Basic Introduction to Game Design

Introduction and Course Syllabus

Cite this article as: Lennart Nacke. (September 4, 2014). Introduction and Course Syllabus. The Acagamic. Retrieved September 19, 2020, from

Welcome to the class: Basic Introduction to Game Design. My name is Dr. Lennart Nacke. I help people understand how to design and evaluate games. I am teaching this class in the Fall 2014 at UOIT (INFR 1330). Today, I am going to show you how this course works and how you are going to benefit from the information that I can provide to you.

“Anything is only as good as you make it and nothing is going to be easy.” (Kate Beaton)

Evoland Screenshot

Evoland (Shiro Games, 2013). In-Game Screenshot.

If you are reading this, you probably already know that game design is important for developing games, but did you know that there is no formal way to teach game design, yet? Other game development disciplines like art or programming have a more formalised curriculum, because their outcomes are visible and, therefore, easier to critique. We can easily point out errors (or bugs) in a computer program and critique artwork (at least on a superficial level). However, design is much harder to grasp. We often say that a game is not fun, but do we really know what that means? After all, many games require learning complex procedural sequences and involve many tactical considerations to be truly fun, for example: Minecraft (Mojang AB, 2011) and Dota 2 (Valve Corporation, 2013). In this course, we are going to find out what it means to design games. Continue reading


The Gamification of Steam

Gamification of Steam

Whether you like the new buzz term or not. Gamification – that is the use of engaging playing principles applied to desktop and consumer applications, products, and services – is a big thing in research and (non-game) industry. Even SIGCHI was kind enough to let us organize a CHI 2011 workshop on gamification. It is interesting that most of the buzz surrounding gamification comes mostly from people outside the games industry (probably the game industry just does not like the term and the badges concept). However, in December 2010, Valve took up gamification concepts to promote Steam sales, which I found particularly interesting. The sales gamification was called “The Great Steam Treasure Hunt” and it features all gaming concepts necessary to foster engagement in the Steam community: rules, goals, challenges. Continue reading