ENG3101: Fundamentals Of Video Game Design

Instructor: Wei He & Wei Cai

Description: To truly understand game design is to understand an incredibly complex web of creativity, psychology, art, technology, and business. This course is designed to introduce the basics of building a game engine, and to give students a broad artistic and conceptual understanding of interactive narrative in video games. Students are encouraged to set aside their preconceptions about video games, so that they can approach this subject with an open mind.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completing this course, students are expected to

  • Acquire basic terminologies and principles of video game design;
  • Understand narrative structures, and their applications in interactive storytelling;
  • Have a basic idea of innovations and new applications of video games;
  • Pitch their ideas of a brand new video game to the entire class;
  • Give constructive and respectful feedback to peers; apply feedback from peers and instructor through revision.

Course Syllabus

1Introduction & Designer creates an experience & The experience rises out of a game
2Introduction to game engines
3Elements of video games & Players’ interest curves
4One kind of experience is the story & Worlds of stories and games
6How to define spaces
7How visual design affects storytelling
8How to communicate with clients
9How to pitch your idea & Money matters!
10Serious Games
11Immersive Gaming Experience
12Novel Game Technologies
13Final presentation
14Final presentation

Assessment Scheme

Attendance and Participation10%
Mid-term report30%
Final presentation20%
Final portfolio40%


  • Required
    • Schell, Jesse (2015). The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses. Boca Raton: Taylor & Francis Group.
  • Recommended
    • Rogers, Scott (2014). Level Up!: The Guide to Great Video Game Design. West Sussex: WILEY.
    • Brooks, Max (2003). The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead. New York: Broadway Books.
    • Bang, Molly (2016). Picture This: How Pictures Work. San Francisco: Chronicle Books.
    • Brooks, Max (2006). World War: An Oral History of the Zombie War. New York: Broadway Books.