Degree in Digital Arts - Minor in Concept Art

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Games design

In this course, we explore the fundamentals of game design. We will create non-digital (non-computer) games. This is importantto understand the basic conceptsinvolved in a game and to sharpen our understanding of games by criticizing them. While you may not feel that all the information is relevant to digital game development, rest assured that all games share the fundamentals that allow game designers to work in any medium to create games. We will discuss some digital gamesin our learning materials as well. Students will play and analyze video games while reading documents and articlesfrom a variety ofsources in the social sciences and industry. Students must understand what the differences are between programming and game design. The course requires regular reading, writing, and presentation exercises.
Type Subject

Titular Professors

Previous Knowledge

Understand the principles of game design and game development phases
Create traditional games such as board and card games
Prepare digital games
Demonstrate capacity to communicate
Demonstrate a capacity for critical analysis of the theoretical and practical contexts relevant to this area
Identify and apply appropriate research methods and theoretical frameworks for game design
Articulate a presentation
Demonstrate capacity to communicate
Write a game design document (GDD) using the vocabulary acquired in class


Role of the Game Designer and iterative design.
What are the differences between game programming and game design.
What is a game?
Defining digital games, board games, card games, mix games.
Games as emergent systems.
The 4 basic elements.
Iteration and game development phases.
Interface (UI)
Game Heuristics.
Design your game interface.
Types of players.
Game design document (GDD)
The porpose of documents.
Documents and game development phases.
Creating a great pitch for the client.


The topics of the week and the in-class exercises are designed to give you a broad theoretical, analytical and conceptual understanding of game design. Our goal is to understand what makes a game and then go about creating games. As a game designer, students need to provide information to players about the content of their game, about how to play it (the things they need to do to progress in the game and the rules), and about the winning conditions. Students need to motivate people to play their games in the first place. Players need to feel empowered by the choices offered by their game and designing a game is essentially about designing meaningful and interesting choices for players. You are expected to create smaller games throughout the course. Students need to understand what are the differences between game programming and game design.

The first component of this course is game analysis. The students will choose a game and will prepare their analysis. They will hold a 5 minutes presentation using topics and keywords covered in readings. The second component of this course and the centerpiece will be to design games that the students will create and develop over the 18 weeks of this course using an iterative process. The third component will be playtesting. Playtesting is necessary to serve as a wakeup call and force students to solve the problems they have in their game and is part of the iterative process. Students will present a report. The next component will be a Game Design Document (GDD). The purpose of the GDD is to implement the same theories and practices discussed in class. The students will select a topic and will start working with a structure. The GDD will then describe the overall vision of the game. At the end of the course, the students will prepare and they will hold a public presentation. In the public presentation, they will have the opportunity to discuss their game and developing their own understanding of the topics covered in lectures and readings. The final component of this course is their final pitch. As the course progresses, the students will also begin to work in their pitch. They have to convince that their game is worth the risk.


Your grade will be determined based on:


P1 Design a game
It includes Playtesting
P2 Analysis

It includes Game Design Document
P4 Game pitch

Evaluation Criteria
Basic Bibliography

MDA Framework, Robin Hunicke, Marc LeBlanc y Robert Zubek
The Art of Game Design, Jesse Schell. ED Morgan Kaufmann, 2008
100 cosas sobre la gente que cada diseñador debe saber, Susan M. Weinschenk. Anaya Multimedia, 2011
A theory of fun, Raph Koster. ED Paraglyph Press, 2004
Level up, Scott Rogers. ED Wiley, 2010
Power ups, Juan Pablo Ordoñez, ED Plan B, 2013
Jugabilidad y videojuegos, Jose Luís González Sánchez. ED Académica española, 2011

Additional Material