Session evaluation of my GDC 2015 talk

Today I received the evaluation of my GDC 2015 talk on narrative design:

Total Headcount: 470 (holy shit)

Session Ranking within Game Narrative Summit: your session is ranked 13 of 19 

Session Ranking within GDC 2015 Summits: your session ranked 82 of 133

-The Total Headcount shows the number of people who were scanned for the session.
-Session Ranking within your summit and amongst all sessions overall at GDC 2015 Summits. Please note, the highest rank is 1 and it is out of the number of sessions within the summit and conference, respectively (excluding sponsored sessions. special events, roundtables, main conference track sessions, tutorials, etc)


Session Totals:
Evaluation Response — Total Count of Each Response

Excellent — Count: 62 , Percentage: 40%

Good — Count: 78 , Percentage: 51%

Poor — Count: 13 , Percentage: 8%

Terrible — Count: 1 , Percentage: 1%

– Session total lists the number of people, who responded in each category (ie. Excellent, Good, Poor, etc.). Percentage lists the percentage of responses for each category based on the number of evaluations that were returned.

If 91% of people who responded thought my talk was excellent or good, and that got the talk a rank of 13 out of 19, that means the narrative summit got really positive responses. Congratulations to the advisory board!

Individual comments:

  • Could have been longer but still very interesting 
  • Really entry level thinking, could have read a “writing for games” book instead (Show me that book honey)
  • The content was well presented, but it wasn’t anything I didn’t already know. 
  • A good and thoughtful survey of some places where story/narrative and gameplay intersect and some theoretical analysis of how existing games treat narrative. I wanted it to get deeper, though, finding more compelling insights. It had that “I’m doing a good job articulating things you already know but haven’t articulated this well before” problem. Great presentation materials and delivery by the speaker.
  • Topic was worth a complete hour
  • I wish he had had more time, because he didn’t get to cover much. Really great speaker. Interesting ideas, and a great presentation overall.
  • The examples were good, but the talk felt a bit slight, possibly because of the limitations of the session length. I would have liked to see more examples of practical ways to mesh story with gameplay mechanics, a deeper dive.
  • Good thinking about diegetic elements which provoked me to closely consider some design choices I have in front of me. 
  • lots of great content, maybe moved too quickly through it. 
  • Forced me to consider writing as it relates to design in a new way! (That made it all worth it.)
  • Cool
  • Information covered was basic, and didn’t seem to coalesce into a coherent point.
  • Great speaker. Good pacing, good flow, easy to understand (both volume, and topic), entertaining. Very inspiring topic. Majestic beard.
  • It was a thorough talk with inspiring material. Good food for thought. I enjoyed it.
  • I quite enjoyed the examples and the clean, clear presentation
  • Connected narrative to the mechanical aspect of games. 
  • It made me think a bit about story and how it ties to game mechanics such as UI, so I guess that’s good. It felt light on the content overall but somehow I’m ok with that.
  • A few good examples, but not revolutionary.
  • Amazing insights into story and game design intertwined. The speaker was excellent in his explanations of less understood concepts. (<3)
  • i enjoyed the speakers thought process. but i was expecting more about “why the narrative side of a game is important in games that don’t have a story.” I don’t believe all games need a strong narrative. but this talk seemed to not want to talk about games that arent’ telling a story. (i think our industry is too accepting of “entertainment experiences” which really aren’t very good games. so i’m interested how to learn from strong narratives, without just being a movie. + was a little offput by repeated callouts to some guy in the audience with some sort of opinions on what not to talk about. (Poor Lee) Still, i liked the speaker.
  • Interesting talk, though I feel it could have gone a little deeper, or provided some structure/process for implementing the ideas talked about.
  • I felt like there weren’t any key takeaways from the talk. Needed more substantial detail. (I’ll make the font bigger next time.)
  • It was really helpful to hear some of the common conventions that have become used to being called out, like audio logs in games, or “voice through the headset” in an FPS. 
  • Narrative design 101. Not a bad session but this is GDC, step up the level a notch beginners courses don’t belong here.
  • Solid info but meh delivery. 
  • Really great points. I wish there were more notes on the slides (for easier note-taking), but I thought the speaker and the content were great. (Yeah, the downside of my slide style.)
  • Liked a lot of it, but at times he seemed disdainful of story and writers, which made it seem a curious choice for this summit. But still fun. (Not the impression I wanted to give.)
  • Overall a good session. had some great nuggets.
  • Interesting subject but did not go into real depth or insight. Less examples and going deep would be great. 
  • Interesting talk, always interesting to hear about writing.
  • Very little practical application or takeaway, and the underlying philosophy was kind of obvious. Felt like a talk suitable for students, not professionals.
  • “you can have a healthbar… or you can have a diagetic healthbar!!” -this talk (If you’d stayed for more than 5 minutes you would’ve known how to spell ‘diegetic’)
  • Really great speaker, really great examples. I love these sessions which call into question our most basic assumptions. (Love this comment right after the previous one.)
  • Great re-positioning of thought on how narrative and game design intersect.
  • Very charismatic speaker, really basic talk though, would’ve liked a bit deeper exploration. 
  • 25 minutes is too short to truly get into anything of real substance.
  • Awesome session, just wish it was longer!
  • Great content, I enjoyed the humor as well! 
  • The overall theme of this was simply, but appreciated. Essentially, gameplay and narrative are equally important. This is something I knew, but as with other panels, it was nice to hear this echoed in a panel setting like this. I do think the use of “mechanical” to mean “gameplay” and “fictional” to mean “narrative” was slightly unnecessary, when they mean the same thing. Just a lot of great points packed into 25 minutes, especially the takeaways at the end with regard to storytelling skills in dev teams, what’s needed, who needs what, etc.
  • Very much enjoyed it.
  • Great talk, very insightful content!
  • I still don’t know what the heck a “narrative designer” does…

The “this was obvious” comments are interesting. Either it is obvious, or it’s obvious but nobody had quite said it so clearly. Naturally, I hope it is the latter :)

Overall takeaway: people seemed to like it, but quite a few felt it was short or wanted more. I intentionally tried to explain one distinct concept very clearly, which is why I chose the 25 minute length. Also, it’s easier to get a 25 minute slot.

I think there’s more to be said about diegesis, but I don’t think I could have clearly expressed those things at the time I prepared for the talk.