Game World Design
AbstractThis course teaches the conceptual foundation and practical implementation of game worlds.
Game World Design is the design of a cohesive game world rooted in narrative design, world building, and character logic.
Students gain the ability to design game worlds from a narrative standpoint in order to create rich experiences for players. Game World Design focuses on the prototyping of game worlds. It will comprise three major dimensions: Conceptual world design, prototype asset development, and presentation of concepts and results.
In the conceptual section, the course will focus on general considerations of worldness and world building, basic narrative considerations, and character logic. The prototype asset development section will focus on implementing these conceptual reflections. This includes the development of a visual pitch for a digital game and implementing a prototype of the game world concept, including assets, in a game engine of your choice. In general, this will include the production of a vertical slice of a gameworld. The presentation component consists in presentation and feedback on intermediate and final results of this design process to prepare for in-team as well as customer communication of projects under development.
Formal prerequisitesThis is course offers an introduction to world design and prototyping for games. It is very practical in nature and will require active participation in a semester-long group project. Knowledge about game development tools is essential. Before the course, participants should therefore familiarize themselves with software tools of their own choice, depending on which roles they want to take in the game development process of the course: a game engine, 2D and/or 3D graphics software, project management software, interactive narrative tools, audio software and middleware etc.
Intended learning outcomes
After the course, the student should be able to:
- Analyse digital games regarding their audio-visual and narrative design as well as their technology, to use them as references and apply the same analytical strategies on their own prototypes.
- Design an audio-visually and narratively coherent game world by applying relevant material on e.g.worldbuilding, art direction, narrative design.
- Use relevant material on planning, collaboration, and communication to inform and support your creative and technical decisions, and reflect on them critically.
- Document the creative process (from ideation to implementation) adequately (using e.g. mood boards, sketches, storyboards etc.) and reflect on it critically.
- Collaboratively develop a playable prototype representative of a game world by applying relevant material on level design and narrative.
The course consists of lectures, exercises, and intensive group work. Participants are expected to attend lectures and participate in the exercises and project supervision. Participants form groups at the beginning of the semester. The groups will develop one game world prototype each throughout the course of the semester. This means that they will prototype a game environment and characters that communicate a game world, developing it from first principles and implementing it in a game engine. This happens in project work under constant supervision of teachers and TAs. Participants present the status of their project development at three points in the semester to teachers and class and receive feedback on them. Both the final world prototype and the portfolio documenting the work will be handed in and defended in the final exam.
The course literature is published in the course page in LearnIT.
Student Activity BudgetEstimated distribution of learning activities for the typical student
- Preparation for lectures and exercises: 15%
- Lectures: 15%
- Exercises: 10%
- Project work, supervision included: 45%
- Exam with preparation: 15%
Ordinary examExam type:
D: Submission of written work with following oral, External (7-point scale)
D2G: Submission for groups with following oral exam supplemented by the submission. Shared responsibility for the report.
There are three parts to the submission: 1. The prototype as a compiled executable. 2. The game art book, where students show in a popularized and aesthetically coherent way the design process of the prototype. This is modeled on commercially available game documentations. The goal is to exercise presenting the creative process to stakeholders, from investors to fans. 3. The process report in the form a traditional short academic paper (minimum 10 pages plus bibliography). Here students present the design considerations, theoretical background, work process, main challenges and their solutions.
Mixed exam 1 : Individual and joint student presentation followed by an individual and a group dialogue. The students make a joint presentation followed by a group dialogue. Subsequently the students are having individual examination with presentation and / or dialogue with the supervisor and external examiner while the rest of the group is outside the room.