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Module UXS-1801:
Game Design 1

Module Facts

Run by School of Music and Media

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Eben Muse

Overall aims and purpose

In this module you will design and create games in many different genres and aesthetics using a 2D game engine. Each week you will be given a design or development challenge which will allow you to explore the potential of game mechanics, genres, narratives and challenges, and you will develop your own game aesthetic through this practical work. As welling as learning game design and mechanics patterns, you will experiment with the application of game elements to the design of gameplay. You will also develop skills in reflective practice and iterative development. By the conclusion of the module you will have researched, outlined and illustrated your products, provided a detailed creative blueprint for their shape and form, and developed a professional game proof-of-concept.

Course content

  • Game Design Patterns;
  • Building A Topdown/Side Scroller;
  • Game Technology;
  • Design Problem Solving;
  • Character Design Principles;
  • Creating A World/ Level Design;
  • Game Story Design;
  • Play Testing;
  • Reflective practice
  • Iterative design

Assessment Criteria


Good (C- to B+)

  • Strong knowledge of key areas/principles
  • Understanding of theoretical underpinnings
  • Evidence of background study
  • Limited original interpretation
  • Well known links between topics are described
  • Problems addressed by existing methods/approaches
  • Good presentation with accurate communication


Excellent (A- to A**)

  • Comprehensive knowledge
  • Detailed understanding
  • Extensive background study
  • Original interpretation
  • New links between topics are developed
  • New approach to a problem
  • Excellent presentation with very accurate communication


Threshold (D- to D+)

  • Knowledge of key areas/principles only
  • Weaknesses in understanding of main areas
  • Limited evidence of background study
  • No original interpretation
  • Only major links between topics are described
  • Limited problem solving
  • Many weaknesses in presentation and accuracy

Learning outcomes

  1. Apply principles of game design to the development of a playable prototype game

  2. Develop a game narrative and characters

  3. Implement game mechanics, dynamics and aesthetics to produce a game world that is coherent, interesting and fun

  4. Work effectively using key production processes and professional practices relevent to the game industries to produce a game prototype

  5. Research and critique sources for design of narrative, landscape, gameplay, character & genre

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Reflective portfolio 60
2D video game proposal 40

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Study group

Team meetings for iterative development and testing of game designs

Practical classes and workshops

Game development workshops


Lecture / discussion introducing practical application of game design and project management principles

Individual Project

Work independently to design and produced games for assessment.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • An understanding of creative and critical processes, and of the wide range of skills inherent in creative writing. (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.1).
  • An awareness of writing and publishing contexts, opportunities and audiences in the wider world (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.1).
  • Artistic engagement and ability to articulate complex ideas in oral and written forms. (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.2).
  • Ability to connect creative and critical ideas between and among forms, techniques and types of creative and critical praxis. (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.2; English Benchmark Statement 3.2).
  • Reflective practitioner skills, including awareness of the practice of others in collaborative learning (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.2; English Benchmark Statement 3.2).
  • Ability to formulate and solve problems, anticipate and accommodate change, and work within contexts of ambiguity, uncertainty and unfamiliarity (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.2; English Benchmark Statement 3.3).
  • Ability to engage in processes of drafting and redrafting texts to achieve clarity of expression and an appropriate style. (English Benchmark Statement 3.3; NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.2).
  • Information technology (IT) skills broadly understood and the ability to access, work with and evaluate electronic resources (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.2; English Benchmark Statement 3.3).


Resource implications for students

Students may need to purchase in expensive stationary or game assets (tokens, dice, etc)

Talis Reading list

Pre- and Co-requisite Modules


Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: