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Basics of Game DesignLaajuus (5 cr)

Code: HG00CF49


5 op

Teaching language

  • English

Responsible person

  • Mika Karhulahti
  • Ilari Miikkulainen


The object of the course
Do you want to know what makes games tick? Are you interested in designing an appealing game? Basics of Game Design course helps you to understand why people play certain games, and how to design a game with goal-oriented and audience-aware approach.

After completing this course, you will be prepared to work as a game designer in multi-talented game development team.

Course competences
Cross-disciplinary competence in games
Student can analyze, evaluate and develop activities in this field.

Game production competence
Student can produce value for a game project while working in a specific specialist role.

The learning objectives of the course
The student who completes the course understands the basic aspects of human psychology from the game design perspective. The student is able to determine the aesthetics, requirements and design decisions required to implement a game as an artefact that creates the experience for the player. The student understands principles of monetization as part of the game design process.

The student learns the importance of documentation and learns how to communicate design principles to development team, publishers and other stakeholders.


In the course you will be focused on the basic concepts related to game design: player experience, game mechanics, aesthetics, game balance, level design, game concepts, game worlds, different genres, monetization, interface and game controls, gameplay & playstyles, playtesting, technology, designer’s role, stories, narrative and game design documentation.

Assessment criteria, satisfactory (1)

Sufficient (1): You have knowledge in the area of game design. You know the concepts of game design and what they mean. You can work in game development project and be productive in a limited role as a designer.

Satisfactory (2): You understand the concepts of game design and how they are related to game development. You have a comprehension of the different elements of a design process. You understand the role of a game designer in game development process and can act productively.

Assessment criteria, good (3)

Good (3): You understand the concepts of game design and can apply the gained knowledge in a real-life development project. You can apply the skills and knowledge to solve problems. You can point out mechanics and analyze concepts in existing games.

Very good (4): You understand the concepts of game development thoroughly and you will be able to analyze existing games in detail. You can analytically develop processes in the production.

Assessment criteria, excellent (5)

Excellent (5): You understand the concepts of game development thoroughly and you will be able to analyze existing games critically. You can analytically discuss about the concepts in game development and present and defend (based on knowledge and evidence) your opinions. You can point out details about mechanics, correlations and balance issues in the design of existing games. You can question the presented information and give valid options. You can evaluate the processes and select the correct ones for the task at hand.