Let your game design itself

Date: Friday 1st September


Game designers are no strangers to the fear of blank canvas, frequently ideating components in a vacuum for a long time before first setting pen to paper. However, some of the most creative ideas and defining game features can arise from playtesting and an iterative hands-on approach. In this talk, Denis aims to draw on his experience and learnings from working on the puzzle tabletop game, Alchemist’s Apprentice, and allowing its design potential to be unlocked through the organic evolution of its mechanics. Denis will present examples of several titles that have had their most iconic mechanics emerge during the design process, and then will share his own findings in the hopes that they can help designers identify ways to pay careful attention to their own creations, prepare to surrender their ideas to the will of their games, and inspire them to start playtesting as early as possible.

About the speaker

Denis has been working professionally in the gaming industry since 2011 and has worn the hat of a news publisher, narrative writer, translator, editor, playtester, designer, and, most recently, Unreal Engine producer. Denis has worked on projects published by Blizzard, Valve and Ubisoft, and is currently closely working with Epic Games.

Denis has been involved in the gaming community in New Zealand, volunteering at tabletop conventions for 6 years in a row, serving as a judge at PAVS ’21-’23, and a speaker at NZGDC ’21-‘22. He obtained a PGDE in Linguistics and accreditation in Game Design and Creative Writing. He  published my first game last year – the narrative-driven fantasy adventure, Alchemist’s Apprentice, which went on to win multiple awards at the BGG Solo PnP’22 competition and is getting published this year. His passion for good game design and spellbinding storytelling inspired me to compose this talk and share my learnings with the community.