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GDC + VRDC 2019 Session Scheduler

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What Cats Can Teach You About Empathic Game Design

Willem Delventhal (Founder, Mew and Me)

Location: Room 202, South Hall

Date: Thursday, March 21

Time: 2:00pm - 2:30pm

Pass Type: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Conference - Get your pass now!

Topic: Design

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: All

Empathic design allows you to experience what your end user experiences, and its application is growing in popularity. A user can only articulate so much, so spending a moment to understand them can vastly improve the quality of your games. Who better to teach you that ability other than the humble house cat?

Making games for cats is extremely challenging. They cannot communicate, and most of the time will want nothing to do with whatever you need them to do. But it turns out that, just like any human user, you can put yourself in their shoes, or paws, if you will. Cats have a few quirks that once understood, can be overcome to make engaging experiences for an animal that would otherwise not care.


Attendees of this lecture will come away with an understanding of the value of empathic design, the steps to applying it, how to apply it in the context of game development, and how to make it work in the most difficult of circumstances.

Intended Audience

This talk is targeted at game designers and those who think about the user facing aspects of game development. Both professional and indie gamers can learn something from cats.