Introduction to Game Design (Winter 2020/21)

This course is primarily focused on the basics of game design and secondarily we will discuss recent developments in the video game market in relation to game design.


Follow the appropriate channel at Gamedev Discord!

or contact me via email


Lectures: Fridays, 12:20, online (we start 9.10.2020)

Labs: Fridays, 13:10, online (we start 9.10.2020)

All the lectures and labs will happen online, I will send you appropriate links every week before the lecture. The lectures will be recorded and shared with you through emails.



To be able to attend the exam, you have to have at least 60 points from the assignments and the attendance. Then, you can get 40 points for the exam.
Grade A 100 – 91 points
Grade B 90 – 81 points
Grade C 71 – 80 points

1) 9 small assignments, each for 3 points
2) 2 large assignments, each for 15 points
3) 11 lesson participation, each for 1 point (based on our collaborative doc)


Oral exam for 25 minutes. I will ask you about two concepts from the section “concepts to remember” and we will talk about them + additional related questions.

Lectures + Labs

Lectures are happening through Zoom. During the lecture, we will usually also do some quick collaboration in the shared documents or I will send you some materials, so be ready for that (device-wise).

Ask your questions during the lecture or anytime on our Discord channel.

After each lecture, I will send you a quick summary.

Lectures Schedule

No. Date Topic  Concepts to remember
1. 9.10.2020 Who is a game designer

+ Playcentric paradigm

  1. The role of a game designer and their position in a team
  2. Game is not an experience, but it provides it
  3. Playcentric paradigm
  4. The Door problem
2. 16.10.2020 Games as experience

+ Formal Aspects of Games

  1. Game Design and introspection
  2. Importance of experience
  3. Formal aspects of games
  4. „Magic circle“
  5. Definition of games
3. 23.10.2020 What are games and

why it is important?

  1. Limits of game definitions
  2. Games for Health
  3. Four basic elements of games
  4. Ludonarrative dissonance
4. 6.11.2020 Game design document

and Structure of Games

  1. Games of emergence
  2. Games of progression
  3. Game design document – functions
  4. Game design document – features
5. 13.11.2020 Cursed Game design problems
  1. Cursed game design problems
  2. The four techniques to solve/mitigate them
 6. 20.11.2020          . Dramatic elements

of video games

  • Dramatic elements:
  1. Challenge (Concept of Flow)
  2. Play
  3. Premise
  4. Characters
  5. Structuring the story (Linear vs Emerging storytelling, issues with branching in storytelling)
  6. Conflict (Classic dramatic arc)
7. 27.11.2020 Create your own

FMV video game

  • Practical lecture of Charles FMV engine
8. 4.12.2020 History of Video Games

(pre-recorded talk)

  1. History of video games (during the lecture, focus primarily on game design patterns, their evolution and relation to monetisation and various crisis)
9. 11.12.2020 Multiplatform development

+ current trends

  1. Current trends on video game market
  2. Development for multiple platforms (potential advantages and disadvantages)
  3. What to focus on when developing for different platforms (Controls scheme, form factor/experience, interface horsepower+ general problems)
  4. Procedural rhetorics
10. 18.12.2020 Case studies

(pre-recorded videos)

  1. Indiepocalypse
  2. Consumable vs random situation generator games
  3. Case study of the development of the game Into the Breach
11. 8.1.2021 Data-Driven Game design
  • Guest Lecture by Marek-Martin Matyska (Head designer at Geewa) and Matěj Vaněček (Lead designer at Keen Software House)
  1. Use of data-driven approaches in game design
  2. Advantages and disadvantages of using data-driven design
  3. Ethical questions related to data-driven design


The practical part of your labs are assignments for each lecture.

You are expected to deliver assignments via email to get the expected amount of points.  Requirements and specification for all assignments will be send to you after each lecture with deadlines.

List of Assignments

Assignment 1 – Game Walkthrough comparison with a friend

Assignment 2 – Matching games to definitions

Assignment 3 – Solitaire Game

Assignment 4 – Favorite game on One Page Design

Assignment 5 – Comparison of Narratives in the chosen games

Assignment 6 – Chapter reading + Unity preparation

Assignment 7 – Game in the Charles Engine

Assignment 8 – Analyzing older game

Assignment 9 – Procedural rhetoric – game analysis

Assignment 10 – Questions related to provided videos