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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Principles of Game Design by Michigan State University

1,288 ratings
332 reviews

About the Course

You have a great idea for a game. Turning that idea into a reality isn't just about knowing the tools. In this course you will practice moving from game concept through design documentation, prototyping and testing. Numerous elements go into the overall process of game design. These range from topics such as idea generation, story, character, and game world development, game mechanics and level design, and user experience design. You will explore the process for designing meaningful experiences for your players. At the end of the course learners will have produced a game's high concept document, one page blueprint, a physical prototype, pitch and supporting design documentation to move from an idea in your head to a fleshed out design, ready for implementation....

Top reviews


Mar 27, 2016

Great course!\n\nThought I wouldn't use the stuff that I learned in the videos at first, but as I started working on my own projects, I realised it was very important knowledge for a game developer.


Apr 03, 2017

This course helps your game go from concept to reality. It pushed me to get a digital prototype made and ready to demo. Great depth of information related to game design and the gaming industry.

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251 - 275 of 318 Reviews for Principles of Game Design

By vikramaditya g

Aug 11, 2018

Theoretical par..boring

By Daniel H G

Feb 06, 2016

loving it so far


Jun 09, 2020

good course

By Bitan M

Jul 01, 2018

nice course

By Alberto A d S J

May 30, 2017

Good course

By Gabriel A

Oct 19, 2015

Muy bueno

By Deleted A

Nov 11, 2016


By Nenad N

Feb 06, 2016

This course has a good starting point, but there are so many things that ended up being wrong that I just can't force myself to give it more than 3 stars (and I'm not sure if it should be 3 or 2 stars). I think this is also the first course on Coursera that didn't get 5 stars from me (not sure if I've given 4 stars once only).

So the bad parts first:

Assignments are so unrealistic it's unbelievable. Week 1 is doable. Week 2 is problematic if you have a complex idea, let's say it's still doable, but you would certainly need more time than expected weekly hour work. Week 3 is insane. It is so out of the scope of this course. And week 4 is even worse, I had to use pen and paper and then explain only 1 of the core mechanics (even that used more than expected weekly hour work).

Some of the quizzes are not fully clear if you are not a native English speaker. Sometimes I had to re-read things several times, and still wasn't sure what I was doing wrong (I realized that only after I managed to literally guess the correct answer).

And most of all grading is the worst I've seen in any course. All of it based on a personal opinion. Hey I even managed not to get full points for a "document is HTML/PDF/....". I mean - how can I not get full points there? It either is or is not a HTML. It's so much subjective that it's making it awful.

Now about the good parts:

Professor did a great job, the course inspired so many ideas for me.

The material is concise and it was a pleasure listening to this course.

Most of the courses are too slow for me, so I have to fast forward them to 1.5 and some even to 2 times speed. I've run this course only on 1.25 speed, which is a good thing. I'm not a native English speaker.

By Arturo E

Dec 12, 2015

The course material is good, and Casey always gives further reads and references. I specially liked to have book references and I started to read one of those.

I found however a disconnection between the idea of using the MDA/DPE framework described in the course, and the actual projects which were more into creating the set of documents used in game design to collect the details, create a better picture, and think better about the game. In some way, the iterative process of coming back to the idea, from document to document, helped to refine the game, but it happened more as something natural.

I wished we would have had some sort of checklist to evaluate and apply during the design process the framework.

As feedback to the instructor, I think he needs to stop using the ending word "right?" to finish his sentences. At some point, of the course it became really difficult to follow, right?. right?. right? ... ufff ...

Also, I believe he knows a lot, but a bit of preparation and flow in his lectures would be appreciated. Maybe the use of some sort of autoclue, would help.

Last, but this could be more for the course editors, the instructor has good slides and material, but usually during the lectures the slides disappear (just in the moment one need to focus his attention in the written material) and the instructor appears in first plane. I think you could keep the instructor in a PIP box all the time, and perhaps put him in first plane only at the beginning and end.

By Michele G

Nov 29, 2016

The course covers a lot of interesting topics i a short time, citing external documents, webpages and books; sometimes some questions in the quiz refer to external documents.

About the assignment: it start quite easy, about high concept, story bible, game design document, making the student write more and more detailed, focusing all the attention on the documents. Than, at week4, you need to create a prototype, digital or non-digital, based on your creations. I found this unexpected and really it's unrealistic to be able to create a decent prototype in the same amount of time given to write a document.

About the grading system: to take the best score, you need to go "epicly" beyond the call of duty. I don't like that. A student should take the maximum score if he does everything required, and he/she does it good. No need to overdo in my opinion.

About the quiz: if you make mistakes, he doesn't tell you what's wrong, he doesn't show you the right answer. It's not a problem of the Coursera platform, as in the previous course, the teacher filled the quiz with all the explaination of the correct and incorrect answers.

So, should i suggest this course? Well the topics are interesting, they could have been transmitted better, with better assignments and grading score.

By Chase C

Nov 19, 2017

There was some useful knowledge in this course, however I'm not certain the professor is the best choice. He is very difficult to follow, is not concise, and at times seems to space out during the lecture. The quizzes are even worse, as they don't clearly teach...sometimes allowing for any selection to be the "right" answer. My main comlaint about this course is how they assign a project, with no forewarning of complexity, or prior explanation. For example, the final project is to build a prototype, but in none of the videos did it explain this would be coming. I was very late to submit because I have no knowledge of building a digital game, so I had to rush and figure out a way to build an entirely new game which didn't match all of the digital game documentation I've built through the course. This is a terrible design of the course and needs to be changed.

By Michael P

Feb 09, 2017

Could have more information about concepts. I would say this is a very, very high level look at game design. Concepts are not explored very much. For example, level design is mentioned. I can sum up the whole lesson in that as "Game designers create pieces and level designers put those pieces together in interesting ways." How to actually do level design, what makes a good level, etc. are not explored at all. There are some generic tips, like ("Make sure it is balanced," "it should be interesting and paced right." The most value of this course is the documentation to write down game ideas in.

This should all make sense by the fact that the course alone is 4 weeks long. 1 week of the machine learning course is about equal to this whole course.

By Pavel K

Apr 01, 2019

The main problem of this course is inadequate assessment of student work. No matter how well the work is done, the student cannot point out errors about which he himself admits. I am absolutely not sure that my game documents are not pieces of garbage.

Well, if Casey had learned to use the word "rigt" less often, it would have sounded much more convincing. Trying to calculate how many times for the course he uses it stopped at 300.

I would recommend adding more links to the GDC videos.

But do not forget about the pros. I never thought that I could write so much. A very important skill in expressing your own thoughts through writing. Explaining your idea to others was quite simple. Make it all in the form of a document - not. Thank you for that.

By Anna P

Jul 31, 2017

While this course includes a lot of useful information, all the peer review assignments are extremely unclear. For example, in the end of the course you suppose to release a prototype of your game but it would be a surprise to you, because since the beggining you were just imagining things and writing documentation about imaginary game you'd like to build. And then turns out that you have to BUILD a protorype of this game or at very least to write down all the mechanics and how they work. Not to mention the size of these assignments, they are quite big and if you are not a designer or an artist you won't get max grade on them.

By Kelly

Feb 21, 2016

One big user-experience comment is that I wish that the videos had been edited; there are many long pauses and times where there is a lot of talking around the thing that you actually want to say. I think you have some great things to say, but perhaps streamlining those ideas and editing out the times when you need to pause to think (which is definitely legitimate when recording yourself!) or other things of that nature, would have definitely cut down on the length of the videos. Long videos aren't bad, if they are well put-together and conveying information in an engaging way.

By Peter B S

Mar 06, 2017

I found that the momentum build in the first course of the "Game Design and Development" specialization was lost when going into Principles of Game Design. In my opinion the course became too focused on the theory, where it could have combined the learnings of "Introduction to Game Development" with the principles of game design in a 50/50 ish combination.

However, if your sole purpose is the theory of games and game design, and you do attend the course in relation to the specialization, then by all means, it's a decent course.

By Alex A

Nov 18, 2018

Feels dead - not too much mentor/admin activity.

Also, difficult course to rely solely on peer feedback, as it's all highly subjective.

Overall I had a great fun time further flushing out my ideas and learning how to transform them into working prototypes; however, being siloed to feedback from a few "low-quality" peer reviewers is eroding my experience, it would be better if Coursera/this course could ensure a diversity of peer reviewers. Right now it feels like I'm being trolled vs. receiving actionable feedback to improve.

By Francois B

Nov 23, 2015

This course competes with a full specialization on Coursera with a slight flavor of the "Understanding Video Game" course also available on Coursera.

The grading is supported by quizzes and assignment associated to a poor grading system. I found this single class less challenging and interesting than the full specialization on Game Design from CalArts although it allows you to have another view of the process of Game Design in a more engineering way (e.g. writing documentation and not thinking on creating game...).

By Gannon P

Sep 29, 2016

This seemed like a somewhat outdated course but did have a lot of basic info for people who want to make a game but haven't given it much thought. I also found the quizzes and review options frustration due to poorly worded questions and rating choices, as well as the lack of a written feedback option besides comments. Some of the videos seem to kind of drag on a bit as well, but overall it was still helpful for developing my game despite feeling like I didn't gain much new information.

By Andres M

Oct 27, 2015

Although the course content is highly informative and interesting, the way it's all presented it not the best, most of the time concepts are confusing because of this, quizzes become guessing games most of the time. Forums feel neglected by the course tutor, lot's of question that someone knowledgeable should answer become random rambling as nobody is sure as to what the tutor actually meant. As somebody said on the forums "I feel like I'm alpha testing your course".

By Marvin O S

Jun 07, 2019

The lectures are good and the instructor is clealy competent in Game Design. However, I feel that lectures are sometimes not straight to the point and tests contain questions, which are partially really tricky to answer. Furthermore, I disagree with the evaluation attribute "epic". I do not think that a small course project would ever be epic, nor do I think that this should be required. I believe that "feasible" would per already complex enough to achieve......

By Julio C B O

Jan 12, 2016

The information is great, but I think they need to make this course in two phases because there was a lot of information to process and the assignments need more time if you want to do a good work. The other part that I didn't like was that the information doesn't really correspond to what you actually need to do for your assignments, I think the course needs more videos and examples of how to create the required documents.

By Dmytro N

Jan 21, 2019

For me, the course was too general, basically an overview saying you can make game ideas out of nothing; however, it's going to be hard to bring them to life. I would enjoy the course much more if it would provide more practical examples of prototyping without code on different engines, provide more details about free-to-play monetisation and game design principles, etc.

By Юдин И

Mar 25, 2016

Tasks are different in complexity, but time is given the same.

Speaker's constantly interrupts sentences. Hard to understand for people, who bad speek English.

Questions for peer review are bad:

"Mark 5 if work amasing". But we just student, our work are rough, not amasing. And everybody can grade as he wish.

By Calista L

Jun 13, 2020

The content is really interesting but i think the lectures will be more enjoyable if the lecturer is not so stiff at explaining things

But overall, having completed this course, I now have some basic knowledge about game design, which is really beneficial