Basic Introduction to Game Design

Introduction and Course Syllabus

Welcome to the class: Basic Introduction to Game Design. My name is Dr. Lennart Nacke. I help peo­ple under­stand how to design and eval­u­ate games. I am teach­ing this class in the Fall 2014 at UOIT (INFR 1330). Today, I am going to show you how this course works and how you are going to ben­e­fit from the infor­ma­tion that I can pro­vide to you.

Anything is only as good as you make it and noth­ing is going to be easy.” (Kate Beaton)

Evoland Screenshot

Evoland (Shiro Games, 2013). In-Game Screenshot.

If you are read­ing this, you prob­a­bly already know that game design is impor­tant for devel­op­ing games, but did you know that there is no for­mal way to teach game design, yet? Other game devel­op­ment dis­ci­plines like art or pro­gram­ming have a more for­malised cur­ricu­lum, because their out­comes are vis­i­ble and, there­fore, eas­i­er to cri­tique. We can eas­i­ly point out errors (or bugs) in a com­put­er pro­gram and cri­tique art­work (at least on a super­fi­cial lev­el). However, design is much hard­er to grasp. We often say that a game is not fun, but do we real­ly know what that means? After all, many games require learn­ing com­plex pro­ce­dur­al sequences and involve many tac­ti­cal con­sid­er­a­tions to be tru­ly fun, for exam­ple: Minecraft (Mojang AB, 2011) and Dota 2 (Valve Corporation, 2013). In this course, we are going to find out what it means to design games. Continue read­ing


The Gamification of Steam

Gamification of Steam

Whether you like the new buzz term or not. Gamification — that is the use of engag­ing play­ing prin­ci­ples applied to desk­top and con­sumer appli­ca­tions, prod­ucts, and ser­vices — is a big thing in research and (non-game) indus­try. Even SIGCHI was kind enough to let us orga­nize a CHI 2011 work­shop on gam­i­fi­ca­tion. It is inter­est­ing that most of the buzz sur­round­ing gam­i­fi­ca­tion comes most­ly from peo­ple out­side the games indus­try (prob­a­bly the game indus­try just does not like the term and the badges con­cept). However, in December 2010, Valve took up gam­i­fi­ca­tion con­cepts to pro­mote Steam sales, which I found par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ing. The sales gam­i­fi­ca­tion was called “The Great Steam Treasure Hunt” and it fea­tures all gam­ing con­cepts nec­es­sary to fos­ter engage­ment in the Steam com­mu­ni­ty: rules, goals, chal­lenges. Continue read­ing