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The Design of 'HoloVista': Crafting Mechanics for Immersive Storytelling

Scott Siegel  (Designer, Harmonix)

Location: Room 2014, West Hall

Date: Wednesday, March 23

Time: 10:30 am - 11:00 am

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass - Get your pass now!

Topic: Design, Production & Team Management

Format: Session

Viewing Experience: In-Person

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: Yes

HoloVista is an award-winning immersive hidden object game, whose narrative unfolds through the lens of a near-future social media app. But there was no game concept at its inception—only a desire to tell mixed-reality stories about technology and culture, and the challenge of finding the best structure for doing so. Lead Designer Scott Jon Siegel walks through the collaborative design process that led to the new team's award-winning first title, from their earliest meetings in a San Francisco coffee shop, to the design's final mid-production, mid-pandemic pivots as they approached its 2020 release.


Attendees receive an in-depth look at a "thematics-first" approach to design, with concrete examples of how and when to let design be fluid, and when it's necessary to commit to direction. Documents and wireframes illustrate how mechanics evolved to support narrative, and how to best communicate those affordances.

Intended Audience

This talk is full of valuable takeaways for both individual game designers as well as small teams, whether they're struggling to "figure out" their first game, or solving design problems throughout development. Narrative designers and story-focused teams will benefit from learnings on integrating narrative into mechanics.