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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.

Game Narrative Summit: Connected Worlds: Building Dynamic Storyworlds Using Network Theory

Gerben Grave  (Narrative Designer, Multiverse Narratives)

Date: Tuesday, July 20

Time: 10:50am - 11:20am

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass

Topic: Game Narrative

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: N/A: I prefer to present live on-site but I am open to delivering a virtual presentation

Worldbuilding is one of the most fun aspects of creating games. Yet, as worlds grow in size and complexity, they can become unmanageable. Story bibles or wikis turn into disheartening labyrinths and narrative designers are trapped between its walls of text.

In this session, Gerben Grave shares his worldbuilding method of using network theory to craft complex yet accessible story worlds that are dynamic, engaging, and coherent. The practical lecture will prove the method's value using examples from game such as Skyrim and The Return Of The Obra Dinn, but Gerben will also show how the Marvel Cinematic Universe uses a similar approach to introducing new characters and how it builds on existing layers already established in the storyworld.

Learn how to read story worlds using network theory, thus revealing what a world's key components are and which parts could be improved.


Attendees learn a new approach to build dynamic worlds filled with meaningful characters and conflict. The method presented in the lecture is practical and no-nonsense. Existing storyworlds can be enhanced with this method, or new game worlds can be created by using the method from the start.

Intended Audience

Narrative designers will benefit the most from this lecture. Game writers and designers may also gain new insights by thinking of their storyworld as a network.