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Introduction to Psychological Aspects of Game Design

Learn the fundamental concepts and practice of game design and the theory connected to it.

Introduction to Psychological Aspects of Game Design

There is one session available:

After a course session ends, it will be archived.
Starts Dec 1
Estimated 5 weeks
4–8 hours per week
Progress at your own speed
Optional upgrade available

About this course

Skip About this course

Are you ready to take the first step from gamer to game designer? Then this course is for you!

This course is an introduction to the basic concepts of game development and design theory, and explores how these concepts affect the ways we design and interact with games.

What are games? What are their structures and rule systems? What are their mechanics and dynamics? How does behavioral psychology impact game design? This course answers all these questions and many more!

This course explores the tenets of game design, core game structure, the components of a game, and the different areas of specialization within game design. We look at theoretical design frameworks as conceptual models for approaching design and the fundamental concepts in game psychology, motivation and game experience. The course describes the models that explain the various player types and play styles (what types of people play games, and what motivates and interests them).

Finally, you will learn about core game mechanics and challenge dynamics, and how your designs can be improved by thinking about them from a psychological, player-centric perspective.

Throughout this course, we use classic video game examples such as Pac-man, Space Invaders and Solitaire to see what they can teach us about games and game design.

Topics covered include:

  • Introduction to game design
  • Game design frameworks
  • Behavioral game psychology and play styles
  • The psychology of game mechanics and dynamics

At a glance

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • The fundamental elements of game design, and how game mechanics, core game loops and gameplay dynamics work together.

  • How to use theoretical design frameworks, target audience information, and game psychology to aid the game design process and help to create engagement and flow.

  • How behavioural psychology, human impulses, and player models and play styles are applied to game design and used to engage players.

  • How game designers take advantage of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation to design enjoyable games by using a variety of game mechanics and challenge dynamics.

Module 1: Introduction to games

  • Fundamentals of design

  • Game design fundamentals

  • Basic game structure and terminology

Module 2: Game design frameworks

  • Theoretical design framework

  • Target audiences and game psychology

  • Closer look: Pac-Man

Module 3: Behavioral game psychology and play styles

  • Introductory behavioural psychology

  • Human impulses

  • Player models and play styles

  • Closer look: Space Invaders

Module 4: Psychology of game mechanics and dynamics

  • Goals and conditions

  • Rewards and punishments

  • Challenges

  • Closer look: Solitaire

About the instructors

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