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Creative Chronicles: The sweet spot of asymmetric design

The Academy partners with Creative Assembly to publish its Creative Chronicles video series, today focusing on asymmetric design

The Academy has partnered with Creative Assembly to publish its Creative Chronicles video series, tutorials on various aspects of game development. You can find the previous video, on colour blindness, right here. Today's video focuses on the costs, challenges and opportunities of asymmetric design. You can find all the videos on this page.

For the last 20 years, Creative Assembly has built a deep understanding of asymmetric design in its games: the enemy ecosystems of Alien: Isolation, the faction-based grand strategy of Total War, and the diverse sub-factions of Halo Wars 2. This talk from lead game designer James Green discusses why inherent asymmetry is important, its value to the player, and its popularity among audiences.

It drills into the detail and hard decisions around asymmetric design:

  • Challenges and techniques
  • Understanding the content requirements: when enough asymmetry is enough (understanding its limits)
  • Gauging how large your design space is (and whether it's big enough for your roadmap)
  • Understanding (and embracing) the constraints you're under
  • Understanding the competition better and engaging the whole team in that effort in novel ways

For game designers, we ask the question: what's the right amount of asymmetry? How can developers find what's right for their game among all their other considerations? How do you master this essential design challenge? James Green shares what he's learned about asymmetric design over his career -- its costs, challenges and opportunities.

This talk is for all developers, with a slight bias towards designers and experienced developers, but no specific experience is needed. It's applicable to small or large teams, or those not in the industry who are interested in a difficult game design problem.

Watch on YouTube

The Academy guides to making games cover a wide range of topics, from finding the right game engine to applying for Video Games Tax Relief. Have a browse.

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