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The University of Southampton

ARTD1114 Interrogate, Investigate, Instigate

Module Overview

Through a series of interconnected projects, you will be introduced to a range of activities and workshops to engage in design thinking and design research processes connected to game making. This includes field trips, observational drawing, critical thinking, design thinking, game asset creation, prototyping and project management methodologies. Starting points will be provided to engage in an analytical and reflective process that will culminate in a portfolio of work that translates and communicates your ideas via a series of game making approaches that evidence your learning. Each project alongside your creative investigation will culminate in a games related artefact, prototypes and a series of outcomes. The learning within each project will build throughout the semester and you will start to create a personal toolkit for your own game making and creative investigation. The last project in the module will culminate in outward facing pop up arcade event held on campus. Your portfolio should consist of all studio work developed over the course of the semester, including evidence of workshop and tutorial activities, all sketchbooks, research, annotation and preparatory material alongside outcomes specified within the projects.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • how an awareness of a contextual theme can influence your work in relation to Games Design practice;
  • some of the basic concepts and methodologies particular to making;
  • an introductory range of core skills specific to Games Design Practice.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • begin to translate research processes into practical and experimental outcomes;
  • begin to apply design thinking to utilise different working methods;
  • make decisions regarding the use of basic techniques and processes in the practice of producing simple game outcomes.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • communicate your ideas coherently;
  • develop interpersonal skills and peer working;
  • meet set deadlines to fulfil portfolio requirements.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • use 2d games specific software, coding and related methodologies.


TThis module provides you with an opportunity to develop a research led approach to games design at a basic level and introduce you to a range of pertinent practices, techniques, methodologies and skills associated with game practice. The projects and content of this module provided a focused pathway to the development of your practical skills and conceptual awareness of Games Design & Art. Through theme-informed introductions to content and critical thinking you will explore your ideas and develop an understanding of how different components make up a game. An important feature of this module is the way in which your involvement with the practices, techniques and content of game production can begin to direct and focus your thinking towards an individual understanding of specialist practice within games practice. In this module you will undertake activities that will introduce you to basic design research practices and principles, observational drawing and related techniques, design thinking process and idea generation methodologies alongside principles and application in game asset construction, including but not limited to concept and mood boards, colour theory, 2d design processes for both assets and game coding, 2d animation, storyboarding, game design, character design and project management techniques suitable to game practice. These examples are illustrative and not exhaustive. They may vary each academic year. The module will consist of a number of projects that will span the semester utilising methods introduces to create a portfolio of work both individually and working with others. others.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: • Talks • Field trips • Project briefings • Tutorials • Group critiques • Workshops inductions • Supporting material distributed via virtual learning environments (VLE) such as Blackboard, Panopto and Bob National Learning activities include: • Review and revision of material provided in lectures and VLE’s • Workshops • Observational drawing activities • Research method inductions • Using, comparing and evaluating specialist resources for Games Design & Art. • Team work • Discussion • Presentations • Group critiques • Various Tutorial Activities • Peer group learning • Self-assessment • Academic Skills Hub Relationship between the teaching, learning and assessment methods and the planned learning outcomes In this module teaching and learning activities will focus on helping you to develop research led critical skills through making which you will explore through a series projects. You will experience a variety of workshop inductions that are designed to both give you an introduction to the specialist areas of Games Design and Art and offer you tools through which to experiment and explore your projects. Talks, workshops, tutorial activities and project briefings will introduce you to the projects and contextualise your thinking. Tutorial activities will allow you to reflect on and discuss the projects as they progress and how it bears on your own practical work and the work of others.

Follow-up work52
Supervised time in studio/workshop25
Completion of assessment task125
Preparation for scheduled sessions25
Wider reading or practice70
Practical classes and workshops65
Total study time450

Resources & Reading list (via Blackboard). 

Sicart, M (2014). Play Matters,. 

Holmes, D., (2012). A Mind Forever Voyaging,. 

Perea, A (2012). Epistemic Game Theory: Reasoning and Choice. 

Salen, K. & Zimmerman, E (2004). Rules of Play. 

Wigan, M. (2015). Thinking Visually for Illustrators. 

Academic Skills hub.

Solarski, C. (2012.).  Drawing Basics and Video Game Art.. 

Design Thinking for Visual Communication (2015). Design Thinking for Visual Communication. 

Bateman, C., 2007 (2007). Game Writing: Narrative Skills for Videogames (Charles River Media Game Development). 

Isbister, K. (2016). How Games Move Us,. 

Juul, J., (2013). The Art of Failure,. 

Bestley, R. & Noble, I., (2016).  Visual Research. 

Guardian Games.

Glossary of Terms.


Dille, F. and Platten, J.Z. (2007). The Ultimate Guide to Video Game writing and Design published. 

Adams, E. (2010). Fundamentals of Game Design. 

Elwes, R 2010 (2010). Maths 1001: Absolutely everything that matters in mathematics. 

Schell, J., (2015). The Art of Game Design. 

Panopto recordings. via Blackboard


Sharp, J. (2015). Works of Game. 

McCloud, S (1994). Understanding Comics. 

Norman, D.A. (2013). The Design of Everyday Things,. 

Sherrod, A. (2008). Games Graphic Programming. 

Costikyan, G. (2013).  Uncertainty in Games. 

Bossom, A. (2016).  Video Games. 

Dutta, P., (1999). Strategies and Games: Theory and Practice. 

Rogers, S., (2014). Level Up! The Guide to Great Video Game Design. 

Salmond, M. (2016). Video Game Design. 



Portfolio Development


MethodPercentage contribution
Digital presentation 20%
Portfolio 80%


MethodPercentage contribution
Portfolio 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Portfolio 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Equipment and Materials

Costs associated with the module may include key texts, studio related materials, sketchbooks, printing, photocopies, USB stick/s, and external hard-drive. The cost of material and media may vary depending on the nature of your chosen response to your studio project. The quality and choice of materials and media in producing your final work will be directed by you, however some basic materials may be made available to you for free in certain modules i.e. paper, calico. Required Sketchbooks / notebooks Implements for drawing / writing Credit for printing and copying Tape Scissors and or scalpel Any material that you may wish to use for experimentation and production of your work Memory stick Optional Software subscriptions (such as Adobe CC) Hard Drive Laptop Camera Provided Office 365 subscription General studio Materials (paper, pens) Materials and media for certain workshops A field trip is core to this module and will be funded by the programme


Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase the mandatory/ additional text as appropriate

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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