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Sunday, October 8 • 3:00pm - 3:50pm
Putting the cart in front of the horse - How custom tools can drive design

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Everyone agrees that having good tools is crucial for game development. In my talk, I will go even further and show how it can be a powerful way to drive and evolve game design throughout development. I will cover lessons learnt from three very different game projects.
The first one being building the level-editing toolset at Starbreeze, used to develop several AAA-titles such as the cinematic FPS games Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay (2004) and The Darkness (2007). Here, we implemented a number of unique integrated systems into our general level-design tool that allowed us to experiment with innovative designed ideas, like pre-recording physics simulations and using dynamic lights in gameplay (something that wasn't very common in 2004).
The second example is the game/tool hybrid Colors! 3D (2012) where the line between game and tool is non-existent, and how game design philosophies can, and should, be applied when developing internal tools.
Finally, we have our current game Yoku’s Island Express, where we have a novel approach to a huge seamless side-scrolling world using custom live editing tools in combination with external tools like Adobe Photoshop. This all returns back to the initial point: How tools can encourage the team to make better use of existing game-mechanics that might be underused. Championing the idea that the extra effort put into making your tools fun, rather than just useful, leads your team into using them more creatively and ultimately leading to better games.

avatar for Jens Andersson

Jens Andersson

Jens Andersson is a game designer and programmer working in the games industry. Educated by the underground demo-scene as a member of groups like Yodel and TBL, Jens became one of the founding members of Swedish game developer Starbreeze in 1998. There he held multiple key roles within... Read More →

Sunday October 8, 2017 3:00pm - 3:50pm PDT
((MAIN)) Araki Education Center