IAT410 Advanced Game Design

My Roles

Lab instructor and teaching assistant.
Responsible for leading individual/group discussion sections, technical tutorials, living coding and debugging of 25-50 students, grading assignments, preparing and giving 2-hour lab tutorials once per week throughout the semester.

Course Introduction

A fundamentally human pursuit, games provide a vital window into human nature. Through understanding what motivates people and what constitutes “fun” we can create more meaningful and engaging experiences in all areas of digital and interactive media. This course explores game design from both a theoretical and applied standpoint. We will explore the various aspects of games – from “indie” to “triple A” titles – including mechanics, emotion, agency, balance, motivation and the process of making games (plan, build, test and repeat!). It’s important to note that game design principles can be applied in ALL areas of digital media.
The course will consist of advanced level seminars and game deconstructions. Students will be expected to participate in classroom activities, and should show up prepared (having completed any necessary readings, or consumed any relevant media requested). Throughout the course of the semester, students will write critical analyses of existing games using the principles taught in class, complete individual and/or team-based assignments, and deliver a final team-based (4-5 students) comprehensive game-design document and accompanying digital game prototype. The course is capped by a final class presentation of each team’s project.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course students will be able to:
• Identify and practice key design elements such as mechanics, dynamics, core pillars,etc.
• Critically analyze and discuss games in terms of their technical structure.
• Identify key genres, trends, themes, and tropes.
• Discuss game design as a manifestation of human-centric design.
• Provide concrete examples of how the concepts of “play” and “fun” can be applied in any interactive media.
• Understand the iterative process of making a game.
• Effectively articulate critical reviews of games and related media.
• Apply cognitive principles to explain player/user motivation and engagement in digital media.
• Prepare a comprehensive design document appropriate for real-world use.
• Produce and playtest digital prototypes to test some/all of their game assumptions.
• Articulate their design and prototypes to faculty and students.

Teaching Methods

Technical Tutorials: Each lab has a 45-60 minute programming tutorial at the beginning, which is closely related to the lecture’s concepts. The students will follow the tutorials through live coding and ask questions.

Assignments & Projects: The assignments are all project-based, where the students need to code different simulation environments. The outcomes are open-ended, but the technical requirements are derived from the course concepts.

Quizzes & Exams: Three in-class 30 mins quizzes and the final exam test students’ knowledge of the lecture material, readings, and programming capabilities.


Student Sample Projects

To be coming…





Back to Teaching.