Course Outline

SGD200 Experimental Game Design

Course Coordinator:Alexander Muscat ( School:School of Business and Creative Industries

2023Semester 1

UniSC Sunshine Coast

UniSC Moreton Bay

Blended learning Most of your course is on campus but you may be able to do some components of this course online.


Online You can do this course without coming onto campus.

Please go to for up to date information on the
teaching sessions and campuses where this course is usually offered.

What is this course about?


This course examines the theoretical concepts of game design through the lens of experimental practice. In response to a theme, you will work individually to develop unique ways of interacting with gamespaces by rapidly prototyping a series of game ideas. Through focused experimentation, you will create, apply and critique game designs, gameplay and game technology in a variety of contexts and genres.

How will this course be delivered?

Activity Hours Beginning Week Frequency
Blended learning
Learning materials – Interactive online learning activities. 1hr Week 1 13 times
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – Scheduled face to face workshops. 2hrs Week 1 13 times
Learning materials – Interactive online learning activities. 1hr Week 1 13 times
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – Scheduled online workshops (Recorded). 2hrs Week 1 13 times

Course Topics

  • History and approaches to experimental game design practice
  • Game design frameworks and game elements
  • Minimalism and game design
  • Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment (DDA) and Flow theory
  • Virtual Sensation – Designing Game Feel
  • Embodiment and Tangible media
  • Gameplay space and advanced mechanics
  • Game balance

What level is this course?

200 Level (Developing)

Building on and expanding the scope of introductory knowledge and skills, developing breadth or depth and applying knowledge and skills in a new context. May require pre-requisites where discipline specific introductory knowledge or skills is necessary. Normally, undertaken in the second or third full-time year of an undergraduate programs.

What is the unit value of this course?

12 units

How does this course contribute to my learning?

Course Learning Outcomes On successful completion of this course, you should be able to... Graduate Qualities Completing these tasks successfully will contribute to you becoming...
1 Demonstrate knowledge of theories relating to game design and production, game mechanics, and game elements, and how they integrate to form game experiences. Knowledgeable
2 Critically analyse games through given frameworks and design theories. Creative and critical thinker
3 Design and create prototypes of experimental games based on theories of design and game design principles. Engaged

Am I eligible to enrol in this course?

Refer to the UniSC Glossary of terms for definitions of “pre-requisites, co-requisites and anti-requisites”.


Not applicable


Not applicable


Not applicable

Specific assumed prior knowledge and skills (where applicable)

knowledge and skills (where applicable) Beginner knowledge of game design theory and practices.

How am I going to be assessed?

Grading Scale

Standard Grading (GRD)

High Distinction (HD), Distinction (DN), Credit (CR), Pass (PS), Fail (FL).

Details of early feedback on progress

By the end of week 4, students will give a 5-minute demonstration of a game prototype that they have designed that responds to a theme. This will provide an opportunity to showcase students’ current knowledge and receive feedback from both the tutor and their peers.

Assessment tasks

Delivery mode Task No. Assessment Product Individual or Group Weighting % What is the duration / length? When should I submit? Where should I submit it?
All 1 Artefact - Creative Individual 30%
Four game prototypes
Refer to Format Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All 2 Artefact - Creative, and Oral Individual 30%
20 minutes - (4 sessions x 5 minutes)
Throughout teaching period (refer to Format) Online Self and Peer Assessment
All 3 Journal Individual 40%
2500 words
Week 13 Online Blog, Wiki or Journal
All - Assessment Task 1:Game Prototypes
Develop a range of prototypes that explore and test a variety of game design principles and mechanics.
Product: Artefact - Creative
Students are required to design and develop a series of prototypes in short development cycles and in response to keywords and themes.  Prototypes will be submitted for critique in weeks 3, 7, 11 and 13 during the scheduled critique sessions. Feedback for each prototype will be provided during critique sessions, with a final grade awarded for the submission of all four prototypes in week 13.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Demonstrates an understanding of the key concepts covered in the unit lectures, tutorials and workshops.
1 3
The prototypes provide an appropriate and creative response to the keywords and themes of the design brief.
1 3
Game mechanics are unique and demonstrate practical knowledge of game design theory and frameworks.
2 3
All - Assessment Task 2:Critique Sessions with artefact
Critique your own work and present an analysis of the prototyping experience. Explain the chosen design process and production methodologies when presenting results.
Product: Artefact - Creative, and Oral
Participate and effectively contribute to critique sessions. Critique sessions occur in weeks 4, 7, 11 and 13. Students are required to actively participate in the critique of their own and others work demonstrating an understanding of game design concepts and theories discussed in learning materials. Each session will be worth 7.5% (total of 30%) of the total course marks.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Critically discusses linkages between existing games, game design theories and game-play mechanics.
1 3
Analyses game design and game mechanics while expressing clearly reasoned viewpoints supported with credible evidence.
1 2 3
Uses a range of information resources for a research topic. Critically analyse effectiveness, accuracy and rigour of information sources.
1 2 3
All - Assessment Task 3:Reflective Journal
A personalised account of own experience during design challenges. Incorporating reflection of experimental techniques and methodologies as well as the deconstruction and evaluation of other works.
Product: Journal
Design journal reflecting on a series of prototypes, presentation, and game designs. During the development of each prototype and after each critique you will submit a changelog/blog, that summarizes your design goals and reflects on existing game design influences and the feedback provided during the critique sessions.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Demonstrates the application of theory to game design and development.
1 2 3
Reflects on learning during practice, clearly articulates decision making and results
1 2 3
Conveys ideas clearly and fluently, in spoken, written and game
prototype form.
1 2 3

Directed study hours

A 12-unit course will have total of 150 learning hours which will include directed study hours (including online if required), self-directed learning and completion of assessable tasks. Student workload is calculated at 12.5 learning hours per one unit.

What resources do I need to undertake this course?

Please note: Course information, including specific information of recommended readings, learning activities, resources, weekly readings, etc. are available on the course Canvas site– Please log in as soon as possible.

Prescribed text(s) or course reader

Please note that you need to have regular access to the resource(s) listed below. Resources may be required or recommended.

Required? Author Year Title Edition Publisher
Recommended Jesse Schell 2008 The Art of Game Design n/a CRC Press

Specific requirements

This course requires some commercial software or hardware which is provided at USC campuses for student use. If you elect to do this course online, you may either; attend a campus at which it is available, discuss alternative open source solutions with your course coordinator that would enable you to demonstrate the learning outcomes, or if you prefer you may acquire this software and / or hardware at your own expense. Some experience with game development software is highly recommended.

How are risks managed in this course?

Health and safety risks for this course have been assessed as low. It is your responsibility to review course material, search online, discuss with lecturers and peers and understand the health and safety risks associated with your specific course of study and to familiarise yourself with the University’s general health and safety principles by reviewing the online induction training for students, and following the instructions of the University staff.

What administrative information is relevant to this course?

Assessment: Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the ethical standard of university participation.  It ensures that students graduate as a result of proving they are competent in their discipline.  This is integral in maintaining the value of academic qualifications. Each industry has expectations and standards of the skills and knowledge within that discipline and these are reflected in assessment.

Academic integrity means that you do not engage in any activity that is considered to be academic fraud; including plagiarism, collusion or outsourcing any part of any assessment item to any other person.  You are expected to be honest and ethical by completing all work yourself and indicating in your work which ideas and information were developed by you and which were taken from others. You cannot provide your assessment work to others. You are also expected to provide evidence of wide and critical reading, usually by using appropriate academic references.

In order to minimise incidents of academic fraud, this course may require that some of its assessment tasks, when submitted to Canvas, are electronically checked through Turnitin.  This software allows for text comparisons to be made between your submitted assessment item and all other work to which Turnitin has access.

Assessment: Additional Requirements

Your eligibility for supplementary assessment in a course is dependent of the following conditions applying:

The final mark is in the percentage range 47% to 49.4%
The course is graded using the Standard Grading scale
You have not failed an assessment task in the course due to academic misconduct.

Assessment: Submission penalties

Late submission of assessment tasks may be penalised at the following maximum rate: - 5% (of the assessment task's identified value) per day for the first two days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. - 10% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the third day - 20% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the fourth day and subsequent days up to and including seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. - A result of zero is awarded for an assessment task submitted after seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. Weekdays and weekends are included in the calculation of days late. To request an extension you must contact your course coordinator to negotiate an outcome.


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Study help

For help with course-specific advice, for example what information to include in your assessment, you should first contact your tutor, then your course coordinator, if needed.

If you require additional assistance, the Learning Advisers are trained professionals who are ready to help you develop a wide range of academic skills. Visit the Learning Advisers web page for more information, or contact Student Central for further assistance: +61 7 5430 2890 or

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To book a confidential appointment go to Student Hub, email or call 07 5430 2890.

Links to relevant University policy and procedures

For more information on Academic Learning & Teaching categories including:

  • Assessment: Courses and Coursework Programs
  • Review of Assessment and Final Grades
  • Supplementary Assessment
  • Administration of Central Examinations
  • Deferred Examinations
  • Student Academic Misconduct
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General Enquiries

  • In person:
    • UniSC Sunshine Coast - Student Central, Ground Floor, Building C, 90 Sippy Downs Drive, Sippy Downs
    • UniSC Moreton Bay - Service Centre, Ground Floor, Foundation Building, Gympie Road, Petrie
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