Game Design Studio ARCH11254

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NB This page is currently being revised for 2016-17 session

Semester 2, 20 credits. Course organiser: Jules Rawlinson

Tuesdays 11.10 – 13.00, Atrium, Alison House


This course looks in detail at non-linear design scenarios, particularly those that pertain to computer games. The course addresses examples of interactive environments and approaches to open-ended structures brought about by ubiquitous and portable devices and digital distribution across a variety of media.

Participation in this course is intended to lead to a deep understanding of the issues encountered in detailed non-linear interactions, from sonic, visual, narrative and experiential perspectives.

Participants will expand their own approaches to understanding and interpreting narrative by developing studies in reactive and non-linear environments in response to supplied project briefs. Over this course you will progress from developing assets for use in an interactive environment to collaboratively developing a working game scenario using professional tools.

The project uses individual and collaborative tasks and critique to develop work for a participant’s professional portfolio.


  • Non-linearity
  • Articulating spaces
  • Communicating narrative
  • Open form and configurable experiences
  • Multiplicity

Learning Outcomes

  • Skills in designing interactive environments.
  • Knowledge of technologies used in developing interactive environments.
  • Ability to translate and communicate narrative and articulate space.
  • Critical understanding of aesthetic,structural and technical issues around interactivity.
  • Experience of working independently and collaboratively to create engaging virtual environments.


Coursework is used to assess progress in, and understanding of, the practice of developing virtual environments, and allows students to develop and apply knowledge and skills across the duration of the course as the focus shifts from generating assets to structuring interactions. Practical work is accompanied by a written reflective critique informed by design theory and practice.

Submission 1 – Library of assets suitable for use in an interactive setting that responds creatively to a given brief: 40%

Submission 2 – Showcase of game or virtual environment constructed in non-linear scripting tools such as FMOD, Unity and/or other suitable tools: 60%

Criteria for Assessment

Work will be assessed on the basis of:

  • Demonstrated skills in conceiving, creating and implementing your design work
  • Demonstrated abilities in meeting the requirements of the project brief while imaginatively responding to open-ended design challenges
  • Demonstrated technical competences with design and multimedia production tools
  • Demonstrated management of available resources, including time and technology
  • Demonstrated awareness of contextual and critical relevance
  • Precision and competence in presentation, including well formatted documentation of the work
  • Design quality of the work in terms of meeting functional requirements, legibility, usability, interactivity, and appropriate use of media
  • Account will be taken of the risks taken and degree to which the design deviates from standard solutions.

Please note that assessment will take account of tradeoffs between the above criteria, particularly taking account of the diverse backgrounds of students in the class.

You are encouraged to seek feedback during the development of your work, but please note that adhering to feedback does not guarantee a high assessment of the completed work. Note also that the assessment of the work is not necessarily commensurate with the amount of time spent on the project work.

We will offer constructive feedback on the submissions but cannot give detailed feedback on every detail of the work submitted. Within four weeks of the first submission you will have received short written feedback on your work and a provisional mark, to be confirmed after the exam board in May/June of the year of study.

Tutors may refer to the risks taken in response to the brief, the conceptual approach you’ve taken with your design, the quality and character of the design, the clarity of the written components, and any technical issues that may help you in future.

Tutors will scale grades and refer to University’s Common Marking Scheme: