COMP06218 2016 Game Design Fundamentals

General Details

Full Title
Game Design Fundamentals
Transcript Title
N/A %
Subject Area
COMP - Computing
COMP - Computing & Creative Practices
06 - NFQ Level 6
05 - 05 Credits
Start Term
2016 - Full Academic Year 2016-17
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Neil Gannon, Paul Powell
Programme Membership
SG_KSYSN_B07 201700 Bachelor of Science in Computing in Systems and Networking L7 SG_KGDEV_B07 201700 Bachelor of Science in Computing in Game Development SG_KWDEV_B07 201700 Bachelor of Science in Computing in Web Dev and Creative Media SG_KSDEV_B07 201700 Bachelor of Science in Computing in Software Development

The purpose of this module is to introduce the learner to the area of game design and development. The module focuses on examining the characteristics of core archetype game genres. The module seeks to identify common characteristics of games with a view to producing games which implement those features. Manual based games and computer based are examined with a view to critically examining and thus understanding the rules, mechanics and features that make games engaging and fun to play.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;


1. Evaluate and assess different game playing methods (Card, Board, Computer)


2. Exposure to the different characteristics found in archetype game genres


3. Develop games based on archetype game genres, implementing the core characteristics of each


4. Develop a simple game based on a game design document

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Lectures will introduce the core concepts and topics being covered along with practical sample implementations that provide a guide of how abstract game ideas are carried across into code. Computer laboratory classes will predominately feature learners working individually on their own implementations of problems outlined by the lecturer. Moodle will be used for access to class material and the submission of class work on an ongoing basis. Students will be encouraged to work together both inside and outside of class to develop solutions to class exercises.

Module Assessment Strategies

  • Play and evaluate a manual game
  • Play and evaluate a computer game
  • Implement game mechanics and rules for a genre
  • Develop a game based on a game design document

Repeat Assessments

Standard procedures apply.

Indicative Syllabus

The Nature of games

  • Rules of play ‑ Rule based systems
  • Fun factor
  • Physical games (I.E Sports)
  • Table Games ‑ Board, Dice, Card,
  • Engagement ‑ willing suspension of disbelieve
  • Computer Game Genres


Archetype Genres and Unique Characteristics

  • Role Playing Games (RPG)
  • Action Games
  • Adventure Games
  • Casual Games
  • Strategy Games
  • Management and Simulation Games


Games Culture

  • The History of Games.
  • Computer games as a medium.
  • Why people play games.
  • Analyzing games
  • The games market


Game Design and Project Planning

  • Framing a game idea
  • Extracting game features
  • Developing a game design document
  • Designing game levels using a Game Development Environment


Concepts of Games Development and Game Engine

  • Content pipelines and common content requirements
  • Implement game mechanics in a chosen game engine
  • Common game programming concepts (Vectors, Coordinate spaces and transformations )

Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

Coursework & Continuous Assessment
60 %
End of Semester / Year Formal Exam
40 %

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Written evaluations on a number of games played Continuous Assessment Essay 10 % Week 4 1
2 Performance Evaluation Student Engagement Continuous Assessment Performance Evaluation 15 % OnGoing 1,3
3 Individual Games based on archetype genres Continuous Assessment Assignment 15 % OnGoing 2,3
4 Individual Game Project based on Design Document Continuous Assessment Individual Project 20 % Week 14 2,4

End of Semester / Year Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Final Exam Final Exam Final Exam Closed Book Exam 40 % End of Semester 1,2,3,4

Full Time Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Lecture Lecture Theatre 1 1 Weekly 1.00
Problem Based Learning Computer Laboratory Criticizing, examining, designing and developing games 2 Weekly 2.00
Total Full Time Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 3.00 Hours

Required & Recommended Book List

Recommended Reading
2008-08-04 The Art of Game Design: A book of lenses CRC Press
ISBN 0123694965 ISBN-13 9780123694966

Anyone can master the fundamentals of game design - no technological expertise is necessary. The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses shows that the same basic principles of psychology that work for board games, card games and athletic games also are the keys to making top-quality videogames. Good game design happens when you view your game from many different perspectives, or lenses. While touring through the unusual territory that is game design, this book gives the reader one hundred of these lenses - one hundred sets of insightful questions to ask yourself that will help make your game better. These lenses are gathered from fields as diverse as psychology, architecture, music, visual design, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, writing, puzzle design, and anthropology. Anyone who reads this book will be inspired to become a better game designer - and will understand how to do it.

Recommended Reading
2003-06-28 Chris Crawford on Game Design New Riders
ISBN 0131460994 ISBN-13 9780131460997

Chris Crawford on Game Design is all about the foundational skills behind the design and architecture of a game. Without these skills, designers and developers lack the understanding to work with the tools and techniques used in the industry today. Chris Crawford, the most highly sought after expert in this area, brings an intense opinion piece full of personality and flare like no other person in this industry can. He explains the foundational and fundamental concepts needed to get the most out of game development today. An exceptional precursor to the two books soon to be published by New Riders with author Andrew Rollings, this book teaches key lessons; including, what you can learn from the history of game play and historical games, necessity of challenge in game play, applying dimensions of conflict, understanding low and high interactivity designs, watching for the inclusion of creativity, and understanding the importance of storytelling. In addition, Chris brings you the wish list of games he'd like to build and tells you how to do it. Game developers and designers will kill for this information!

Recommended Reading
2009-03-24 David Perry on Game Design: A Brainstorming ToolBox Charles River Media
ISBN 1584506687 ISBN-13 9781584506683

Are you looking for practical, ready-to-use ideas to help you design more innovative and unique video games? "David Perry on Game Design: A Brainstorming Toolbox" is a brainstorming and strategy guide for game designers, filled with inspiration-generating tips that challenge you to create better games. Using their years of industry experience, David Perry and Rusel DeMaria provide a wealth of ideas and possibilities to help you improve the entertainment value, quality, and success of your games. Designed to be used as a reference guide and brainstorming tool, the book is not software or technology specific, and it covers every aspect of video game design, including game types, storyline creation, character development, weapons and armor, game worlds, goals and rewards, obstacles, and more. You can work your way through the book from the beginning or focus on the topics that interest you. Filled with checklists and step-by-step brainstorming tools to help you flesh out your ideas, "David Perry on Game Design" will inspire and challenge you to find inventive solutions and improve the entertainment value of your games, making them fresh, innovative, and fun to play.

Recommended Reading
2010-10-14 Theory of Fun for Game Design Paraglyph Press

A Theory of Fun for Game Design is not your typical how-to book. It features a novel way of teaching interactive designers how to create and improve their designs to incorporate the highest degree of fun. As the book shows, designing for fun is all about making interactive products like games highly entertaining, engaging, and addictive. The book's unique approach of providing a highly visual storyboard approach combined with a narrative on the art and practice of designing for fun is sure to be a hit with game and interactive designers, At first glance A Theory of Fun for Game Design is a book that will truly inspire and challenge game designers to think in new was; however, its universal message will influence designers from all walks of life. This book captures the real essence of what drives us to seek out products and experiences that are truly fun and entertaining. The author masterfully presents his engaging theory by showing readers how many designs are lacking because they are predictable and not engaging enough. He then explains how great designers use different types of elements in new ways to make designs more fun and compelling. Anyone who is interested in design will enjoy how the book works on two levels--as a quick inspiration guide to game design, or as an informative discussion that details the insightful thinking from a great mind in the game industry.

Recommended Reading
2013-12-27 Fundamentals of Game Design (3rd Edition) New Riders
ISBN 0321929675 ISBN-13 9780321929679

Now in its third edition, the classic book on game design has been completely revised to include the latest developments in the game industry. Readers will learn all the fundamentals of concept development, gameplay design, core mechanics, user interfaces, storytelling, and balancing. Theyll be introduced to designing for mobile devices and touch screens, as well as for the Kinect and motion-capture gameplay. Theyll learn how indie developers are pushing the envelope and how new business models such as free-to-play are influencing design. In an easy-to-follow approach, Adams offers a first-hand look into the process of designing a game, from initial concept to final tuning.

This in-depth resource also comes with engaging end-of-chapter exercises, design worksheets, and case studies.

Recommended Reading
2003-05-11 Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on Game Design New Riders
ISBN 1592730019 ISBN-13 9781592730018

How often have you heard "anyone can design a game?" While it seems like an easy job, game ideas are cheap and plentiful. Advancing those ideas into games that people want to play is one of the hardest, and most under-appreciated, tasks in the game development cycle. Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on Game Design introduces both students and experienced developers to the craft of designing computer and video games for the retail market. The first half of the book is a detailed analysis of the key game design elements: examining game concepts and worlds, storytelling, character and user interface design, core mechanics and balance. The second half discusses each of the major game genres (action, adventure, role-playing, strategy, puzzle, and so on) and identifies the design patterns and unique creative challenges that characterize them. Filled with examples and worksheets, this book takes an accessible, practical approach to creating fun, innovative, and highly playable games.

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