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'Crashlands': Design by Chaos


Seth Coster (Founder & CEO, Butterscotch Shenanigans)

Location: Room 2006, West Hall

Date: Wednesday, March 21

Time: 11:00am - 11:30am

Pass Type: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Conference - Get your pass now!

Topic: Design

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: All

Award-winning studio Butterscotch Shenanigans uses a bottom-up design method to build all of their games, ranging from tiny jam projects to 2-year mega-projects. This approach has allowed them to cut out the overhead of design documents, instead allowing the game to design itself through a series of constrained, directed iterations. Through bottom-up design, Butterscotch Shenanigans has discovered its most iconic characters, mechanics, and worlds; none of which were premeditated. In this talk, Seth Coster, the studio's co-designer and lead game programmer, will break down this approach and discuss the implications for project and team management.


Attendees will leave with a new perspective on designing games that will allow for rapid development, more freedom over project direction, and more creative control for team members.

Intended Audience

No prerequisites. Anyone working as part of a small studio will gain substantial practical insights from this talk. Though less applicable to large teams, such individuals will still be able to apply many of the lessons from this talk to their projects.