A Game Design Method for Heightening Empathy and Embodiment

10 Aug 2021
10:00 bis 17:00
A Game Design Method for Heightening Empathy and Embodiment
10 Aug

In this workshop, Chris Solarski will present an innovative sensory design approach to game design, based on the Interactive Empathy and Embodiment (IEE) method. The method is founded on traditional craft techniques (and inputs from acting theory, neuroscience, psychology, disability aesthetics, etc.) to heighten the player-audience's physical experience of gameplay. Sensory design can be thought of as working inside-to-outside—starting by defining the player's kinaesthetic state (referring to physical activity-based aesthetics) before designing the mechanisms that evoke the desired sensations. Approaching the game development process from a sensory perspective—as opposed to a rules, objectives and mechanics-driven approach—enables readers to actively explore solutions to the following ideology: what if empathy, not conflict, was the organising principle of game design? Workshop participants do not require any prior game design experience. Topics are relevant to all interaction design fields including video games, VR and AR. The workshop will be conducted in English.

About Chris Solarski

Chris Solarski started work in video games at Sony Computer Entertainment’s London Studio as a character and environment artist before making a career-defining detour into figurative oil painting. The unusual mix of game art and classical art eventually resulted in Chris authoring Interactive Empathy and Embodiment (IEE)—a sensory design methodology that adapts traditional craft to interactive media with the aim of heightening kinaesthetic empathy and embodiment. Chris has authored two other books on game art and storytelling in games that are endorsed by the likes of Assassin’s Creed founding member Stéphane Assadourian, and Cyberpunk 2077 level designer Max Pears. Chris’ work has been described as gaming’s equivalent to Robert McKee’s screenwriting classic, Story, and compared to Joseph Campbell’s universal storytelling structure. Chris has had the pleasure of presenting at the Smithsonian Museum’s landmark The Art of Video Games exhibition, Disney Research, SXSW, Google and FMX, to name a few. Chris also lectures and serves as industry liaison at SAE Institute in Zurich; Chairs the International Game Developers Association's Switzerland Chapter (IGDA Switzerland); and co-founded the IGDA Game Art Special Interest Group (SIG).


- 10am - 1pm
- Break
- 2pm - 5pm