GAME DESIGN - 2019/0

Module code: DMA2011

Module Overview

In the broad sweep of human cultural activity and its manifestation through the wider history of art and culture, digital games are a relatively recent phenomenon. However the intrinsic human activity of play – in its many incarnations – is arguably one of our most ancient forms of expression and cultural interaction. Drawing from ideas about play in general and digital games in particular, this module offers an introduction to ‘game design’; exploring some of the ways in which we create, devise and formulate game ideas and from there how these can be specified, communicated and demonstrated. A mixture of imagination, creativity and technical implementation, you will undertake game design through both written/illustrated documentation as well as practical prototyping using tools and techniques commonly used in commercial game studios of all shapes and sizes.

Module provider

Music and Media

Module Leader

SILKSTONE Eleanor (Music & Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

JACs code: I620

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 130

Lecture Hours: 20

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

DMA1010 Computers and Coding or equivalent

Module content

Indicative content:

  • Introduction to Games and Play; Audiences and Players

  • Game Design Frameworks

    • Environments and World Design

    • Stories in Games and Games in Stories

    • Game Granularity and Structure: Levels, Scenes, Episodes, Chapters, Chunks

  • Game Design Components

    • Playable Characters/Entities/Units

    • Static and Responsive Components: Objects, Props, Obstacles

    • Systems, Rulebases and Game Mechanics

    • Screen Spaces, Virtual Cameras and Compositional Dynamics

    • Animation and Movement

    • Interface Design

  • Game Design Documentation

  • Prototyping

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate (i) understanding of game design specification and prototyping techniques; (ii) creative, compositional and problem solving skills; (iii) how these are applied to digital media arts practice in general and game design practice in particular.

Summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Coursework – Portfolio Submission (100%): the portfolio consists of project outputs in the form of a Game Design Document, game prototype(s), a reflective synopsis or reflective journal and a live demonstration of the game prototype.

Formative assessment and feedback

  • The module includes regular assignments covering creative responses and production skills for the topics and techniques under investigation.

  • In particular, formative assessment will be made of an initial Game Design Document and a pitch presentation to the class. Direct feedback will be given in these cases regarding quality, standard and areas for improvement.

  • Formative assessment is given through group critiques and individual tutorials. Work-in-progress presented will be given direct feedback regarding its quality and standard.

  • During the seminar sessions held in the run-up to submission of assessed works, students are given support and feedback on works in progress.

Module aims

  • Provide students with support to further develop creative and production skills
  • Guide students in understanding how digital media arts practices are applied within industry
  • Provide opportunities for students to learn industry relevant tools and practices
  • Support students in focusing their practice

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Generate ideas, concepts, proposals, solutions or arguments in response to set briefs C
2 Comprehend implications and potential for Digital Media Arts presented by new developments in the Video Games industries K
3 Demonstrate ability to combine multiple techniques learned at level 4 (still imagery, audio, video, animation, interaction) in the creation of a video game K
4 Realise negotiated practical outcomes taking into account creative, logistical, and budgetary requirements C
5 Study independently, set goals, manage their own workloads and meet deadlines PT
6 Select, test and make appropriate use of software, processes and environments PT
7 Select and employ communication and information technologies. PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to enable students to formulate ideas for working games, and to use audio-visual material, written design documentation, physical materials and/or software prototypes to demonstrate these ideas. The students will build on skills acquired in previous units, extending these skills where appropriate using game development software tools and techniques.

The learning and teaching methods may include

  • Lectures

  • Workshops

  • Critiques and individual tutorials

  • Assignments

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: DMA2011

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Digital Media Arts with Media Studies BA (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Digital Media Arts BA (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2019/0 academic year.