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.

Writing Modular Characters for System-Driven Games


Tanya X. Short (Director, Kitfox Games)

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

Topic: Design

Format: Session

Vault Recording: TBD

Audience Level: Intermediate

Making the paradigm shift from linear to system-driven thinking can be difficult, especially when it comes to delivering good writing. Using examples from the speaker's own system-driven writing ('Moon Hunters', 'The Shrouded Isle'), as well as from games like 'Civilization', 'Darkest Dungeon', 'Dwarf Fortress', or the 'Middle-Earth' series, this talk will explore ways modular thinking can help your storytelling, diving deep into character writing specifically as a metaphor for all system-driven writing. "Orthogonality" proves the name of the game, in terms of character traits, in how those traits express themselves, and even figuring out how to prioritize many types of character information. This session will define the tools that are available to narrative designers to help your player find both satisfaction and surprise in your rich yet responsive world.


Attendees will be better-equipped to create and write content for system-driven games, including attention to narrative design, writing, and production considerations.

Intended Audience

Game writers who feel uncomfortable or nervous about moving from simple choice-based plots or quests into more system-driven game writing situations. Someone who has written at least a game or two will benefit most from the material. However, no deeply technical knowledge will be required.