengths and pitfalls of each technique, as well as examples where it's been used in existing games. Gramazio also referred back to the wider realm of analogue games and participatory and interactive arts practices, and their use of play and game to prompt creative acts.

It was the kind of talk that has something to offer game makers of almost any stripe, so if you didn't catch it at GDC make sure to watch Gramazio's talk now that it's freely available on the official GDC YouTube channel!

About the GDC Vault

In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault and its accompanying YouTube channel offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many of the recent Game Developers Conference events, and the service offers even more members-only content for GDC Vault subscribers.

Those who purchased All Access passes to recent events like GDC or VRDC already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscription via a GDC Vault subscription page. Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company by contacting staff via the GDC Vault group subscription page. Finally, current subscribers with access issues can contact GDC Vault technical support.

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