Syllabus for Game Design 3: System Design

Speldesign 3 - systemdesign


  • 15 credits
  • Course code: 5SD066
  • Education cycle: First cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Game Design G1F

    Explanation of codes

    The code indicates the education cycle and in-depth level of the course in relation to other courses within the same main field of study according to the requirements for general degrees:

    First cycle
    G1N: has only upper-secondary level entry requirements
    G1F: has less than 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    G1E: contains specially designed degree project for Higher Education Diploma
    G2F: has at least 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    G2E: has at least 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements, contains degree project for Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science
    GXX: in-depth level of the course cannot be classified.

    Second cycle
    A1N: has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    A1F: has second-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    A1E: contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (60 credits)
    A2E: contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (120 credits)
    AXX: in-depth level of the course cannot be classified.

  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
  • Established: 2017-02-22
  • Established by:
  • Revised: 2020-02-05
  • Revised by: The Department Board
  • Applies from: week 27, 2020
  • Entry requirements: Game Design 2: Game Development, 7.5 credits
  • Responsible department: Department of Game Design

Decisions and guidelines

The course is part of the Bachelor's programmes Game Design and Graphics, 180 Credits, Game Design and Programming, 180 Credits, Game Design and Project Leadership, 180 Credits and Game Design, 180 Credits,

Learning outcomes

Upon completing the course, students will be able to:

  • display a practical and theoretical understanding of how to structure game systems to achieve and convey specific expressions as well as ideas,
  • display a practical and theoretical understanding of how player affordance and game system design affects narrative,
  • describe, visualize and evaluate the relationship between game mechanics and play experiences in complex game systems,
  • design and develop multiplayer games in order to achieve a specific experiential and pedagogical goal,
  • design and perform tests to measure the correlation between player perception, dynamics, and player experience, as well as be able to discuss the impact of this correlation in specific contexts.


Game System Analysis 3.0 credits
The course trains the use of several abstract tools which students analyse, evaluate and create complex game systems. Applying theory and tools for structuring, presenting and evaluating game systems, students analyse and evaluate games and  game systems, in order to understand them. The purpose is to gain an understanding of how complicated chains of mechanics affect intuitiveness and ease of use of a game system, as well as the experience of the player.

Game Development & Testing 6.0 credits
Students apply the theory of game systems in the design and development of a multiplayer board game in groups, using an iterative method to test, evaluate and prototype the design during development. Students visualize and present select game systems from their production.

Playtest and Report Writing 6.0 credits
In groups, students design, develop, and test a game with a pedagogic objective, while performing and documenting a study based on their development and testing, with the aim to gain an understanding of factors influencing the game's ability to convey its subject matter efficiently. The study forms the basis for a written report, where students document their study.


Teaching is comprised of lectures, seminars, workshops and project work.


Assessment is of written reports, seminars and workshops.

The course grades are Pass, Pass with distinction or Fail. To obtain the grade Pass with Distinction, the student has to achieve Pass with Distinction on the written report during the first assessment period.

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the University´s disability coordinator.
Uppsala University does not accept cheating or plagiarism. Suspected incidents of cheating or plagiarism are reported to the Vice-Chancellor, which may issue a formal warning to the student or suspend the student from studies for a certain period.
NOTE: Only completed courses can count toward a degree.

Reading list

Reading list

Applies from: week 27, 2020

  • Koster, Raph A theory of fun for game design

    Scottsdale, AZ: Paraglyph Press, 2005

    Find in the library

  • Salen, Katie; Zimmerman, Eric Rules of play [Elektronisk resurs] : game design fundamentals

    Johanneshov: TPB, 2011

    Find in the library



Article: Wilcox, Steve, 2013. Procedural diegesis; Treating the game engine as co-author. [Available at:] Article: Wodtke, Christina, 2017. Five Models for Making Sense of ComplexSystems.

Article: Cook, Daniel, 2007. The chemistry of game design. Gamasutra. [Available at:] Article: Librande, Stone, 2010. One page designs. GDC vault. [Available at:] Article: Smith, Harvey, 2010. What happened here? Enviromental storytelling. GDC vault. [Available at:]