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Session Name:

Cursed Problems in Game Design


Game designers love solving problems, perfecting games until they sing. But sometimes you hit a design problem so thorny that you just can't find a solution, and maybe never will. This may be a "cursed problem": a problem with some inherent contradiction of goals. Consider the kingmaker problem. A designer wants to emphasize certain player skills, but also wants free-for-all PvP, which incentivizes politics in favor of those skills. Cursed problems like these haunt designers across game and genre. And somehow all designers have to deal with them.In this talk, Alex Jaffe (Riot Games) will present a theory of cursed problems. He'll show case studies of decades-old problems, and he'll explore the four design paradigms that have helped developers face these problems and survive.

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  • GDC 2019
  • Alex Jaffe
  • Riot Games
  • free content
  • Design
  • Design