The Formal Elements of Game Design

Play comes in many forms. Photo by Christina Wodtke

The Formal Elements of Game Design

This is my lecture for CS247g, Introduction to Game Design. It’s a lecture I first developed for conference workshops then re-purposed for both CCA and Stanford. I own the copyright but I have made is a share and attribute licence so you can reuse. It’s also my first go at this kind of lecturing (online with slides and drawing on Explain Everything), so please be kind!

If you want to “play along,” students learn how to sketchnote and will sketchnote all assignments. You should too; it will improve retrieval. They start by doing the exercises in The Sketchbook Handbook and they end up being pretty darn good!(see results here)

This knowledge is based on the edu sessions at GDC, long conversations with Erin Hoffman and the WONDERFUL Game Design Handbook. The value of learning the formal and dramatic elements is mostly to do effective Critical Play; i.e. learning to play like a Game Designer (videos at end.)

Also assigned this week

WATCH: Playing like a game designer pt1 & 2

Write down 3–5 biases you have.

And more! But I need to get back to the grind…

Here are the slides

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

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