SHE Level 4
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code MHI625652
Module Leader Ben Ivory
School School of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment
Subject Applied Computer Games
  • A (September start)
  • B (January start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Game Design 1

Summary of Content

This module equips students to design games with an analytical approach. Game design relies heavily on playtesting, but much can be done prior to user involvement by using mathematical methods to anticipate and avoid design problems. The games industry takes advantage of the digital nature of computers to collect and analyse data and this is becoming an important skill in game design. Students who undertake this module will be able to design game economies; choose appropriate costs for game items; identify overpowered or underpowered game items; understand how to use data analysis techniques to understand player behaviour and to use this information to guide design; and identify who the actual users are of their game by interpreting channel data.


Overview of metrics and game balance: What makes a good metric? Vanity vs Real metrics; Leading vs Lagging ? Correlated vs Causal? KPI's - Minimum Viable Product: One metric that matters; A/B testing - Player Acquisition: Channels and Segmentation - Probability and Randomness: Controlling probability; Monte Carlo Simulation; Dependent and Independent Probability - Transitive Mechanics - Cost Curves: Numeric Relationship - Progression: Advancement/Pacing; Situational Balance - Intransitive Mechanics: Understanding and Identifying Intransitive Relationships; Balancing Intransitive Mechanic Games (like Rock Paper Scissors); Mathematical solving of Intransitive Mechanics - Game Balance - Game Economies: Sources, Drains, Pools, Converters, Traders; Modelling Game Economies - Machinations - Spreadsheet based modelling

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:1. Recommend in-game metrics to measure key performance indicators of player behaviour2. Apply data analytics techniques to understand and reach your audience3. Justify using critical analysis the probability and numeric relationships to balance games4. Identify statistical and mathematical techniques to inform game design5. Choose formal methods to model game economic systems

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The university 'Strategy for Learning' documentation has informed the learning and teaching strategy for this module. The module's material will be introduced through lectures, while practical exercises - based on the lecture material - will be given to students for their laboratory sessions. Tutorials will be used to help explain and elaborate on both the lecture material and the laboratory exercises. All lecture, laboratory and tutorial material will be made available on GCU Learn and links will be provided to appropriate external material such as podcasts, videos and literature. During all lab and tutorial sessions, students will receive formative feedback on their performance in undertaking the laboratory and tutorial exercises. Summative feedback and grades will also be provided for the coursework assignment undertaken as part of the module using GCU Learn. GCU Learn will also be used to provide the students with module specific forums and Wikis to stimulate student and lecturer interaction outwith the normal lecture, laboratory and tutorial sessions.

Indicative Reading

-360 b7 Lebowitz. J., & Klug, C. (2011) Interactive Storytelling for Video Games, Focal Press. -360b7 Sheldon, L. (2013) Character Development and Storytelling for Games 2nd Edition, Course Technology PTR.. b7 Heussner, T.. Finley, T.K., Hepler, J.B., & Lemay, A (2015) The Game Narrative Toolbox. Focal Press Game Design Workshops. b7 Glassner, A. (2004). Interactive Storytelling: Techniques for 21st Century Fiction. AK Peters, Ltd.. b7 Bateman, C. (2006). Game Writing: Narrative Skills for Videogames. Charles River Media.

Transferrable Skills

D1 Specialist knowledge and application D2 Critical thinking and problem solving D3 Critical analysis D4 Communication skills, written, oral and listening D6 Team working and interpersonal skills D8 Self confidence, self discipline & self reliance (independent working) D10 Creativity, innovation & independent thinking D15 Ability to prioritise tasks and time management D16 Interpersonal skills, team working and leadership D17 Presentation skills

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Practicals (FT) 24.00
Lectures (FT) 24.00
Assessment (FT) 18.00
Tutorials (FT) 12.00
Independent Learning (FT) 122.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Course Work 01 n/a 50.00 n/a Individual Coursework
Course Work 02 n/a 50.00 n/a Individual Coursework