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Video: How Plants vs. Zombies' designer got his mom to play Exclusive

[Note: To access chapter selection, click the fullscreen button or check out the video on the GDC Vault website]
March 18, 2013 | By GDC Vault Staff

March 18, 2013 | By GDC Vault Staff
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More: Console/PC, Social/Online, Smartphone/Tablet, Design, Exclusive, Video, GDC



Plants vs. Zombies designer George Fan shares techniques he used to teach game mechanics suitable to make hardcore players and non-gamers, like his mother, play through PopCap's tower defense title until the end.

In this GDC 2012 lecture, now free courtesy of the GDC Vault, Fan uses Plants vs. Zombies to illustrate these ten techniques, including using visuals and fewer words to teach. Along those lines, he believes in blending the tutorial into the game and having the player experiment in a controlled environment rather than just reading how to play.

Session Name: How I Got My Mom to Play Through Plants vs. Zombies

Speaker(s): George Fan

Company Name(s): PopCap

Track / Format: Game Design

Overview:The final boss of Plants vs. Zombies has been conquered by gamers of all ages as well as people with no gaming background whatsoever. George Fan, designer of Plants vs. Zombies, will walk you through how he managed to get his Mom to play through a full-blown strategy game while not alienating hardcore gamers. He will present 10 techniques he uses to better teach game mechanics to players, using specific examples from Plants vs. Zombies to illustrate these concepts.

About the GDC Vault

In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many of the recent GDC events, and the service offers even more members-only content for GDC Vault subscribers. Those who purchased All Access passes to events like GDC, GDC Europe, and GDC China already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscriptions via a GDC Vault inquiry form.

Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company. More information on this option is available via an online demonstration, and interested parties can find out more here. In addition, current subscribers with access issues can contact GDC Vault admins.

Be sure to keep an eye on GDC Vault for even more new content, as GDC organizers will also archive videos, audio, and slides from other events like GDC China and GDC 2013. To stay abreast of all the latest updates to GDC Vault, be sure to check out the news feed on the official GDC website, or subscribe to updates via Twitter, Facebook, or RSS.

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