Foundations of Game Design

MDM course calendar

MDM program year:  One
MDM term(s) offered:  Term 1
Instructor:  Dr. Dave Fracchia
Credits: 3

"A fundamentally human pursuit, games provide a vital window into human nature. Through understanding what motivates people and what constitutes “fun” we can create more meaningful and engaging experiences in all areas of digital and interactive media. This course explores game design from a theoretical and applied standpoint. A complex tapestry, game design is informed by many areas, including psychology, anthropology, neuroscience and philosophy. We will explore the various aspects of games with a focus on how the brain works, from motivation, perception, narrative, mechanics, and more. We will examine a wide breadth of games from “indie” to “triple A” titles. Key will be a mastery of game design principles that can be applied in all areas of digital media, not only games.

The course will consist of graduate level seminars and game deconstructions. Students will be expected to participate in classroom activities, and should show up prepared (having completed any necessary readings, or consumed any relevant media requested).

Where appropriate, guest speakers will be brought in to provide as well rounded a course as possible.

This course will not be limited to the discussion of video games only, but will include board games, and other related pursuits. Gamification, “serious” games, and “edutainment” will also be discussed."