The University of Southampton

ARTD6160 Games Design Research and Development

Module Overview

This module is designed to introduce you to a range of different aspects related to the design process of Games Design. The module will cover a range of skills, including: critical thinking, conceptualization, design elements, design documentation, planning and prototyping of interactive games. This module will also cover principles and theories related to games design thinking and the applications of games in different contexts, considering contemporary issues, decision-making and new technologies.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The aims of this module are to: • Introduce you to more advanced methods in designing games • Enable you to understand research methodologies in advancing your ideas • Enable you to engage critically and effectively with ideas and concepts in developing a game • Introduce you to planning, design documentation, and prototyping games.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • Advanced concepts and methodologies for designing games
  • Advanced theories and applications related to Game Design
  • How Games Design impact society and decision making within the creative sector
  • The relevance and importance of the ideas and practices of your discipline with an understanding of the contemporary culture
  • Current techniques applicable to your own research
  • The challenges of leading and managing creativity in global contexts and multidisciplinary teams
  • How to experiment with your ideas through different working methodologies and references
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Reflect critically on your own knowledge and understanding of your subject area
  • Question and articulate concepts of contemporary theory relevant to your subject
  • Critically advance your ideas and solve complex problems
  • Recognise your own academic strengths and weaknesses, reflecting on your performance and progress and be able to respond to feedback
  • Analyse your work and derive ways of advancing your ideas through research
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Deal with complex issues relevant to your discipline with structure and creativity
  • Critically engage in constructive dialogue and debate relevant to your own work and the academic literature.
  • Apply methods of search and retrieval of electronic and text based information
  • Demonstrate your ideas through a variety of oral, written and presentation formats
  • Self-manage the development of learning and study skills
  • Successfully manage and complete an independent project
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Plan and design a game for different purposes
  • Develop a game or game components successfully from a structured design.
  • Explore, discuss and refine Game Design concepts
  • Think critically while designing a game


This module provides you with an opportunity to explore the fundamental concepts and contemporary techniques for Games Design. You will have the opportunity to design a game within a particular genre and practice the range of different skills required through workshop inductions, as well as experiment with a range of skill sets across the field of Games Design. The project aspects of this module are provided as a focused context to the development of your practical and research skills and conceptual awareness of games related to particular industry sectors. Through theme-informed introductions to content and critical thinking pertinent to your Game Design concept, you will develop an understanding of how different components make up a game for particular contexts and explore the effectiveness of your ideas. You will be encouraged to make links between your experiences of the different workshop inductions and be supported by specialists who will introduce you to some of the background and current thinking particular to Game Design. You will also consider user experience and design methodologies which are appropriate for your ideas. Topics, which may be covered, include: - Evidenced based research in Games Design - Development Game Design Methodologies (e.g. participatory design, user experience research, Game Design frameworks) - Non-player characters and environmental feedback - Novel interfaces and technologies (e.g. virtual reality, Internet of things) - Game contexts and narratives across cultures - Gender and Games - Educational and Training Games - Advergaming - Games for behaviour change (e.g. health, sustainability, etc) and serious games - Gamification - Games User Research methods (GUR) - Behavioural mapping in non-player characters - Main current debates and theories informing these debates related to game design - Game development utilising games engines - Understanding game mechanics

Special Features

The special features for this module centre around the development of an understanding of the various genres of games including research on how individuals react to the games as well as the importance of narrative design.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include - Formal lectures - Tutorials/workshops - Visiting lecturers - Case study analyses - Student led seminar presentations Learning activities include - Peer group learning - Problem solving activities - Class discussion/ critique Relationship between the teaching, learning and assessment methods and the planned learning outcomes In this module learning and teaching activities focus on helping you to develop study skills through which you can explore a set project specific to Games Design. You will experience a variety of workshop inductions that are designed to both give you an understanding to the specialist areas of Games Design and Art and offer you tools through which to experiment and explore your project. Lectures and project briefings will introduce you to the project theme and contextualise your thinking. Visiting lecturers will also help to introduce you to a variety of current themes that are being discussed in both academia and the games industry. Seminars and group critiques will allow you to reflect on and discuss the theme, how it bears on your practical work and that of others. You will have tutorials with specialist staff who will help you review your progress and, along with your Personal Tutor. Feedback on your general progress and development will be given through group discussion in the group critiques and tutorials. Informal feedback in a studio setting will provide opportunities for peer group learning and self-evaluation.

Independent Study350
Total study time400

Resources & Reading list

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

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

Dylan Holmes (7 Nov 2012). A Mind Forever Voyaging: A History of Storytelling in Video Games. 

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

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

Perea, A. (2008). Epistemic Game Theory: Reasoning and Choice. 

Bateman, C (2007).  Game Writing: Narrative Skills for Videogames. 

Solarski, C (2006). Drawing Basics and Video Game Art. 

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

Desurvire, H., Caplan, M., & Toth, J. A. (2004). Using heuristics to evaluate the playability of games. In Extended abstracts of the 2004 conference on Human factors and computing systems CHI 04. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Portfolio with supporting report  (1500 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Portfolio with supporting report  (1500 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Portfolio with supporting report  (1500 words) 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:

Other activities (e.g. visiting specialist marine stations and other institutions)

Costs will vary depending on games companies visited and any exhibitions attended. (these may not be covered by the University).


Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase the core/ recommended 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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