DESMA 157A: Gaming 1
Game Design Lab, Spring 2011
UCLA Design | Media Arts
Tuesday, Thursday 2:00pm – 4:45pm
Broad Art Center room 4230

Professor: Eddo Stern
TA: Mark Essen

Course Description: This course is part one of a two-course game making sequence (Gaming 1, Gaming 2). In this first course, Game Design Lab, we will develop four playable non-digital games, each project will explore various aspects of game design: rule design, game balance, multi-player strategy, complexity, randomness, polemics, narrative, physical interaction, and the aesthetic/pragmatic aspects of physical game design.

The course will cover game design concepts through reading and written assignments, class presentations, discussions, play testing sessions, and game design and production projects. This class moves very quickly with a playable game produced, played and analyzed nearly every other week.

Grading: 2 x Two-Week Projects (30%), 2 x Three-Week Projects (40%),
Reading notes (15%), Playlist notes (%5), Game analysis feedback forms (10%)
All reading notes, feedback forms and assignment PDFs must be uploaded to the class website before the beginning of class time on the day they are due unless a midnight deadline is indicated (as 24:00). Late projects and assignments will be penalized by one letter grade per day they are late.

More than two absences without the professor’s prior permission will lower the student’s final grade by one unit (e.g. an A will become an B). With each additional unexcused absence, the grade will drop an additional unit.


Required Materials: Class assignments will require the use of a wide range of mixed media such as paper, cardboard, foam core, magnets, wood, plastic, fabric, and any other materials you may want to incorporate into your projects.

Required Books:
Salen, Katie and Eric Zimmerman, “Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals”, MIT Press, 2004 (ISBN: 9780262240451)
(Available Online and at the UCLA bookstore)

Recommended further reading on game design:
Caillois, Roger, “Man Play & Games”, University of Illinois Press, 2001 (ISBN: 9780252070334)

Huizinga, Johan, “Homo Ludens: A study of the play element in culture”, Beacon 1971 (ISBN: 9780807046814)

Rouse, Richard, “Game Design: Theory and Practice”, Wordware Publishing, 2001 (ISBN: 9781556229121)

Crawford, Chris, “Chris Crawford on Game Design”, New Riders Games, 2003 ( ISBN: 9780131460997

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