Game Studies Brief

With the other project taking up a lot of time and the distraction of Maya this module is so far not getting enough attention from me really. Yet it is an interesting one, a place to discuss games in a more engaging platform than in Game. One of the things that used to frustrate me while working there was people’s lack of interest in the product they were selling and the unwillingness to engage in conversion beyond ‘that game was crap’. I know there is a right place and time for things and trying to have a conversation delving into the meaning and design behind games and trying to define what exactly is a game – it’s not shop floor talk – but it would have made the mundane days go a little quicker! 🙂

Yet this is why I am on this course and not the coding one and it is also why I came back to Uni rather than continue down that rather dull career course. So without further ado here is an excerpt from the brief for this project:


The aim of this module is to build on the first term learning to develop a further understanding of the theory and practice of game design. Students will initially study the role of design within the game development process and will be introduced to the fundamental approaches involved in designing all elements that make up a game. Even if our desire is to become professional artists or animators in the digital games industry, we should be aware of where the assets we create will sit in relation to the other components of finished games, and some elements of what has been called game studies will be useful in this. Not all the judgements we make as producers of in-game art are aesthetic: we should always be concerned with the place our artwork will have within the overall design of a game. The purpose of this unit is to make us aware of the processes and practice of design, and to get us used to working in teams within the limits of commercial game design. Having earth-shattering genre-busting ideas is not enough on its own – we must be able to communicate those ideas both verbally and in writing, and this unit will test that communication through the submission of two short concept design documents and a game analysis that attempts to provide a critique of an existing commercial game that considers a key element (gameplay, control system, narrative, progression etc.) with academic theories of games.

Looking at it like that is looks like a rather scary wall of text, thankfully it has all been broken down into week by week sections. There are small tasks to perform each week and certain articles and books to read also. The actual marked work consists of an essay and a small group project, so it’s still the normal deliverables as it were.

Yet in the mean time I will be posting up various things in relation to this module as well, to not only keep in the habit of keeping a dev diary, but in the hope that writing things up as I go will make the essay part a little smoother.

Anyway here are the week by week subject titles for reference:


  • Introduction: What is a game?
  • Why do we play?
  • Documenting Design                                  Brief for Assessment #1 Set
  • It’s a computer game, stupid…                    Presentation of Assessment #1
  • Genre
  • Gameplay, Control, Interaction
  • Level Design
  • Practical Narrative
  • Progression
  • Designing Emergence

For now though I am going to collect the reading material and try to get as much as a head start as possible. 🙂