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Use the GDC 2021 Session Viewer to browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by day, time, pass type, topic, and format. All registered attendees will be able to build their personal schedule directly within the event platform, once live early July 2021. All times are listed in Pacific Time.

Free to Play Summit: The Game Designer's Notebook

Valentina Tamer  (Narrative Designer, Ubisoft)

Eva Grillova  (Senior Game Designer, SocialPoint)

Tim Nixon  (Director of Online Experience, thatgamecompany)

Date: Tuesday, July 20

Time: 9:40am - 10:40am

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass

Topic: Free to Play

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

There are many game design topics that don't require an hour to discuss, but can be useful, especially for experienced game designers, as quick deep dives or punchy bits of food for thought. The Game Designer’s Notebook asks seasoned game designers to open up a few pages from their notebook, and share insights and explorations into contemporary design issues in the F2P game design arena. Part microtalk, part design review, the GDN is the session at the GDC F2P Summit where game designers get to jump in, go deep and jump out. This year’s session will offer an expose of the challenges faced by That Game Company’s Sky as they moved their design focus from AAA to F2P, an exploration into different ways to work narrative into F2P Live Operations from one of Ubisoft's Narrative Designers, and a rapid fire deconstruction of everybody’s favorite 2019 arrow shooting mobile puzzler Archero.


Attendees will walk away with three "quick hits" from three different perspectives, offering them a glimpse into the notebooks of three industry experts. They should leave armed with insights, better informed and inspired and curious to explore new avenues, try new things in new ways in free-to-play game design.

Intended Audience

This session is intended for anyone interested in the overlap between the creative decision making of product design and the constraints of the free to play business model. Anyone who likes to go deep into the minds and notebooks of other game designers or who is curious about exploring the dramatic arena where game design meets monetization constraints of free to play.