As a direct follow-up to my 2012 talk “Player Stories and Designer Stories”, this GDC lecture delves deeply into the oft-repeated, but rarely explored game design concept of “interesting decisions”. Meaningful choice is the foundation of good game design, but there is a surprising amount of ambiguity surrounding the topic. This lecture explores when decisions are meaningful to the brain, ties that reasoning into the biology and psychology of why decisions matter in real life (and why we play games as a result), and then uses Doom 2 combat as a case study for how Systemic Agency (a concept established in my 2012 talk) is created, which leads to interesting low-level gameplay.
You can download the full lecture here (60mb). If you would rather like to watch, my presentation is free in the GDC Vault: