TU Wien:Game Design VU (Lumesberger, Purgathofer)

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Daten[edit | edit source]

Lecturers Lev Lumesberger, Peter Purgathofer
Department Visual Computing and Human-Centered Technology
When summer semester
Language English
Links tiss:187A90
Master Media and Human-Centered Computing Wahlmodul Digital Games

Inhalt[edit | edit source]

The three courses in the module "Digital Games" are tightly coupled and can be considered one course of two semester, starting in summer semesters. As such, they'll be described as-one here. The courses are:



The courses are run by Lev Lumesberger, with some parts by Stefan Kutzenberger. Peter Purgathofer mostly provides the name and link to the TU, so the course can exist (as Lev and Stefan both aren't fully employed by the TU)

As the name suggests, the course teaches theories and methods of game design. For this there's a front-loaded series of lectures, as well as three iterations of game design and production -- starting with a list of several design ideas/concepts for digital games (two per week), two of which will be prototyped and one of those polished.

The designed games mostly follow classical digital games genres, though breaking some of their tropes and going in creative directions is definitely encouraged. For the SS16 run, an almost complete list of challenges would be (with e.g. these designs following from them):

  • two digital games (most submission were jump&runs -- to the extend that they were prohibited in later challenges ^^)
  • an impossible game (by breaking with a core mechanic of a genre -- e.g. "RPG without a character")
  • a game designed using a random-generator, e.g. the grow-a-game cards
  • a game with an easter-egg
  • two games of the two genres you least like
  • a two-player coop game

Ablauf[edit | edit source]

There's lectures on theories related to game design as part of the VU in the early summer semester (cognition, narrative forms, etc), including some reading exercises.

During that time you get weekly game design challenges: two concepts per week, done in rotating groups of two (see above for example challenges). These concepts are briefly presented by each group during the sessions (using one slide per concept), while the audience get's to live-vote on e.g. novelty and expected fun of the concept. There's a ranking at the end.

At the end of the VU part, you'll partner up with another person that you might or might not have designed together with, and together you'll pick two of your game concepts and develop prototypes for them till the end of the summer semester.

In the winter semester you pick one of the two games and keep polishing it, with some gameplay-testing sessions in between. At the final session, you'll have to rate each other's games, which will be part of the grade (the other big parts being ratings by the course organizer and an oblique external panel of experts).

Benötigte/Empfehlenswerte Vorkenntnisse[edit | edit source]

Besides the courses building on each other, none really. However, having worked with any game engine before (especially Unity) will help massively during the prototyping(UE) and polishing(PR) courses.

Vortrag[edit | edit source]

Lev's lecture was relatively ok and gives evidence of a lot of practical game design and development experience from long years in the industry. As such, it's more focussed on ideas and theories connected with established commercial game genres. At some points, some of the discussed theories felt a bit disconnected with each other and game design in general.

Übungen[edit | edit source]

  • 2 game concepts per week during the VU
  • 2 game prototypes till the end of the summer semester (the UE)
  • 1 polished game till the end of the winter semester (the PR)

Prüfung, Benotung[edit | edit source]

  • Highly competitive / pitting the students against each other, as a large part are the audience ratings and peer-reviews and there's curve grading. Talking to Lev about that yielded a "the industry is that competitive as well and the course aims to prepare you for that" (paraphrased).
  • In WS16 a required feature (use of networking) for an excellent game was only revealed at the end, which ended with only one group getting that grade as they had a multiplayer-game requiring networking.

Dauer der Zeugnisausstellung[edit | edit source]

Semester Letzte Leistung Zeugnis
SS16 (VU) 27.06.2016 < 1 week after UE, otherwise >1 month
SS16 (UE) 27.06.2016 < 1 week
WS16 (PR) 23.01.2017 < 1 week

Zeitaufwand[edit | edit source]

Relatively ok given it's 15 (=3+3+9) ECTS for all three courses, if you avoid spending endless hours on the designs and advanced features that aren't part of the core concept and if you avoid picking super time-consuming game concepts to prototype.

Unterlagen[edit | edit source]

noch offen

Tipps[edit | edit source]

TU Wien:Gameful Design VU (Peter Purgathofer) does a better job at teaching thinking outside of the box. If you've done that before doing the digital games module, you'll probably produce more creative game designs and breaking with the established genres. I've also found it useful of keeping the habit established in Gameful Design, of collecting my design-notes and pouring them into blog-posts (but it's definitely not necessary for Digital Games).

Also, avoid jump'n'runs for the first, open challenge -- there willll be enough of those ^^

Verbesserungsvorschläge / Kritik[edit | edit source]

I really hope they've gotten rid of curve grading, pitting people against each other and manage to give you the requirements for each grade in advance, by now. (pheara)


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