Design games based on your interests and hobbies. For example, Shigeru Miyamoto realized it was fun to weigh himself every morning, and from that we got the Wii Fit.
(from Satoru Iwata's keynote speech)
Our brains are wired with a 'Seeking Circuit'. Seeking out a reward, in and of itself, is at least as satisfying as actually receiving a reward. A person receiving a gift misses out on half the gift if it isn't wrapped.
(from Chaim Gingold's presentation)
Games need weenies - navigational reference points that draw the player towards certain locations, pique the player's interest in future activities, and help the player set goals. The term was coined by Walt Disney; it's in reference to how you might wave a weenie in front of a dog.
(from Scott Roger's presentation)
"If I had given up, there wouldn't be any Metal Gear series. There wouldn't be any Splinter Cell series either, I guess...." This made me lol.
(from Hideo Kojima's keynote speech)
Passing money over a social network damages friendships. Money is there for when friendship won't cover what you need. "Facebook wouldn't be Facebook if it was a giant Amway party."
(from Nicole Lazzaro's presentation)
People move towards light, but more importantly, away from darkness. This point was reinforced in several talks. Lighting is one of our most powerful tools in guiding player movement and behavior.
Blizzard's WoW quest designers had to deal with concerns about spoonfeeding players with quest bangs, the quest log, and quests after level 10, among other things. Jeffrey pointed out, "players need a lifeline to the best moments in game. This is elegant game design, not hand-holding."
(from Jeffrey Kaplan's presentation)
Lionhead Studios likes portals. They were working on a portaling concept before Portal came out. Peter Molyneux demonstrated an experiment that his team had put together - a pair of mirrors that you could drop objects into, and depending on the objects' attributes, they change as they go through the mirrors. "Portal proved how brilliant the guys at Valve are."
(from Peter Molyneux's presentation)
Want to make great games? Bring a behavioral psychologist on staff! Valve has just such a person: Mike Ambinder, PhD, and I made a point of attending his talk. In a nutshell, he encourages designers to take a scientific approach to game design.
(from Mike Ambinder's presentation)