GDC + VRDC@GDC 2018 Session Scheduler

View, browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by pass type, track, and format. With this Session Scheduler, you can build your schedule in advance and access it during the show via export or with the Mobile App, once live. Sessions do fill up and seating is first come, first serve, so arrive early to sessions that you would like to attend.

Drives: Helping Players Get from First-Taste to Satisfaction

Pass Types: All Access, GDC Conference, GDC Conference + Summits - Get your pass now!
Topics: Business & Marketing, Design
Format: Lecture
Audience Level: Intermediate
Recording: TBD

Drives: those creepy, almost-chemical urges that sometimes seem to be beyond one's control: "What's in the chest?" "Why yes, I would like to complete my collection." "Ow! NOW I CRAVE VENGEANCE!"

Often, designers approach this topic with tongs and a hazmat suit, and rightfully so! Designers want to avoid triggering addiction, or manipulating their players more than they would like. That said, speaker Jason VandenBerghe will argue that drive-based experiences serve the same purpose in games as they do in life: to give the player the immediate action/reward loops needed to get them through the often-painful journey into skill development, entering a social context, and/or establishing autonomy. All successful games follow this pattern: every one.

So, drive-based experiences are the "breadcrumbs" of game design, and designers must lay a path for their players to help them move from initial taste into long-term satisfaction.

(This is the fourth talk in the poorly-named Engines of Play Trilogy.)


Attendees will walk away with a clear understanding of the role of "drives" in player engagement. They will also be presented with a concrete list of the main drives that underpin gameplay and game design, and what mechanical systems usually trigger them. This will help designers organize their design to align with their project intention, instead of simply designing via a scatter-gun approach.

Intended Audience

Designers, producers, and other game developers interested in the player's internal experience of motivation during play. Audience members should already have a passing familiarity with the basics of player motivation (SDT/PENS, Big5/Bartle/Lazarro, etc).