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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.

'Spiritfarer's' Journey: Crafting Tenderness

Nicolas Guerin  (Creative Director, Thunder Lotus)

Date: Wednesday, July 21

Time: 1:20pm - 2:20pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass

Topic: Design

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: I acknowledge GDC 2021 is an all-digital event and commit to participating virtually.

"Spiritfarer's journey: Designing for Kindness" is first and foremost a reflection on the specific design approach used to create Spiritfarer, and how crafting game mechanics intended as a wholesome message presented a dizzying and unique challenge.

Alternating between stories of peculiar design discoveries and intents, and tales from the rocky road of an indie developer towards shipping a game and trying their best to make sure players would know about it and be interested in playing it, this presentation is also a retrospective on the project's development as a whole, underlining how a team of 15 people could survive shipping a very ambitious game on 7 platforms during a global pandemic.


I believe that the main takeaway would be a slightly different outlook on the reasons and logic behind game mechanics, beyond the standard challenge and rewards loops and structures.
Also, as both a personal and emotional tale, I hope this presentation will encourage developers to put more of themselves in the games they make and embrace their vulnerability as artists.

Intended Audience

This lecture is aimed in general at designers who want to incorporate elements of "purpose" in their craft.
Many indie devs could benefit from hearing about our approach to development (but this could still be interesting to anyone in the videogame industry, really)
Developers don't need to have played Spiritfarer to understand what I'll be talking about, but knowing about the game is a plus for sure.