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Use the GDC 2021 Session Viewer to browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by pass type, topic, and format. You will be able to build your personal schedule directly within the event platform, once live early July 2021.

No Buttons? No Problem: Designing Buttonless VR Games

Melanie Harke  (Senior Game Designer, Schell Games)

Addie Anderson  (Game Designer, Schell Games)

Miriam Harries  (Game Designer, Schell Games)

Shawn Patton  (Principal Game Designer, Schell Games)

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass

Topic: VR/AR

Format: Session

Vault Recording: TBD

Audience Level: N/A: I would like to deliver a virtual presentation only

Can you make a VR game with no buttons? Should you? Is the world ready for a VR game without controllers? Without buttons? Can you put buttons in your "buttonless" game? Explore the complications and advantages of designing VR games without buttons through the lens of two Schell Games VR projects involving controllers with no buttons. This talk is a deep dive into the process of testing multiple methods of giving clear feedback to the player, picking up and putting down tools, freely manipulating objects, selecting from sets of items, one handed controls, and IK hands / dynamic finger poses.


Learn about the challenges and discoveries made by two Schell Games teams when designing VR games for controllers without buttons. This talk will discuss the accessibility and freedom gained from not having buttons as well as the challenges of providing adequate feedback without physical buttons or haptics.

Intended Audience

Virtual Reality developers interested in hand tracking, accessibility, or designing for new-to-VR players.