Yes. I know. I am as surprised as you. I am a GDC 2019 Speaker. And not only that, but I’m going to be talking about cats. I’m going to be talking about Empathic Game Design, and how it can be applied to cats. Yes. I totally 100% click-baited the judges.
So if you know me and know my work, you’ll know that my current muse is called Mew and Me. It is a collection of games designed just for cats that are played on tablets. They are the first games designed to be left on while you are out of the house, and the only games that track data while you are away, to teach you about your animal when you come home.
Yes. Basically, I am a huge freaking dork. You are correct about that. But it turns out that building games for cats is actually a totally fascinating design challenge. Much like when I worked on LumiKids, a cat is not going to tell you why it doesn’t care that you spent six hours getting something to work. It’s just going to ignore you and knock your favorite things off of high places.
Enter Empathic Design
To cut it short, Empathic Design is experiencing what your end user experiences, with your end user. Sure, this may not sound like anything more than typical user testing. And if you are user testing correctly, it isn’t. But researching the subject is what got me closer to cat-fection. (I needed to do at least one pun, I’m so sorry)
You see, a user can only verbally communicate so much. Which is why cats are such a fascinating case study. Deeply understanding and researching your user can sometimes sway design decisions in completely unexpected ways. I’ll go more into Empathic Game Design in a later, dedicated blog post. But basically, I wound up getting approved to speak at GDC!
So, my talk, entitled, “What Cats Can Teach You About Empathic Game Design,” will be in GDC 2019. The largest game development event in the world. And I am FLOORED. And so grateful. Thanks and cheers to all.
If this was a fun read, check out my Top Ludum Dare 43 Entries.