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Thursday, April 11 • 11:00 - 14:30
Game Design as Gardening: Summit with Adriaan de Jongh, Eric Zimmerman, Gabe Cuzzillo, Hartmut Koenitz, Robert Yang, Sabine Harrer, Thomas van den Berg

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  • 11:00-11:05 Björn Bartholdy, Csongor Baranyai, Gundolf S. Freyermuth: opening words
  • 11:05-11:45 Eric Zimmerman: 100 Versions of Losswords
  • 11:45-12:15 Hartmut Koenitz: Learning From Biology – Game (System) Design as “gardening”
  • 12:15-12:45 Sabine Harrer: Plantations of Play – Colonial Botany in Videogames
  • 13:00-13:30 Robert Yang: We Must Cultivate Our Garden
  • 13.30-14:30 Game Development as Gardening: panel with Adriaan de Jongh (Hidden Folks), Gabe Cuzzillo (Ape Out), Thomas van den Berg (Kingdom) – moderated by Csongor Baranyai

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Games develop in a way that I can only describe as organic,
in that they tend to start as a core and then grow outward. 

(David OReilly)

A game as playful media and complex system can’t be drafted as a whole beforehand, but has to be grown into its (final?) form through iterations, morphing from version to version, finding its own shape step by step or just evolving forever.

Dissecting and examining the development process of games is key for understanding and mastering not just game design and development, but the increasingly digital world we are in per se. Game Design as Gardening is the academic extension of Devolution, exploring similar topics as the exhibition from a different point of view. Experts from academy, science and research and game development will discuss the growing process of digital games and what that means for digital media.

Game Design as Gardening will be moderated by Su-Jin Song.

Game Design as Gardening is a cooperation between Devolution and Clash of Realities and a part of Devolution #5.

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Keynote: Eric Zimmerman: 100 Versions of Losswords

Many game developers talk about iteration during the “gardening” of development, but in the heat and pressure of releasing a game, we often don’t get to practice it as much as we would like. This session takes a painfully detailed look at the iteration of a single game: the mobile title Losswords. Through dozens of screenshots, mock-ups, and wireframe schematics, this session will trace the development of the game from fundamental changes through the minutiae of detailed refinement. From the core play mechanic to the narrative world to the interface details, developing Losswords meant wandering through a desert of possibilities, not always knowing how to proceed or whether we would make it out of the “garden” alive. Join us for hard lessons learned, both good and bad.

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Hartmut Koenitz: Learning From Biology – Game (System) Design as “gardening”

Games are (digital) systems, in which the elements influence each other and there is a feedback loop between game and player. There are clear parallels to biology as the origins of system theory and an overall systemic understanding of nature. Gardening means to create an ecosystem, in which plants influence each other and where we need to take the environment into account - the climate, seasons, soil, available space etc. Game design as gardening means to learn from this biological counterpart: planning for growth, patient and steady attention, weeding out of unintended effects.

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Sabine Harrer: Plantations of Play – Colonial Botany in Videogames

Plantations of Play looks at game development through the lens of colonial botany. Where does our obsession with open colonizable worlds and the fear of a wild and untamed "Indiepocalypse" come from? One possibility: Our tools of game gardening have deep roots in Europe's bigoted history. Time to unpack some trends and decolonise game gardening.

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Robert Yang: We Must Cultivate Our Garden

Let’s assume we’re all very important, and fifty years from now, scholars will want to study our work and process. Let’s also assume we will still be alive in fifty years too... what materials will we give them, what would help them study our process and this era of game development? In this short lecture, I will talk a little bit about games and research, research as creation, archiving your development process, and why we must begin cultivating this “garden” for future generations to enjoy.

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Game Development as Gardening – panel with Adriaan de Jongh (Hidden Folks), Gabe Cuzzillo (Ape Out), Thomas van den Berg (Kingdom). Hosted by Csongor Baranyai.

An in-depth interview with Adriaan de Jongh, Gabe Cuzzillo and Thomas van den Berg about the development processes of their games. How to grow a game?
How did the game change during its development? Why? Which features were added? Which were taken away? When? What were the interesting design challenges? What was the original vision of the game? How did the idea emerge? How did certain features evolved into their final version?
Hosted by Csongor Baranyai.
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avatar for Su-Jin Song (DE)

Su-Jin Song (DE)

Su-Jin Song is a film producer and director based in Germany. She studied creative producing at the ifs international filmschool cologne. Her graduation film “Ein Märchen von einer unmöglichen Stelle im Universum” was nominated for the German short film prize and won many awards... Read More →
avatar for Björn Bartholdy (DE)

Björn Bartholdy (DE)

Cologne Game Lab
Björn Bartholdy studied communication design (diploma) at the Merz Akademie in Stuttgart and media design (diploma) at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne. He also worked as a freelance designer for Bayerischer Rundfunk, RTL, VOX and VIVA. Since 2003 he has been responsible for... Read More →
avatar for Csongor Baranyai (DE)

Csongor Baranyai (DE)

UE – University of Applied Sciences Europe
Game and narrative designer Csongor Baranyai has more than 10 years of experience in the game and interactive media industry. He studied film and television dramaturgy/ script writing at the Hochschule für Film und Fernsehen (HFF) in Potsdam/ Babelsberg. He has worked as game designer... Read More →
avatar for Gundolf S. Freyermuth (DE)

Gundolf S. Freyermuth (DE)

Cologne Game Lab
Gundolf S. Freyermuth, PhD, is a founding co-director and Professor of Media and Game Studies at the Cologne Game Lab of TH Koeln-University of Technology, Arts and Sciences, as well as Professor of Comparative Media Studies at the ifs international film school of Cologne. - Prior... Read More →

avatar for Hartmut Koenitz (DE)

Hartmut Koenitz (DE)

Prof. Dr. Hartmut Koenitz is professor for Interactive Narrative Design at HKU University of the Arts Utrecht. The focus of his research is Interactive Digital Narrative in Video Games and other emerging digital formats. He is also an artist and sometimes even a car mechanic. His... Read More →
avatar for Sabine Harrer (AT)

Sabine Harrer (AT)

Sabine Harrer, Ph.D is a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre of Excellence in Game Culture Studies, University of Tampere (Finland). Their research focuses on cultural videogames criticism, HCI and intersectionality, and creation-based knowledge making. Author of the book Games... Read More →
avatar for Adriaan de Jongh (NL)

Adriaan de Jongh (NL)

Adriaan is a game designer best known for indie game hit Hidden Folks, a hand-drawn interactive searching game, and for experimental games like Bounden and Fingle, which move people out of the normal space of videogames by challenging players to dance, hold hands, and share physical... Read More →
avatar for Eric Zimmerman (US)

Eric Zimmerman (US)

Eric Zimmerman is a game designer and Arts Professor at the NYU Game Center. He designs games on and off the computer that invent new forms of play. Eric was the co-founder of the NYC-based studio Gamelab and his projects include Diner Dash and SiSSYFiGHT 2000. He has also designed... Read More →
avatar for Robert Yang (US)

Robert Yang (US)

Robert Yang makes surprisingly popular games about gay culture and intimacy -- he is most known for his historical bathroom sex simulator The Tearoom and his male shower simulator Rinse and Repeat, and his gay sex triptych Radiator 2 has over 150,000 users on Steam. He is currently... Read More →
avatar for Thomas van den Berg (NL)

Thomas van den Berg (NL)

Thomas van den Berg creates games and game-like things and loves using pixels & shaders as impressionist tools, leaving room for the viewer's imagination. With Noio, he created the Kingdom games: minimalist strategy games that are simple, but will not hold your hand, and leave you... Read More →
avatar for Gabe Cuzzillo (US)

Gabe Cuzzillo (US)

Gabe Cuzzillo is a game developer based in Brooklyn best known for his work on Ape Out, a saul-bass inspired top down action game with a focus on immediacy, physicality, and percussion. He teaches game development at NYU, and is also currently working on an arcade cabinet featuring... Read More →

Thursday April 11, 2019 11:00 - 14:30 CEST
Stage 1