GDCVault is one of the best learning resources for those who want to make games. Each GDCVault video session is between 30 minutes to 1 hour long. The speakers are game development industry leaders who've most probably worked on a game that you love. In these sessions, they share fascinating insights into why they made their games the way they did, the mistakes they made, how you can avoid making them too and advice for aspiring game makers.
But this treasure trove of knowledge is kind of useless, unless you commit to keeping time aside to absorb the information packed into each talk. That's why I started the 'GDCVault Game Design Screening' sessions in Zynga Studio-I. Every Monday, at 6 PM sharp I screen one or two talks. During and after each talk all the attending designers and PMs have a discussion as to how we can incorporate the learnings from each session into the design of our games.
My interests are inclined towards the ‘Design’ track. This includes primarily Narrative, Design, Game Design, System Design, Indie Development and Free to Play talks.
Some talks are free, while others are ‘Members Only’. To access ‘Members Only’ sessions, you need to purchase a one year subscription to the GDCVault. Though the “Members Only’ videos are behind a paywall, all sessions' presentations are always free on the GDCVault website. Use the search field on the top right to find a 'Members Only' session link's presentation link.
Recently, they’ve also been uploading popular talks directly onto their YouTube channel. Do subscribe to that too - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0JB7TSe49lg56u6qH8y_MQ/featured
Here are my tips for getting the most out of these talks –
Schedule and keep time aside for watching these talks
Always bring a notepad and keep taking notes
Try watching with a group and discuss
After a few months, go back and review the notes you took during a past session
Here are the links of the 31 video sessions I recommend Game Designers see -
Session Name - AI-driven Dynamic Dialog through Fuzzy Pattern Matching. Empower Your Writers!
Speaker - Elan Ruskin
Company Name - Valve Corporation
Session Name - Darkest Dungeon: A Design Postmortem
Speaker - Tyler Sigman
Company Name - Red Hook Studios
Session Name - Skill, Matchmaking, and Ranking Systems Design
Speaker - Josh Menke
Company Name - Activision Publishing
Session Name - Twenty Years, Twenty Lessons
Speaker - Mark Rosewater
Company Name - Wizards of the Coast
Session Name - Rami Ismail to indie startups: You Don't Stand a Chance
Speaker - Rami Ismail
Company Name – Vlambeer
Session Name - "Luck in Games" talk at ITU Copenhagen
Speaker - Richard Garfield
Session Name - Storytime with Jonathan Blow at PAX East 2016
Speaker - Jonathan Blow
Session Name - Idle Chatter: What We Can Learn From Self-Playing Games
Speaker - Anthony Pecorella
Company Name - Kongregate
Session Name - Conference Keynote: Shigeru Miyamoto
Speaker - Shigeru Miyamoto
Company Name - Nintendo Co. Ltd.
Session Name - “Method”: Mark Cerny
Speaker – Mark Cerny
Session Name - Overwatch - The Elusive Goal: Play by Sound
Speakers - Scott Lawlor, Tomas Neumann
Company Name - Blizzard Entertainment
Session Name - Forget Protagonists: Writing NPCs with Agency for '80 Days' and Beyond
Speaker - Meg Jayanth
Session Name - FRAMED: A Recipe for Critical Success
Speaker - Joshua Boggs
Company Name - Loveshack
Session Name - Design by Constraints: Hitman GO Design Postmortem
Speaker - Daniel Lutz
Company Name - Square Enix Montreal
Session Name - A Course About Game Balance
Speaker - Ian Schreiber
Company Name - Rochester Institute of Technology
Session Name - King of Thieves': Designing a F2P Game that's Different
Speaker - Eugene Yailenko
Company Name - ZeptoLab
Session Name - Balancing Your Game: A Formula-Driven Approach
Speaker - Brian Davis
Company Name - Wooga GmbH
Session Name - Be Spiky: A Decade of New Ideas
Speaker - Jamie Cheng
Company Name - Klei Entertainment
Session Name - Narrative Legos
Speaker - Ken Levine
Company Name - Irrational Games
Session Name - Choice, Consequence and Complicity
Speaker - Alexis Kennedy
Company Name - Failbetter Games
Session Name - Dynamic Stories for Dynamic Games: Six Ways to Give Each Player a Unique Narrative
Speaker - Richard Rouse III
Company Name - Paranoid Productions
Session Name - Making Moves: Designing Spartan Abilities for 'Halo 5: Guardians'
Speaker - Ryan Darcey
Company Name - 343 Industries
Session Name Change and Constant: Breaking Conventions with 'The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild'
Speakers - Takuhiro Dohta, Hidemaro Fujibayashi, Satoru Takizawa
Company Name – Nintendo
Session Name Quest for the Healthy Metagame: Balancing Cards in 'Clash Royale'
Speaker - Stefan Engblom
Company Name - Supercell
Session Name Classic Game Postmortem: 'Sid Meier's Civilization'
Speakers - Sid Meier, Bruce Shelley
Company Name - Firaxis Games, Independent
Session Name Playtesting: Avoiding Evil Data
Speaker - Adriaan de Jongh
Session Name - 'Mini Metro': When Less is More
Speaker - Jamie Churchman
Session Name - Rewards in Video Games
Speaker - Travis Day
Company Name - Blizzard Entertainment
Session Name - Absolutely No Pressure: Continuing a Successful Game Series with 'Civilization VI'
Speaker - Ed Beach
Company Name - Firaxis Games
Session Name - Systems Make Statements: Simulations and Intentional Design
Speaker - Elizabeth Sampat
Company Name - PopCap Games
Session Name Interviewing for Game Design
Speaker - Richard Carrillo
Company Name - Ubisoft Toronto
I also post which talks we will be watching in Zynga on Twitter. So, if you want to find stay up to date with which sessions we are seeing, just follow me @abhayram!
A few months later, I will be following up on this post with a part 2.