Team Project: Design and Development Cycle
  I: Administrative Information   II: Course Details   III: Topical Outline(s)  Printable Version
Section I: Administrative Information
  Total hours: 56.0
Credit Value: 2.0
Credit Value Notes: N/A
Effective: Winter 2020
Prerequisites: GAME14777
Corequisites: N/A
Equivalents: N/A
Pre/Co/Equiv Notes: N/A

Program(s): Bachelor of Game Design
Program Coordinator(s): Jeffrey Pidsadny
Course Leader or Contact: Nicolas Hesler
Version: 20200106_01
Status: Approved (APPR)

Section I Notes: Students should be prepared to contribute at least $50 toward the materials costs of the team's tabletop game. The Program-wide Design Challenge is a week-long assignment that challenges students to work in teams to research, design and propose solutions to a defined game design problem. Similar in spirit to game jams or hackathons, the activity encourages students to propose innovative solutions while applying the lessons they have learned in class. During the design challenge, faculty provide supportive mentorship through scheduled consultations. The activity is typically scheduled for the week after Reading Week. Typically, teams are assigned and composed of students from across multiple years of the program. The details of the activity, including the day-to-day schedule, are defined at the discretion of the Game Design faculty. During the week of the design challenge, students are expected to attend their regularly scheduled Breadth elective courses.

Section II: Course Details

Detailed Description
Games can be complex and iterative projects undertaken by large cross-functional teams. To effectively meet design goals, a game development team must develop processes and adopt methods for effective project and team management. In this course, students work in teams to research, design, develop, test and package a non-digital game. Although the outcome of the project is a game, the course emphasizes the processes and factors that lead to repeated successful outcomes for game development teams. Through in-class exercises, presentations and development logs, students learn to define the planning elements to produce a game, conduct basic design research, define roles and responsibilities, facilitate team communication, apply project management tools, make project improvements based on test results, communicate designs to a variety of audiences, and close a project.

Program Context

Bachelor of Game Design Program Coordinator(s): Jeffrey Pidsadny
Team Project - Design and Development Cycle is a mandatory course that establishes the foundational methodologies and skills necessary for working on collaborative team projects within the game industry.

Course Critical Performance and Learning Outcomes

  Critical Performance:
By the end of this course students will have demonstrated the ability to work effectively in a multiple disciplinary team through a collaborative and iterative game project.
Learning Outcomes:

To achieve the critical performance, students will have demonstrated the ability to:

  1. Articulate the design and development process for a game.
  2. Define the planning elements to produce a game, including an estimated budget, project schedule, resources, contingencies and individual responsibilities.
  3. Conduct basic design research, including competitive overview, player profile, and player expectations, to inform initial designs.
  4. Define roles and responsibilities of team members to meet the needs of the project.
  5. Create project documentation to record and communicate designs to stakeholders.
  6. Use project management tools to monitor development progress and communicate project status to stakeholders.
  7. Describe the impact of change on the project plan by identifying risk factors and considering ways to minimize risk.
  8. Explore a variety of tools for facilitation and consensus building to navigate conflicts.
  9. Develop foundational presentation skills (presence, posture, body language, vocal projection, reading the audience, and time management) that incorporate supporting materials, to meet the needs of the audience.
  10. Translate test feedback into actionable project improvements during the prototyping and development phases of a project.
  11. Communicate designs to a variety of audiences in order to support development and promotion of a game

Evaluation Plan
Students demonstrate their learning in the following ways:

 Evaluation Plan: IN-CLASS
 Design Exercises (In-class exercises, analyses, reading responses) (7 x 5%)35.0%
 Assignment #1: Report +Presentation - Design Research & Team Building15.0%
 Assignment #2: Report - Design Elaboration & Project Planning10.0%
 Program-wide Design Challenge5.0%
 Assignment #3: Report - Project Management & Design Developmen10.0%
 Assignment #4: Report - Packaging & Closing the Project10.0%
 Assignment #5: Report + Presentation - Project Documentation & Reflection15.0%

Evaluation Notes and Academic Missed Work Procedure:
Academic Missed Work Procedure (Late Submission Policy) All assignments are due within 15 minutes of a deadline set by the professor. Assignments submitted after this time, and up to one day late, will receive a 5% grade reduction. Work submitted after this time, and up to three days late, will receive a 10% grade reduction. Work that is more than three days late will not be graded. Re-submission of work might be granted under exceptional circumstances, at the discretion of the professor. A student may request an extension, stating the reason in writing to the professor at least one day before the deadline. An extension may be granted at the discretion of the professor. Missed in-class activities, assignments and presentations are awarded a grade of zero. A student expecting to be absent from a class activity where a grade would be earned must notify the professor in writing at least one day prior to the scheduled date and make arrangements to reschedule. An extension or alternative evaluation arrangements may be granted at the discretion of the professor. As a rule, work is not accepted after the last day of the term. A student may request in writing an extension to submit work after the last day of the term. An extension may be granted at the discretion of the professor.

Provincial Context
The course meets the following Ministry of Colleges and Universities requirements:


Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition
PLAR Contact (if course is PLAR-eligible) - Office of the Registrar

  • Not Eligible for PLAR

Section III: Topical Outline
Some details of this outline may change as a result of circumstances such as weather cancellations, College and student activities, and class timetabling.
Instruction Mode: In-Class
Professor: Nicolas Hesler
RequiredOtherRequired Readings will be made available by the instructor.
OptionalTextbookBuilding blocks of tabletop game design: An Encyclopedia of Mechanisms., Engelstein, G., & Shalev, I., Boca Raton, FL: Taylor & Francis, 2019

Applicable student group(s): Honours Bachelor of Game Design students.
Course Details:

Module 1: Design Research & Team Building

  • Informed Design   
  • Design Constraints
  • Competitive Overview
  • Characteristics of Successful Teams

Team Project Charter┐Design Exercises  2x 5%
Assignment #1: Report +Presentation - Design Research & Team Building 15%

Module 2: Design Elaboration & Production Planning

  • Concept Budget
  • Project Schedule
  • Prioritization
  • Prototyping
  • Design Testing

Design Exercises  2x 5%
Assignment #2: Report - Design Elaboration & Project Planning 10%

Program-wide Design Challenge 5%
Module 3: Project Management & Design Development

  • Management Tools and Methods
  • Navigating Team Conflicts
  • Playtesting
  • Design Development

Design Exercise 5%
Assignment #3: Report - Project Management & Design Development  10%

Module 4: Packaging & Closing the Project

  • Packaging
  • Promotion
  • Communication Plan
  • Project close
Design Exercise 5%
Assignment #4: Report - Packaging & Closing the Project 10%

Module 5: Project Documentation & Reflection

  • Post Implementation Review
  • Documentation


Design Exercise  5%
Assignment #5: Report + Presentation - Project Documentation & Reflection 15%

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