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Lesson 7: Track A Summaries

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Schedule   ::   Lesson 7   ::   Track A Summaries   ::   Track B Summaries   ::   Both Tracks Summaries

Crawford, C., Chapter 5: The game design sequence

Reading summary/quotes:

This chapter focuses on the process of designing a video game on a personal computer. Crawford is careful to point out that his description of the game design process is not a formal, step-by-step process, but rather an outline of helpful practices and practical suggestions. He focuses on the need for the designer to carefully choose a goal that reflects the designer’s interests and beliefs. The chosen goal must then be paired with an appropriate topic. Crawford warns against allowing the topic to dictate the goal of the game. Before writing any code the game designer should spend time researching the topic and contemplating the game, including the overall game design as well as specific implementation ideas. The design phase follows and includes I/O structure, game structure, and program structure. I/O structure deals with how the player and the game communicate. With most games this is done through graphics and sounds. Game structure involves making the game “manipulable and understandable” to the player. Program structure is the third design focus and deals with program flow and memory usage issues. At this point the game design should be evaluated to determine if should be implemented or scrapped. If it is kept, the designer should formalize and prepare game documentation in the pre-programming phase. This is followed by programming and debugging. Finally, the play testing phase is a way for the game designer to get feedback from a limited number of carefully chosen, well-qualified game testers. This is a way to reveal unanticipated design issues. While the bulk of the play tester’s suggestions may be impractical or out of line with the goal of the game, some of the feedback will likely be invaluable. It is important not to rush the play testing process, no matter how tired of the game the designer may feel. Once the game is released, Crawford encourages game designers to go with their feeling and not worry too much about the critics.

This chapter contains some great suggestions and guidelines for success in designing a game. It follows the ADDIE model quite well, focusing on analysis before design and design before coding/implementation. Crawford does a good job of stating up front that game design is not a lock-step process. Rather, it is a series of overlapping stages that flow into each other.

The primary goal in the design phase is to create the outlines of 3 interdependent structures: the I/O structure, the game structure, and the program structure (p. 4).

Storyboards deal with sequence and should not be used in designing games (p. 4).

Related articles/class discussions:

  • Class discussion: This relates directly to our development of the SRA game; specifically to the importance of focusing on design goals rather than code limitations when creating a game.

Discussion points/questions:

  • What can a game designer do to keep the focus on the goal of the game during the coding process?
  • Is it possible to have a sequential game with a branching tree structure or vice versa?

Contributors: Tom Caswell, Marion Jensen, Jennifer Jorgensen, Jon Scoresby, and Tim Stowell
Copyright 2008, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource . admin. (2008, May 20). Lesson 7: Track A Summaries. Retrieved January 07, 2011, from Free Online Course Materials — USU OpenCourseWare Web site: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License
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