Game Analysis and Design

Professor Hlas
hlascs (@) uwec.edu
Drop-in times

Getting a game design from 95% to 100% done takes as long as it does to get from 0% to 95% done.
—Brian Henk

Course Information

Section: 501, Mondays 4-6:45pm

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:

  1. What is fun?
  2. Is fun a necessary component of a game?
  3. What makes one game fun and another not?

This course helps students meet the following Liberal Education Learning Outcomes (as assessed by final project):

More course information is posted on Canvas.

Objectives

Structure

Materials

  1. Schell, J. (2014). The art of game design: A book of lenses.
  2. Koster, R. (2013). A theory of fun for game design.
    Note: Try reading the cartoons first, then go back to read the text

Other resources

Recent games played:


Grading

Experience points (XP) are gained for clearly communicating ideas and reflecting on the iterative design process.

Weekly writing assignments (9 × 8 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.

Roll-and-write design project (12 XP)

A practice design project that has specific constraints to prepare you for the game design project.

Print-and-play design project (66 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.

Fine print

Email is the best way to reach me. I typically respond within 24 hours, but do not check email in the evenings or on Saturdays due to family commitments.

Attendance A record of attendance is required by the University to maintain accurate class rosters. Attendance is not graded but poor attendance may impact participation in group activities.

Absences If you are absent, please check the course schedule then meet with me (drop-in hours, Zoom, or email) so I can make sure you are caught up. Authorized absences (school functions, emergencies or illness) may be made up for full credit. Other absences may be completed early for full credit, or late for 90% credit. Late work is expected to be completed within two weeks of the original due date or by the last day of classes, whichever occurs first.

Entry-level switching The Department of Mathematics allows students within entry-level mathematics courses (i.e., 010, 020, 104, 109, 112, 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.

Grading

Student Accommodations Any student who has a disability and is in need of classroom accommodations should contact the instructor and the Services for Students with Disabilities Office in Centennial Hall 2106 at the beginning of the semester.

Academic Integrity Any academic misconduct in this course will be submitted to the Dean of Students.

Mandatory Reporter As a Wisconsin State employee, the instructor is obligated to report any crimes to the Dean of Students, including claims of sexual harassment or sexual assault. The Dean of Students office may reach out to you to offer resources and support.

Community As members of this class we are members of a learning community that values all people with all backgrounds. Please remember that our words and actions affect everyone within our community and remember a little positivity can go a long way.