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Introduction to Game Design LiveLessons (Video Training)

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  • Copyright 2015
  • Edition: 1st
  • Online Video
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-405123-8
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-405123-9

5+ Hours of Video Instruction


Introduction to Game Design LiveLessons introduces you to a play-based approach to game design through the creation of a video game from start to finish. Along the way, the lessons identify the primary characteristics of games and different strategies for creating them as well as the iterative game design process of conceptualizing, prototyping, playtesting and evaluating.


This is a comprehensive overview of the game design process from start to finish. By following along, viewers learn the steps involved in coming up with a solid idea for a game, building different types of prototypes, methods for playtesting game prototypes and evaluating the results. The goal of this Livelessons video is to provide viewers with all the tools needed to create innovative and exciting new games. Along the way, Macklin and Sharp cover a wide range of game genres and types as examples of a play-centric approach to making games and delve into the reasons why they are successful.

About the Instructors

Colleen Macklin is a game designer and an Associate Professor in the school of Art, Media and Technology at Parsons The New School for Design, where she has been teaching interaction and game design for over 20 years. Macklin is also founder and co-director of PETLab (Prototyping Education and Technology Lab), a lab that develops games for experimental learning and social engagement. PETLab projects include disaster preparedness games and sports with the Red Cross, the urban activist game Re:Activism and the physical/fiscal sport Budgetball. PETLab has also published game design curricula for the Boys & Girls Club. She is a member of the game design collective Local No. 12, best known for their social card game, the Metagame. Her work has been shown at Come Out and Play, UCLA Art|Sci Center, The Whitney Museum for American Art and Creative Time.

John Sharp is a designer, art historian, curator and educator with over twenty five years of involvement in the creation and study of art and design. He is the Associate Professor of Games and Learning at Parsons The New School for Design. Along with Colleen Macklin, John co-directs PETLab (Prototyping, Education and Technology Lab), a research group focused on games and their design as a form of social discourse. John is also a member of the game design collective Local No. 12 along with Colleen Macklin and Eric Zimmerman (Arts Professor, New York University Game Center), a company focused on finding play in cultural practices. Along with Peter Berry, John is a partner in Supercosm, where he focuses on interaction and game design for arts and education clients.

Skill Level

  • All Levels
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

What You Will Learn

  • The game design process in detail
  • Techniques for creating innovative games
  • The tools designers use to create a wide range of play experiences
  • How to break down the elements of a game

Who Should Take This Course

  • Those interested in learning how to design games, and those with experience looking for a new approach to thinking about games.

Course Requirements

  • n/a

Table of Contents

Part 1: Principles

In the first three lessons of Introduction to Game Design LiveLessons, Macklin and Sharp introduce the principles and terminology of a play-focused game design process.

Lesson 1 What Is a Game?

Lesson 1 looks at what makes the design of games a thrilling but challenging practice. The analogy of games being “play machines” is introduced, along with a look at the basic elements that make up play machines. From there, some of the basic tools of game design are introduced, including abstraction, stylization, indirection and the decision-making / feedback loop.

Lesson 2: The Kinds of Play

Lesson 2 considers the different kinds of play experiences game designers create for their players. The lesson takes a close look at competitive and cooperative play, chance-based and skill-based play, whimsical play, role-playing and simulation-based play. The lesson concludes with a discussion of the differences in playing as a player, and playing as a designer.

Lesson 3: Designing Play Experiences

Lesson 3 returns to the game design tool kit, and adds a set of more nuanced tools for making play machines. The lesson introduces the concept of design values, a set of guides that establish the kind of play experience game designers want to provide their players. The lesson then examines six key factors in shaping play: player point of view and perception, theme, decision-making types, challenge, chance and strategy and context.

Part 2: Practice

In the second part of this LiveLesson series, Macklin and Sharp introduce the iterative game design cycle, and demonstrate its application in the early creation of their videogame, Ping!.

Lesson 4: The Game Design Process

Lesson 4 provides a bird’s eye view of the complete iterative game design cycle.

Lesson 5: Conceptualizing Your Game

Lesson 5 looks more closely at the first step in the iterative process: conceptualizing. Macklin and Sharp demonstrate a number of techniques for taking ideas and turning them into solid game design concepts.

Lesson 6: Prototyping Your Game

Lesson 6 explores the process for taking your ideas and beginning to give them form through experiments, or prototypes. Macklin and Sharp demonstrate the paper, physical and digital prototypes they made for their game, Ping!.

Lesson 7: Playtesting Your Game

Lesson 7 introduces the fine art of running a playtest for game prototypes. Macklin and Sharp work through the stage of playtesting: internally playtesting, preparing a plan for the playtest, and then running the playtest.

Lesson 8: Evaluating Your Game

Lesson 8 covers the important steps of evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of your game prototypes based on the feedback received during playtests. Macklin and Sharp demonstrate how they reviewed the feedback, broke it down into strengths and weaknesses, and then began looking for solutions for making their game better.

Lesson 9: Repeating the Cycle

Lessons 9 considers how game design is a series of iterative cycles that slowly flesh out the design of a game. The lesson begins by explaining the different kinds of prototypes. It then looks closely at the different kinds of playtests game designers use. The lesson concludes with a discussion of the ways to document your prototypes and playtests.

Lesson 10: Moving from Iteration to Production

Lesson 10 concludes the Introduction to Game Design LiveLessons by considering the role of the iterative game design process in relation to the larger production of a game. The lesson then provides a checklist for understanding when to transition out of iteration and design and into production. The basics of production are then introduced. Finally, Macklin and Sharp discuss some techniques for building up excitement for your game during the game design process.

About LiveLessons Video Training

The LiveLessons Video Training series publishes hundreds of hands-on, expert-led video tutorials covering a wide selection of technology topics designed to teach you the skills you need to succeed. This professional and personal technology video series features world-leading author instructors published by your trusted technology brands: Addison-Wesley, Cisco Press, IBM Press, Pearson IT Certification, Prentice Hall, Sams, and Que. Topics include: IT Certification, Programming, Web Development, Mobile Development, Home and Office Technologies, Business and Management, and more. View all LiveLessons on InformIT at: http://www.informit.com/livelessons



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