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GDC Roundup: Day One

Free-to-play design, business and narratives in San Francisco

The first day of the Game Developer Conference in San Francisco featured the Free-to-Play Design and Business Summit and the Game Narrative Summit, which gave developers the chance to discuss the way they approach storytelling and monetisation, and raised some interesting points about presenting messages and difficult issues to your audience.

Beyond Fun: Difficult Topics Inspire Story and Design, a talk by Ubisoft Quebec director of narrative design Jill Murray and director of level design Hugo Giard, discussed the challenges to tackling an issue like slavery in Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. (GamesIndustry International)

Microtalks: Retention Tips for Free-to-Play Genres featured a number of contributions from developers like Raph Koster, Making Fun Inc's John Welch and Kenny Dinkin, and Disney Interactive's Tamir Nadav. The talks covered free-to-play retention tips in genres like social casino games, battle card games and shooters. (GamesIndustry International)

Rogue Legacy Design Postmortem: Budget Development revealed that the game earned back its development costs after one hour on sale, and shifted 100,000 copies in its first week. (GamesIndustry International)

Pursuing Interactive Suspension of Disbelief saw Sean Vanaman of Campo Santo address the successes and failures of The Walking Dead series, and how he is applying those lessons to his new project, Firewatch. (Game Informer)

Animation Bootcamp: Animation Prototyping for Games gave Epic Games the opportunity to reveal a brand new IP, which it is developing without a publishing partner. The concept art was a cheeky reminder of the company's 2011 Samaritan tech demo. (Polygon)

Trial by Fire: The Making of Little Inferno gave Kyle Gray the chance to point out that the pyromania pleaser wasn't about global warming, and that setting the action in front of the same fireplace was a mistake. "It made a lot of people feel like it was a very small game. That probably ended up hurting us quite a bit." (Gamasutra)

Performative Game Development: The Design and Marketing of Nuclear Throne shared Rami Ismail and Jan Willem Nijman's demanding development process, which saw them livestreaming as they worked on the project twice a week. (Gamasutra)

The Stanley Parable: A Negotiation: Expressive Choice: Reality: Time: The Stanley Parable gave the game's creators a chance to reveal how player's reacted to the indie title's lack of traditional mechanics and clear goals. (Game Informer)

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Rachel Weber

Senior Editor

Rachel Weber has been with GamesIndustry since 2011 and specialises in news-writing and investigative journalism. She has more than five years of consumer experience, having previously worked for Future Publishing in the UK.