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, 31 March 2021
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 or 2b or 2c

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,
  • describe and apply agile production methods,
  • describe and apply methods of observing and evaluating connections between game mechanics and play experiences in simple game systems,
  • express themselves in speech and writing in situational and academic contexts in English,
  • perform and document a study with the use of design and theory.


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.

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.

The course is divided into three projects, starting with a group project where students develop games in groups. The second project has students creating an individual digital game using a game engine. The third project introduces playtesting as a method of study and asks students to devise a research question and then perform a small study using playtesting. The study is documented in a promemoria.

Students utilize agile production methods to complete their projects. Students then reflect on their work with respect to their own learning, and work processes, situating the theory within practice.

Project 1: Prototyping 5 credits

Assesses learning outcomes in relation to game mechanics, narrative and the correlation between game mechanics and play experiences.

Project 2: Digital Game 5 credits

Assesses learning outcomes in relation to agile production methods, game mechanics, narrative structures as well as the correlation between game mechanics and play experiences.

Project 3: Playtest and Study 5 credits

Assesses all learning outcomes.

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.


Instruction takes place through lectures and workshops as well as seminars and supervised project work.


Examination takes place at the end of every project, and is carried out through a review seminar. The final project is also examined with a written report. For module 1 and module 2, a student can achieve the grades Fail or Pass. For module 3, students can achieve the grade Fail, Pass or Pass with Distinction. For the grade Pass, students need at least the grade Pass on all three modules. For the grade Pass with Distinction, the student needs to achieve at least Pass on all modules and the grade Pass with Distinction on Module 3.

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.