Understanding Games



How Video Games & Board Games Work

What you will learn


Identify the common features of video games and board games

Explain the main differences between video games and board games

Complete a board game prototype

Analyze games in depth

Description

This course presents a complete toolkit of ideas for understanding and making games. It is based on my university course, Introduction to Game Studies: Theory and Design, which is a course designed as a general elective that anyone in the university can take. As such, the course is entirely non-technical, and so doesn’t teach a game engine like Unity or Unreal. All of the topics covered in the course, however, can be practically applied to making games.

A unique feature of this course is that it is designed to be equally useful whether you are interested in making board games or video games. This course covers a complete toolkit of ideas for understanding and making games.  As such, the course is entirely non-technical, and so doesn’t teach a game engine like Unity or Unreal. All of the topics covered in the course, however, can be practically applied to making games, whether it’s a digital video game or an analog board game.

The first half of the course is actually focused on game theories and examples based more on board games, because obviously analog games have been around for thousands of years prior to the development of digital games. So, to lay the foundations for game design principles, we cover a lot of the main ground of game design theory by relating to examples of board games which are much easier to prototype and perhaps even more familiar to many compared to computer-based games.


The course is divided into four thematic sections, which build on each other:

  • The General Principles of Game Design
  • Storyworlds, Game Worlds & Interfaces
  • Agency, and
  • Systems

The course content is also structured to support a challenge project to design a prototype board game, to solidify  the learning.

English
language

Content

Course Intro

About the Instructor
Welcome Message (same as landing page intro video)
Course Introduction
Course Bibliography

Principles of Game Design Part 1

Boardgame Challenge
What is a Game?
Rules & Mechanics
Ideation, Brainstorming & Innovation
Online Readings & Resources
Video Summary #1
Video Summary Transcript

Principles of Game Design Part 2

Audiences, Game Titles & Player Types
Prototyping, Playtesting, Iteration & Fun
Affordances, Game Dynamics, Gameplay & Core Loops
Eurogames vs Amerigames
Online Readings & Resources
Online Readings & Resources
Video Summary #2
Video Summary Transcript

Principles of Game Design Part 3

Pillars, Goals, Features & Elements
Game State, Information & Movement
Themes and Narrative
Video Summary #3
Video Summary Transcript

Principles of Game Design Part 4

Chance, Probability & Fairness
Skill & Decision Making
Trade-Offs, Dilemmas, Sacrifices, Risk & Reward
Strategy, Tactics & Feedback
Actions, Events, Choices, Time & Turn Taking
Winning & Losing
Video Summary #4
Video Summary Transcript

Principles of Game Design Part 5

Balance & Tuning
Difficulty & Mastery
Economies
Game Documentation
Online Readings & Resources
Video Summary Transcript

Storyworlds, Game Worlds and Interfaces Part 1

Game Worlds, Dimensionality & Time
Environment, Culture & Emotion
Ethics, Morality, Violence & Realism
Video Summary #6
Video Summary Transcript

Storyworlds, Game Worlds and Interfaces Part 2

Game Genres & Tropes
The Magic Circle
Rogers on Storywriting
Mapping & Wayfinding
Online Readings & Resources
Video Summary #7
Video Summary Transcript

Storyworlds, Game Worlds and Interfaces Part 3

Levels
Layouts
Atmosphere & Progression
Online Readings & Resources
Video Summary #8
Video Summary Transcript

Agency

Agency
Demographics by Age & Sex
Gamer Dedication
Games & Current Events
Video Summary #9
Video Summary Transcript

Systems Part 1

History of Video Games
Common Digital Gaming Platforms
Systems Concepts
Online Readings & Resources
Video Summary #10
Video Summary Transcript

Systems Part 2

Flowcharting, Algorithms & Pseudocode
Overview of Video Game Systems
Video Summary #11
Video Summary Transcript

Systems Part 3

Core Mechanic Systems
Non-Core Mechanic Systems: Economies
Non-Core Mechanic Systems: Progression
Non-Core Mechanic Systems: Social Dynamics
Video Summary #12
Video Summary Transcript

Special Topics: Blogging & Research Writing

Blogs & White Papers
Research Writing
How to Write Research Essays

Other Uses of Game Engines

VR, Music Videos & Live Visuals
Music Video Example #1: Syzygy
Music Video Example #2: Down Temp Oh
Music Video Example #3: Rasasvada
Music Video Example #4: Metanoia
Conceptual Music Video
VJ Loop Example #1
VJ Loop Example #2
VJ Loop Example #3
VJ Loop Example #4

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