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.
Nicolas Oueijan (Game Designer, thatgamecompany)
Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass
Vault Recording: TBD
Audience Level: N/A: I prefer to present live on-site but I am open to delivering a virtual presentation
Unless a game is explicitly about navigation, getting lost in it will almost always result in an awkward and frustrating experience. This age-old problem plagued architects and urban planners long before it plagued designers in the game industry. Luckily, level designers and environment artists have the opportunity to learn valuable lessons from these more experienced disciplines. This talk will leverage cognitive science, anthropological, and urbanism research to explore what it means to get lost and how spaces can be designed to prevent this from happening. By identifying elements in the built environment that contribute to more comprehensive cognitive maps, developers can start creating virtual environments that are more navigable, memorable, and less likely to disorient players.
Practical takeaways include learning what cognitive maps are and how to use a level design toolkit to ensure players do not get lost. The toolkit in question comes from conclusions made by urbanists and cognitive science researchers about what types of environments keep people oriented.
Level designers and environment artists, particularly those responsible for creating freely navigable and open-world spaces, look to gain the most from this talk. No prerequisite knowledge of cognitive mapping or wayfinding fundamentals are required. Developers from other disciplines are also welcome, and will not get...lost...in the subject matter.