Game Design 1: Introduction

15 credits

Syllabus, Bachelor's level, 5SD065

A revised version of the syllabus is available.
Education cycle
First cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Game Design G1N
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
Finalised by
The Department Board, 3 February 2016
Responsible department
Department of Game Design

General provisions

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

Entry requirements

General entry requirements and Mathematics 2a/2b/2c or Mathematics B

Learning outcomes

Upon completing the course, students will be able to:

  • display a comprehensive practical and theoretical understanding of narrative structures in games, game mechanics, players and player types,
  • display a basic knowledge of the relationship between business models and game design,
  • describe and apply methods of observing and evaluating connections between game mechanics and play experiences in simple game systems,
  • identify and apply simple methods for producing design documentation,
  • communicate and visualise basic forms of game design.
  • express themselves in speech and writing in basically correct English both in situational and academic contexts,
  • critically analyse the language and composition of texts, both their own and others’, and the role played by language and composition,
  • explain and apply methods for producing academic texts.


The course begins by defining what games are, both from a research point of view and as a cultural expression. It continues with the application of basic tools for systems analysis used to break down and analyse games as systems. This method is then used to break down narrative structures and character design.

In workshops and a group project, presented both verbally and in writing, students will be able to apply methods for analysing and producing game design, documentation, project plans and game systems.

All-embracing design principles such as ‘form follows function’ are introduced as is the application of forms of expression in artistic design. The course introduces the abstract design tool MDA, used to analyse and correlate the connection between mechanics and how games are experienced. In addition, students will learn about often-used business models used in game development and gain an insight into how these affect game design.

Finally, there will be a review of various forms of documentation within game development – from concept documents via pitch and design documents to post mortems.

Theory learned during the course will be applied in a final project which will lead to a concept document to be presented verbally and reflected upon in writing.


Teaching consists of lectures, seminars and workshops.


Assessment is of verbal and written reports, including some associated with seminars. There will also be a final reflective promemoria.

To achieve the grade Pass with distinction, a Pass with distinction grade is required for the promemoria.

Uppsala University has a strict attitude towards cheating and plagiarism and disciplinary measures will be taken against students who are suspected of involvement in any kind of cheating/plagiarism. The disciplinary measures take the form of a warning and suspension for a limited period.

NB: Only a completed course may be counted towards a degree.