Game analysis and design
hlascs (@) uwec.edu
A game is a series of interesting choices. —Will Wright
Section: 501, Tuesdays 4-6:50pm
Games have been a part of human culture for over 5000 years and have been used as a tool for recreation as well as for teaching and learning. As such, games are worthy of scholarly analysis. Unfortunately, little scholarly work has been done with this medium. This course is an attempt to view games through a scholarly lens by analyzing the experience of a game.
Questions that will guide our analysis include:
- What is fun?
- Is fun a necessary component of a game?
- What makes one game fun and another not?
This course helps students meet the following Liberal Education Learning Outcomes:
- S3. Create original work, perform original work, or interpret the work of others.
- IL1. Apply knowledge, skills or responsibilities gained in one academic or experiential context to other contexts.
More course information is posted on D2L.
- Exposure to different types of games, specifically "Eurogames" that focus on mechanics
- Design a survey instrument to collect data regarding player experiences
- Collect survey data during playtests
- Design a game through iterative prototyping and playtesting
- Weekly readings & writing assignments
- Explain rules for two games
- Two practice game design projects
- Design a game (teams of 1-3)
- Two design documents for potential games (group)
- Three playtest sessions
- Three playtest reflections (individual)
- Final game design diary (individual and group)
- Schell, J. (2014). The art of game design: A book of lenses.
- Koster, R. (2013). A theory of fun for game design.
Note: Try reading the cartoons first, then go back to read the text
- Boardgamegeek - forum for boardgame enthusiasts (glossary)
- UWEC Gamer's Guild
- [+] Prototyping
- BGG Do it yourself
- Print and Play wiki - useful resources at BoardGameGeek
- Prototyping tools - more resources from BoardGameGeek
- Game icons - free graphics
- Game design resource list - even more resources on BoardGameGeek
- CardGamePrototyper - convert CSV tile to playing cards
- How to make a retail-worthy quarter-fold game board (Terry)
- grid paper
- Fractal symbols: Board game library
- [+] Game designers
- Matt Leacock - Favorite board game design resources
- Richard Bartle - Hearts, clubs, diamonds, spades: Players who suit muds
- Daniel Cook - Building a princess saving app [slides], What activities can be turned into games?
- Greg Costikan - I have no words & I must design, Tabletop: Analog game design
- Chris Crawford -Dragon speech
- Richard Garfield - Luck vs Skill
- John Harris - 20 real world games
- Raph Koster - Best game design articles,
- Lewis Pulsipher - Why we play games
- Jesse Schell - Visions of the gamepocalypse
- Ian Schreiber - Game design concepts, Game balance concepts
- Mike Selinker - Kobold guide to board game design
- [+] Other
Experience points (XP) are gained for clearly communicating ideas and reflecting on the iterative design process.
Weekly writing assignments (8 × 10 XP)
There will be readings and videos for each week's topic. Most of these weeks require a written assignment requiring you to integrate and applies the various ideas within the readings.
Rules explainer (2 × 10 XP)
There is only one of me and many of you. Therefore, twice during the semester it will be your responsibility to learn a game before class and teach it to fellow students.
See the scoring guide for more details.
Small projects (2 × 15 XP)
Two game design projects are designed to practice the ideas from class to better prepare you for the game design project.
Game design project (90 XP)
In teams of 1-3, students will iteratively design a game idea of their own choosing. Students will be graded on communication of ideas, not game quality. Specifically, students will individually submit a reflection after each playtest. Further, students groups will submit a design diary with group and individual parts for the final project.
Attendance A record of attendance will be periodically collected. This is done to maintain accurate class rosters and to assess the impact of attendance on student achievement. Poor attendance may impact group activities.
If you will be absent, it is your responsibility to find out what was missed by checking D2L or contacting fellow classmates. Authorized absences (school functions or emergencies) may be made up for full credit. Non-authorized absences may complete an assignment before it is returned to receive 75% credit. All other make-ups receive 50% credit and must be completed within two weeks of the original due date.
Entry-level switching The Department of Mathematics allows students within entry level mathematics courses (i.e., 010, 020, 104, 106, 108, 109, 111, 112, 113, 114, or 246) to move up to a higher numbered course during the first two weeks of a semester or move down during the first three weeks. Please contact the instructor for more details.
Midterm grades will be based on percentage of points completed at the time of midterm submission. Final grades will be rounded up to the nearest whole number to determine a letter grade. Individual scores or grades will not modified because they represent a student's progress in the class throughout the semester.
Student Accommodations Any student who has a disability and is in need of classroom accommodations, please contact the instructor and the Services for Students with Disabilities Office in Centennial Hall 2106 to determine accommodations before contacting the instructor.
Academic Integrity Any academic misconduct in this course as a serious offense. The disciplinary procedures and penalties for academic misconduct are described on the UW-Eau Claire Dean of Students web site.
Civility As members of this class, we are members of a larger learning community where excellence is achieved through civility. Our actions affect everyone in our community. Courtesy is reciprocated and extends beyond our local setting, whether in future jobs, classes, or communities. Civility is not learned individually, it is practiced as a community.