module specification

SM6062 - Game Design (2020/21)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2020/21
Module status DELETED (This module is no longer running)
Module title Game Design
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Computing and Digital Media
Total study hours 150
105 hours Guided independent study
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 40%   An illustrated case study (2,500-3,000 words)
Coursework 60%   A project proposal for a digital game (2000-3000 words)
Running in 2020/21

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

Module summary

his module examines key approaches and concepts in game design theory and practice. The module also explores developments in digital games and digital play; the market, applications and audiences for games and game design best practice. Students will learn how to analyse game design practice and how to research, plan and conceptualise a digital game idea.

Module aims

• To provide an introduction to game design theories, core concepts, principles & processes.
• To develop a critical, theoretical and practical understanding of game design best practice.
• Enable students to plan and conceptualise a digital game.


The syllabus  explores: the history and developments of digital games and game genres; the concept of play; the market for games and careers in digital games; game applications, including games for education, marketing and information; the role of narrative in games; game audiences and players’ types; game design theory and key game design principles including: gameplay and game systems, the design of game characters, game worlds, level design, reward systems, integration of narrative & gameplay, game balance, forms of competition and/or cooperation, in-game economies.

Learning and teaching

Teaching methods include lectures and on-line interactive learning material, tutorials and computer lab sessions. Students will be expected to attend lectures and take part into on-line activities as well as comment on their readings and work on game design exercises. A blended learning strategy will be employed to enhance the learning experience. The VLE will be used as a platform to support online discussions and to facilitate formative assessment and related feedback as well as a tool to integrate useful online learning materials provided by professional organisations and other relevant sources.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

1. Identify and critically evaluate key components of digital play and their relationship with the playing experience. (LO1)
2. Demonstrate an understanding of the core concepts and approaches of game design theories. (LO2)
3. Research, plan and conceptualise a digital game. (LO3)

Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy for this module is designed to expose students to the main issues and problems in designing a digital game.

A) An illustrated case study (2,500-3,000 words) analysing an existing game in relation to the key concepts introduced in game the module. (Weighting 40%) (LO1, LO2).

B) A project proposal for a digital game (2000-3000 words) demonstrating the ability to analyse and discuss the main issues in planning and conceptualising a game project idea.  (Weighting 60%) (LO1, LO2, LO3).
Students may pass on aggregate.



Adams, E. (2009) Fundamentals of Game Design, 2 edition. ed, New Riders: Berkeley, CA.

Donovan, T. (2010) Replay: The History of Video Games. Yellow Ant.

Fullerton, T. (2008) Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative
Games, 2nd ed. ed, Elsevier Morgan Kaufmann: Amsterdam ; London.

Hunter, R. (2011) The Gamification Handbook - Everything You Need to Know About Gamification, Emereo Pty Limited.

Juul, J. (2010) A Casual Revolution: Reinventing Video Games and Their Players. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

Ritterfeld, U., M. Cody, and P. Vorderer (2009) Serious games: mechanisms and effects. New York ; London: Routledge.

Rogers, S. (2014) Level Up! The Guide to Great Video Game Design, 2 edition. ed, Wiley.

Rouse, R.I. (2004) Game Design, Theory and Practice, 2nd Revised edition edition. ed, Wordware Publishing Inc.: Plano, Tex.

Salen, K. (2004) Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals, MIT: Cambridge, Mass. ; London.

Schell, J. (2008) The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Elsevier/Morgan Kaufmann: Amsterdam ; London.

Thompson, J. (2007) Computer Game Design Course: Principles, Practices and Techniques for the Aspiring Game Designer, Thames and Hudson: London.

Journals, Magazines and Professional Associations

Eludamos Journal for Computer Game Culture

Game Studies - the international journal of computer game research

Edge [online], Available from

Gamasutra - One of the best professional web sites for Game Designers, featuring
articles on game design and game research [online], Available from

The Independent Games Developers Association (TIGA) represents the business interests
of independent games developers.

The International Games Developers Association (IGDA)