Game Design and Development 1 is an introductory course about Game Design, Game Mechanics, Game Art, Gamer Psychology and more.

The course consists of interactive presentations, guest lectures, individual assignments and a group assignment where you design and implement your own game.

This semester most of the lecture will be held online. The lectures will be streamed on Twitch. If possible, some tutorials will be held at university.

If you want to know what the lecture focuses on in comparison to other lectures have a look at the Lecture Differentiation.


In this table you can see when lectures are held and submissions are due. This semester’s schedule is subject to change, some dates will be updated based on current circumstances.

2020-TBA-TBA[Lecture] Course Introduction, About Games
2020-TBA-TBA[Tutoring Session] Game Engines Overview?
2020-TBA-TBA[Lecture] Game Prototyping, Game Design Document
2020-TBA-TBA[I-01] Mini Game (Submission)
2020-TBA-TBA[G-01] Group Registration + Game Idea (Submission)
2020-TBA-TBA[Lecture] Game Art (Blender)
2020-TBA-TBA[Lecture] Game Dev Process
[G-02] Game Design Document Draft (Submission)
2020-TBA-TBA[Tutoring Session] Your questions (no lecture)
2020-TBA-TBA[Lecture] Guest Speaker
2020-TBA-TBA[G-03] First Prototype (Submission)
2020-TBA-TBA[I-02] Talk Summary (Submission)
2020-TBA-TBA[Lecture] AI in Games
[G-04] QA Feedback (Submission)
2020-TBA-TBA[G-05] Full Game (Submisson)

The following content is from last year’s course. It will be updated shortly.

Slides & Lecture Content

[Slides] TODO
[Link] What Makes a Game?
[Link] Jordan Melcher’s Journal: “The Making of Prince of Persia”
[Link] GDC Video: Classic Game Postmortem: PRINCE OF PERSIA

Game Design Elements
[Game Analysis] Game Dev Tycoon

Game Mechanics
[Game Analysis] QWOP

Game Art

Gamer Psychology

Game Engines

AI & Performance

TODO: PDFs of Slides

Individual Assignments

[I-01] Mini Game

Task Description

Create a classic little 2D side scrolling Shmup (“Shoot’em up”, think R-Type, Gradius, etc.) game with Unreal Engine* to get a hold of game development basics.

TODO: Detailed task description (create PDF of checklist)

* If you have already found a group and you are sure you want to use a different engine for your group project, you can request to use another engine.


Submit your game within the deadline in the schedule and upload it here.

[I-02] Talk Summary

Task Description

Watch and summarize a GDC talk. Select a talk you are interested in from the >>talk list<< and use the template to summarize it.

TODO: Add talk list


Create a PDF with the naming convention:

# is your matriculation number, hence a student with matr. nr. 012345678 should send the file gdd1_i-02_talk-summary_012345678.pdf.

Send your summary to within the deadline in the schedule, with the subject:
[GDD I-02] Talk Summary

Group Assignments

[G-01] Group Registration, Game Idea

Task description

Find a group of TBA people and decide on a game idea that satisfies the topics and guidelines.

Topics & Inspiration

The inspirational topics for 2019 are:

Topic 1: Graz & Culture & Science Graz Culture 2020

Topic 2: Graz Science Museum

For your inspiration a few keywords related to that:
Graz, urban, culture, cultural heritage, science, museum, engineering, environment, climate, urbanism

Your game idea should somehow touch one or both of these topics.


A: Diversity
B: Accessibility
C: Humanity

TODO: Explain guidelines in more detail


Submit the >>TODO form<< with your group name and game idea within the deadline in the schedule.

[G-02] Game Design Document Draft

Task Description

Use the Game Design Document Template* to create the first draft of your game design document. Keep the topics and guidelines listed above in mind.

*You can use a different software to create your Game Design Document if you can export a PDF and keep the structure of the document.


Create a PDF with the naming convention:

## is your group number, hence group 5 sends the file gdd1_g-02_game-design-doc-draft_05.pdf.

Send your summary to within the deadline in the schedule, with the subject:
[GDD G-02] Game Design Document Draft

[G-03] First Prototype

Task Description

Create a prototype according to the topics and guidlines. TODO describe expectations for first prototype in more detail.


Submit the first prototype >>TODO here<< within the deadline in the schedule.

[G-04] QA Feedback

Task Description

Test a game from another group. The QA Strategy section below outlines what to look out for during testing.

Provide a small report (.txt file, or excel sheet) with a list of issues you’ve found:
[ID / Type of issue (1-3) / Description of issue / Severity of this issue (1 extremely bad – 3 nice to have) / Tips for improvement]

#4 / 1 / The game controls are not clear / 1 / Explain the controls in the start screen
#5 / 3 / The game crashed when driving into the tree 100 times / 1 / Fix the bug

You should test the player experience, the usability, and QA (alias bugs).

QA Strategy

Type 1: Player Experience (Game Design)

  • Fun?
  • Confused/bored/frustrated?
  • Design good?
  • Idea clear?
  • Mechanics?
  • Level too long/short
  • Do you understand the game?

Type 2: Usability

  • Interface intuitive?
  • Easy to use?
  • Controls understandable?

Type 3: Quality Assurance (Severe Bugs)

  • Test intensively
  • Find bugs


Send the report to the other group you’ve tested and to within the deadline in the schedule with the subject:
[GDD G-04] QA Feedback

[G-05] Full Game

Task Description

Fully implement your game and create a presentation for the final exhibition.

Short “pitch” (max. 4-5 minutes!) – try to “sell” your game/game idea. You can show your video or play the game live (or both if time).

Please bring your own equipment for the exhibition. In case you are missing hardware contact the tutors in advance. If the exhibition cannot be held at university there will be some kind of online exhibition.



  • Title page: Game title + who worked on this game (+
  • Your final Game Design Document


  • readme.txt with the following information, that we can feature your games on the website:
    (1) short game description
    (2) all names + matr. nr
    (3) Technologies used
    (4) Credits
    (5) Link to build for feature on website (such as on
    • .tex files from all individual assignments
    • digital Game design document
    • 4-6 screenshots
    • a small video of the gameplay (ca 2-3 minutes)


Create your own site for your game on and upload/fill in the details about your game. Join TUGameDev 2019 at >>TODO<<.

Bring the printout and the DVD with you to the presentation.

Links & More

Lecture Differentiation

HierarchyExamples and ActivitiesLectures at Graz University of Technology
Creativity, Art, VisionIdeation, Story & Character Creation, Art Style, Sound DesignGDD1
Game Development (Conceptualization)Game Design Document, Game Mechanics, Level Design, Publishing, MarketingGDD1, GDD2
Game Development (Implementation)Realization, Programming, TestingGDD1, GDD2
Game Engine DevelopmentCustom Engines, Godot, Unity, UnrealTODO
Graphics API DevelopmentOpenGL, Vulkan, DirectXTODO
Hardware Development (Input Devices)Controllers, Alternative Inputs, VR GDD2
Hardware Development (Computing)GPU / CPU DesignTODO

Game Collection

TODO: Sort itch pages

A collection of games created in previous GameLabGraz lectures

2017 GDD1 Games
2018 GDD2 Games
2019 GDD1 Games
2020 GDD2 Games

Book Recommendations

Johanna’s personal book recommendations and books the lecture draws inspiration from.

Jane McGonigal – Reality is Broken (+++)
One of my favorite books. Jane McGonigal gives some inspirations and ideas of how to use games in different contexts. Reads like a novel and avoids theoretical aspects.

Jesse Schell – The Art of Game Design (+++)
This is the book I am using a lot for my lecture. Very good summary of the most important design aspects from different points of view (technical aspects, player psychology, all different design things).

Scott Rogers – Level Up (2nd Edition) (+++)
Also a very good design on game design. I’ve especially enjoyed the bonus chapters with inspirational lists for environments, game mechanics, and different templates as an inspirational resource for your games.

Jeremy Gibson – Introduction to Game Design, Prototyping, and Development (++)
This book gives also a very nice introduction to game design techniques, but in a more practical manner. The main part of this book is a unity and C# tutorial.

Raph Koster – A Theory of Fun (++)
I simply love the style of this book. It has comics and sketches 😉

Flow – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (+)
Wonderful book (THE book) about the flow experience with neat examples from all different fields.

Katie Salen & Eric Zimmerman – Rules of Play (+)
Very interesting book on game design with a lot of practical examples. Note: Amazon credit me a small referral amount, should you purchase a book after following these links.