Game Design

Fall 2017

Instructor - Mihai Gheorghiu / moc.liamg|67uihgroehgiahim#moc.liamg|67uihgroehgiahim

Credits - 4 ECTS

Course Prerequisites

The only needed prerequisite for attending this course is some knowledge of video games, especially the more famous ones.
It would be impossible to attend a course on game design for someone who has never played a game.

Course Description

This course has in general an introductory purpose.
It is aimed at students interested in the process of designing video games but doesn’t know the approach, being intended for university masterand students as future junior professionals in the game industry.

Course Objectives

Students in this course will:

  • Understand the basics of game concepts and the key components of a video game

Course Structure

This course is optional and will be comprised of 14 weekly classes of 2 hours.
Additionally, there will be small weekly individual material reading assignments, which we will go over and build upon in class.

Course requirements

The grading breakdown is as follows:

  • Attendance and participation (50%): …

Final project


  • The Art of Game Design, A Book of Lenses, Jesse Schell Carnegie Mellon University, © 2008 by Elsevier Inc. 30 Corporate Drive, Suite 400, Burlington, MA 01803, USA
  • Joris Dormans - Game Mechanics: Advanced Game Design, © 2012 New Riders Games, 1249 Eighth Street Berkeley, CA
  • Ernest Adams, Andrew Rollings – Game Worlds – Fundamentals of Game Design, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc., New Jersey
  • Chris Crawford - The Art of Computer Game Design – Site of The
  • Washington State University Vancouver -
  • Valentijn Visch - Persuasive Game Design: A model and its definitions, Faculty of Industrial Design, Technical University Delft, 2628CE, Delft 2013
  • Jesse Schell - The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Carnegie Mellon University, © 2008 by Elsevier Inc.
  • Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman - Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals, The MIT Press Cambridge, Massachusetts London, England, © 2004 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Design - What Are the Rules of Play? -
  • Ruben R. Puentedura, Ph.D – An Introduction to Educational Gaming

Class Schedule

This schedule is subject to change depending on the interests and pace of the class.

Week 1: Introduction to the class.
Games and Video Games
Introducing games in general and video games in particular, including formal definitions of the terms game and gameplay.
Presenting what computers bring to games and lists the important ways that video games entertain.

Week 2:
Designing and Developing Games
Introducing the key components of a video game: the core mechanics, user interface, and storytelling engine. It also presents the concept of a gameplay mode and the structure of a video game.

Week 3:
The Major Genres
Explaining what game genres are and giving a brief introduction to the major genres of games.

Week 4:
Understanding the Player and the Machine
Understanding players and the different types of machines people play games on. It addresses the psychological traits that cause players to prefer different kinds of games.

Week 5:
Game Concepts
Understanding game concepts: where the idea for a game comes from and how to refine the idea.

Week 6:
Game Worlds
Dealing with the game’s setting and world: the place where the gameplay happens and the way things work there.

Week 7:
Creative and Expressive Play
Addressing creative and expressive play, listing different ways the game can support the players’ creativity and self-expression.

Week 8:
Character Developments
Addressing character design, inventing the people or beings that populate the game world—especially the character that will represent the player there (his avatar).

Week 9:
Introducing the problems of storytelling and narrative, dealing with the issues of linear, branching, and foldback story structures. Also treating a number of related issues such as scripted conversations and episodic story structures.

Week 10:
Creating the User Experience
Treating user experience design: the way the player experiences and interacts with the game world.

Week 11:
Analyzing gameplay, the heart of the player’s mental experience of a game. The gameplay consists of the challenges the player faces and the actions he takes to overcome them. Analyzing the nature of difficulty in gameplay.

Week 12:
Core Mechanics
Introducing the five types of core mechanics: physics, economics, tactical maneuvering, progression, and social interactions.

Week 13:
Game Balancing and tuning
Treating the issue of game balancing and tuning, the process of making multiplayer games fair to all players, and controlling the difficulty of single-player games.

Week 14:
Practical works
Presentation of personal Game Design project. Cross Discussions.

Final: Final Project Presentations.

Qualitative Grading Overview

Each student will be judged on ….

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