GDC is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

View, browse, and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by topic and format.

For more information about conference topics and session formats, visit the GDC Showcase Conference page.

Independent Games Summit: Crafting A Tiny Open World: 'A Short Hike' Postmortem

Adam Robinson-Yu  (Developer, Independent)

Date: Tuesday, March 16

Time: 1:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Track: Design

Format: Discussion Session

Vault Recording: TBD

This GDC 2020 talk will feature real-time interaction with the speaker through online chat messaging during its scheduled broadcast. Adam Robinson-Yu talks about how he decided to put a major project on the back burner in favour of a new prototype, which ultimately became A Short Hike. A Short HIke is a small game in both in scope and scale, and the initial release came together within a 4-month deadline. Adam will discuss the design choices and development strategies that helped him meet his goals for the project and craft a compelling open-world game within those limitations, including visual style, level design, and writing. He'll also touch on the release and the topic of setting expectations for the players to help guide their approach to the game even before they begin to play.


The two main challenges in A Short Hike's development were delivering a world that was pleasurable to explore and get lost in, and doing so within the time and resource limitations of the developer. Attendees will learn some strategies employed in this case which allowed open-world design goals to be met within a short development cycle.

Intended Audience

Indie developers, especially small teams and solo developers who want to deliver open-world experiences within their limitations.