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View, browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by day, time, pass type, topic, and format. With this Session Viewer, you can view session and speaker details for Game Developers Conference 2024.

You will be able to build your schedule with the GDC Mobile App. The GDC 2024 app will be available for download in Apple Apps and Google Play late February 2024.

Sessions do fill up and seating is first come, first serve, so arrive early to sessions that you would like to attend. Adding a session to your schedule does not guarantee you a seat.

Independent Games Summit: Challenging or Approachable? Pick Two

John Austin  (Founder, Pontoco)

Location: Room 2009, West Hall

Date: Monday, March 18

Time: 4:40 pm - 5:10 pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass, Indie Games Summit Pass - Get your pass now!

Topic: Independent Games

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: All

You've probably heard this debate before. It's a common belief that challenge and approachability are incompatible – that making a game more challenging inherently makes a game less approachable. And yet, we *can* have both! In fact, many recent indie hits are successful precisely because they thread this needle.

In this talk, John Austin will break this problem down on a (not too) theoretical level and build a framework we can use to talk about difficulty in games. In the second half, he will explore concrete strategies and case studies from recent indie games that we can leverage to adjust approachability in our games – without compromising on challenge or the inherent vision of the game.


Attendees will take away a framework for thinking about difficulty and approachability in game design, as well as a set of strategies for building approachable games without compromising on challenge.

Intended Audience

This is an entry-level talk intended for anyone interested in game design within the scope of indie game development.

Connecting the Global Game Development Community

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