NEWM-N 132 Game Design Psychology: Theory and Prototyping

3 credits

  • Prerequisites: None
  • Delivery: On-Campus
  • This course explores the application of cognitive psychology and theories of learning and motivation to the design and prototyping of games. Students learn how to create games that are fun to play, and evaluate and improve games that may not be, based on psychological concepts, theories, and findings.

    This course is approved for the Social Sciences component of the General Education core.

    Learning Outcomes

    • Demonstrate an understanding of the basic concepts, theories, and findings of psychology, including perception, attention, and memory, in the context of games.
    • Explain descriptive theories of human problem solving and decision-making.
    • Discuss formal game elements that can be used to increase cognitive flow during gameplay.
    • Compare and contrast operant conditioning and self-determination theory as they apply to videogames and social network games.
    • Relate individual differences (e.g., age, gender, education) to gameplay efficiency, effectiveness, and satisfaction.
    • Discuss the relation between psychology and ethics in game design.
    • Conceptualize and prototype games by using formal and dramatic game elements motivated by psychological theories.
    • Evaluate games by applying research methods from psychology and human factors.

    This course is approved for the Social Sciences component of the General Education core.

    Extended Course Description

    n132's purpose is to give students the experience of making traditional analog board, card, and dice games before they touch any computers, as it has been shown that all great game designers and developers learn to make games fun and interesting on paper first before anything happens digitally. Paper-Prototyping is an essential skill for all game makers to have and this class goes over how to do that, manage a group of fellow student game designers, and how to conduct and run playtest with members of the public.

    Technology Learned

    • Adobe Photoshop

    Syllabi