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Module UXS-3800:
Game Design 3

Module Facts

Run by School of Music, Drama and Performance

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Eben Muse

Overall aims and purpose

Game design is a creative practice that allows complex self-expression of a personal view of the social, cultural and physical world. It is also a creative practice bound by markets and embedded into industrial practices of production and distribution. In this module you will learn to be a creative practitioner working within the game industry. As a member of a game design team, you will develop a game concept and research its market potential. You will then work with your team to apply theory and practice to the design of an industry-standard game design document (GDD) based on that game concept and market analysis. You will have the opportunity to study the current state of the games industry learning their practices and team structures. You will learn to analyse the potential market for your game (its needs and its interests) and how to make that market aware of your product. You will also explore the latest innovations in game design, gaming technology, and the gaming communities. Your GDD will reflect a critical application of these factors as well as core principles of game aesthetics, narrative and mechanics.

Course content

  • Conceptualization
  • Functionality and balance
  • Game development teams
  • Development methodologies & strategies
  • The game industry
  • Market and audience research
  • Communicating game design
  • Design of game aesthetics and mechanics

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. Appreciate the structures of the game design indutry, including indie and AAA developers

  2. Critically evaluate and utilise current game genres and technologies

  3. Design and critically evaluate game aesthetics, narratives and mechanics

  4. Critically evaluate the impact of audiences and markets on game design

  5. Utilise appropriate game industry documentation and communication formats

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight

Work as part of a game design team to develop a functional game design document


Work within a game design team to pitch a game project

INDIVIDUAL BLOG Production Journal

Complete a weekly log reflecting on game design concepts and the development of the development team's concept.


Teaching and Learning Strategy

Private study

Self-directed research into game market and development of game design


An introduction to weekly tasks, milestones and deliverables.

Practical classes and workshops

2-hour weekly braintorming, design, development and testing workshops

Study group

Weekly, minuted team meetings to collaborate on design critique and to discuss current game innovations.


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
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • 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
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • 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).
  • The ability to synthesize information from various sources, choosing and applying appropriate concepts and methods (English Benchmark Statement 3.3).
  • 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 gather information, analyse, interpret and discuss different viewpoints (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.2; English Benchmark Statement 3.3).
  • 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

There are no special resource requirements, but students are encouraged to purchase the core texts.

Talis Reading list

Reading list

Core texts

Rouse, R. (2005) Game Design: Theory and practice. Plano, Tex: Wordware Pub.

McGuire, M., Jenkins O.C. (2009) Creating Games: Mechanics, content, and technology. Wellesly, MA: AKPeters.

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: