Unit 72 Computer Game Design

Unit code: H/502/5671   QCF Level 3: BTEC National

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Introduction to the unit requirements and resources:

Aim and purpose

The aim of this unit is to provide learners with an understanding of the underlying principles of game design. Learners will examine visual style and gameplay present in games by undertaking structured gameplay. They will generate game design ideas and learn about and prepare initial formal documentation to communicate these ideas.


Unit introduction

Game design is about daydreams. But these dreams must be communicated to team members, managers and financial backers. They must then be developed and documented for others to implement and this is a matter of engaging with some challenging realities. Consideration has to be given to identifying those unique features that will make them into playable top titles. All ideas must be recorded to provide a starting point and a reference against which entrepreneurs can make judgements on the risk involved in investing in the development of the game.

The unit aims to provide learners with an understanding of the underlying principles of game design that define the way that games work. Learners must appreciate these key game attributes before applying them to their own game ideas.

Ideas generation is a very necessary component of the initial development of every game. Having achieved the unit learners will be able to make decisions about potential audiences and identify potential ideas sources. They will have an opportunity to practise methods to stimulate and capture imaginings, and compare their ideas with existing titles.

Using more formal documentation, game studios record and communicate the concepts they hope to develop. The formal design proposal document (or ‘treatment’) becomes an initial instrument to inspire development teams and sets out a designer’s initial aspirations and vision of the final product. The systematic recording and development of these initial dreams and ideas allows consideration and application of the game design principles. A much briefer ‘pitch’ or ‘high concept’ one-page document advertises the new game idea, and is used as a preliminary taster to whet appetite and gain an invitation to develop the treatment document. This unit will introduce learners to both the high concept and the treatment documents.

Modern game development involves the world of finance to provide entrepreneurial backing, enabling tentative ideas to become titles on shelves in stores. These financial backers must be convinced that the risk they take has some chance of returning their investment. This unit provides an opportunity to develop skills in making that all-important pitch to gain the initial contract.



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Baylis P, Freedman A, Procter N et al – BTEC Level 3 National Creative Media Production, Teaching Resource Pack (Pearson, 2010) ISBN 978-1846907371

Adams E and Rollings A – Game Design and Development (Fundamentals of Game Design) (Prentice Hall, 2006) ISBN 978-0131687479

Atkins B – More Than a Game: The Computer Game as Fictional Form (Manchester University Press, 2003) ISBN 978-0719063657

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Fullerton – Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games
(Morgan Kaufmann, 2008) ISBN 978-0240809748

Handler Miller C – Digital Storytelling: A Creator’s Guide to Interactive Entertainment (Focal Press, 2008) ISBN 978-0240809595

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Laramee F D (editor) – Game Design Perspectives (Charles River Media, 2002) ISBN 978-1584500902

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ISBN 978-0072228991

Michael D – The Indie Game Development Survival Guide (Charles River Media, 2003) ISBN 978-1584502142

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ISBN 978-1592730018

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Zimmerman E and Salen K – Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals (The MIT Press, 2003)
ISBN 978-0262240451


Project Ideas: Padlet


PEGI European age rating for games   |  ESRB US age rating for games