Overview of the course


Note that the course pages are based on those for the course last year. This may lead to some dates being wrong until they are updated (which will be before the course starts). Those that want to look at the lecture slides before they are given can look at previous year's course (located here but note that they may change somewhat for this year).

This is the webpage where the latest information about the gameplay design course will be posted. Brief points will be posted on the twitter feed while more details will be added as specific sections here:

Game design focuses on how rules and game components can be used to create game environments that encourage and promotes specific interaction, either between humans or between humans and the game system. The aim of these environments can vary from experimental environments in the car and plane industries, learning environments in simulations to pure entertainments applications in home computers and game consoles. The course deals with general design methods that can be applied to all these use areas.

The course Gameplay Design aims to give an understanding in how the different components in a game environment interacts as well as what relations game design has to other areas, e.g. programming and graphical design, which are required in the development of modern interactive simulations. Central problems addressed in the course are how to motivate users to specific types of interaction, the relationship between interaction and narratives, how to balance interaction in multi-user environments, how to support and encourage creativity among users, how to modify designs to suit both novel and expert users as well as how to adapt design to suit interaction with specific time constraints.

See the tabs for specific information about grading, assignments, and elective assignments.

Learning outcome

  • Understand the role of a game designer within a game design project
  • Motivate different perspectives on games and use of games, both from practical and ethical aspects
  • Discuss game design features explicitly using both de facto industry concepts and academic frameworks
  • Present game design concepts for an audience
  • Relate current game designs to earlier examples, from the direct predecessors to the first recorded examples
  • Plan game design projects according to best practice descriptions
  • Develop a game design concept from initial idea to a full game design document, using iterative design processes and prototyping
  • Specify target audiences and develop specific game design concepts for specific target audiences
  • Analyze different game design using analytical tools (such as game design patterns) to be able to A) suggest design changes and B) compare different game designs.

Course Literature

  • Fullerton, T., Swain, C., & Hoffman, S. (2004) Game Design Workshop, CMP Books, 2004. ISBN: 0240809742. Available from Cremona (and online bookshops).

Recommended Literature

  • Björk, S. & Holopainen, J. 2004. Patterns in Game Design. Charles River Media.
  • Canossa, A., & Nelson, M. & Björk, S. (2014). X-COM: UFO Defense vs. XCOM: Enemy Unknown - Using Gameplay Design Patterns to Understand Game Remakes. Foundations of Digital Games 2014, April 3-7, 2014, Fort Lauderdale, US.
  • Church, D. 1999. Formal abstract design tools. www.gamasutra.com/features/19990716/design_tools_01.htm
  • Costikyan, G. 1994. I have no words & I must design. Keynote at CGDC 2002.
  • Hullett, K. & Whitehead, J., 2010. . In Proceedings of FDG 2010
  • Hunicke, R. et al. 2004. MDA: A formal approach to game design and game research. In Proceedings of the AAAI Challenges in Game AI Workshop.
  • Huizinga, J., 1955. Homo Ludens: a study of the play element in culture. Beacon Press.
  • Juul, J., 2005. Half-Real: Video Games between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds. MIT Press.
  • Lewis, C. 2014. Irresistible Apps: Motivational Design Patterns for Apps, Games, and Web-based Communities. APRESS.
  • Lundgren, S. & Björk, S. (2012). Neither Playing nor Gaming: Pottering in Games. Foundations of Digital Games 2012, May 29-June 1, 2012 Raleigh, NC, USA.
  • Milam, D. & Seif El Nasr, M. 2010. http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1822367. In Proceedings of FDG 2010.
  • Parlett, D.,1999. The Oxford History of Board Games. Oxford University Press
  • Poundstone, W., 1992. Prisoner’s dilemma: John von Neumann, game theory, and the puzzle of the bomb. New York: Anchor Books.
  • Poundstone, W., 2006. Fortune's Formula: The Untold Story of the Scientific Betting System That Beat the Casinos and Wall Street. Hill & Wang.
  • Salen, K. & Zimmerman, E., 2004. Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals. MIT Press.
  • Smith, G. et al. 2011. Situating quests: Design patterns for quest and level design in role-playing games. In Proceedings of ICIDS 2011.
  • Zagal, J. et al. 2005. Towards an ontological language for game analysis. In Proceedings of DiGRA 2005.
  • Zagal, J.P., Björk, S. & Lewis, C. (2013). Dark Patterns in the Design of Games. Foundations of Digital Games 2013, May 14-17, 2013, Crete, Greece.

Other stuff