Introduction to Game Design LiveLessons (Video Training)
By John Sharp, Colleen Macklin
Publisher: Pearson
Final Release Date: November 2014
Run time: 4 hours 5 minutes


Introduction to Game Design LiveLessonsintroduces you to a play-based approach to game design through the creation of a video game from start to finish. Along the way, the lessons identify the primary characteristics of games and different strategies for creating them as well as the iterative game design process of conceptualizing, prototyping, playtesting and evaluating.



This is a comprehensive overview of the game design process from start to finish. By following along, viewers learn the steps involved in coming up with a solid idea for a game, building different types of prototypes, methods for playtesting game prototypes and evaluating the results. The goal of this Livelesson is to provide viewers with all the tools needed to create innovative and exciting new games. Along the way, Macklin and Sharp cover a wide range of game genres and types as examples of a play-centric approach to making games, and delve into the reasons why they are successful.

The source code repository for this LiveLesson can be found at


About the Instructor

Colleen Macklinis a game designer, an Associate Professor in the school of Art, Media and Technology at Parsons The New School for Design, where she has been teaching interaction and game design for over 20 years. Macklin is also founder and co-director of PETLab (Prototyping Education and Technology Lab), a lab that develops games for experimental learning and social engagement. PETLab projects include disaster preparedness games and sports with the Red Cross, the urban activist game Re:Activism and the physical/fiscal sport Budgetball. PETLab has also published game design curricula for the Boys & Girls Club. She is a member of the game design collective Local No. 12, best known for their social card game, the Metagame. Her work has been shown at Come Out and Play, UCLA Art|Sci Center, The Whitney Museum for American Art and Creative Time.

John Sharpis a designer, art historian, curator and educator with over twenty five years of involvement in the creation and study of art and design. John's design work focuses on cultural games, artgames and non-digital games. His current research addresses game aesthetics, the history of play, and the creative process. John is the Associate Professor of Games and Learning at Parsons The New School for Design. Along with Colleen Macklin, John co-directs PETLab (Prototyping, Education and Technology Lab), a research group focused on games and their design as a form of social discourse. John has written in numerous publications. He is associate editor of ETC Press Well Played series and is co-editor of the forthcoming Pamphleteer Series, along with David Thomas. His recent curation work includes "Spacewar!: Video Games Blast Off at the Museum of the Moving Image" and co-curation of "XYZ: Alternative Voices in Game Design" at the Museum of Design Atlanta. John is a member of the game design collective Local No. 12 along with Colleen Macklin and Eric Zimmerman (Arts Professor, New York University Game Center), a company focused on finding play in cultural practices. Along with Peter Berry, John is a partner in Supercosm, where he focuses on interaction and game design for arts and education clients.


Skill Level

  • All Levels
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced


What You Will Learn

· How to break down the elements of a game

· The different tools designers use to create play experiences

· The different kinds of play experiences

· How to use a wide range of game design techniques

· The game design process in detail


Who Should Take This Course

· Those interested in learning how to design games, and those with experience looking for a new approach to thinking about games.


Course Requirements

  • n/a


Table of Contents

Part 1: Principles

Lesson 1: What is a Game? And What is Game Design?

1.1 Understand the relationship between games and play

1.2 Define the elements of games as play machines

1.3 Use abstraction as a game design tool

1.4 Use indirect actions as a game design tool

1.5 Use storytelling as a game design tool

1.6 Use decision-making and feedback as game design tools

Lesson 2: The Kinds of Play

2.1 Consider how games generate different kinds of play experiences

2.2 Analyze competitive play

2.3 Analyze cooperative play

2.4 Analyze chance-based play

2.5 Analyze whimsical play

2.6 Analyze role-playing

2.7 Analyze simulation-based play

2.8 Think about the kinds of play as a game designer

Lesson 3: Designing Play Experiences

3.1 Understand how design values guide a game's design

3.2 Use player point of view and player perception as design values

3.3 Use theme as a design value

3.4 Use decision-making as a design value

3.5 Use challenge as a design value

3.6 Use chance and strategy as design values

3.7 Analyze the role of context in game design

3.8 Make design values the guideposts of game design

Part 2: Practice

Lesson 4: The Game Design Process

4.1 Understand the iterative game design cycle

4.2 Give form to your idea

4.3 Prototype your game

4.4 Playtest your game

4.5 Evaluate your game

4.6 Understand the art of the iterative cycle

Lesson 5: Conceptualizing your Game

5.1 Generate ideas for your game

5.2 Design your game around a certain kind of player response

5.3 Use brainstorming techniques to come up with game ideas

5.4 Bring your ideas into focus

Lesson 6: Prototyping your Game

6.1 Understand the role of prototyping in the game design process

6.2 Make paper prototypes of your game

6.3 Make physical prototypes of your game

6.4 Make digital prototypes of your game

6.5 Turn your prototypes into designs

Lesson 7: Playtesting your Game

7.1 Run internal playtests of your prototypes

7.2 Prepare for an external playtest of your prototype

7.3 Run an external playtest of your prototype

Lesson 8: Evaluating your Game

8.1 Review comments and observations from the playtest

8.2 Identify the strengths of your prototype

8.3 Identify the weaknesses of your prototype

8.4 Brainstorm solutions for refining your game

Lesson 9: Repeating the Iterative Cycle

9.1 Think about game design as an iterative cycle

9.2 Explore approaches to game prototyping

9.3 Explore approaches to playtesting

9.4 Document your prototypes and playtests

Lesson 10: Moving from Iteration to Production

10.1 Understand the relationship between iteration and production

10.2 Understand how to know when you are done iterating

10.3 Think through the basics of production

10.4 Begin building excitement about your game


About LiveLessons Video Training

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