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

4.4
stars
1,371 ratings
361 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

JR
Mar 26, 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.

MC
Apr 2, 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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1 - 25 of 349 Reviews for Principles of Game Design

By Benhur O J

Apr 4, 2019

Pretty poor course. The lectures are incomplete. Most of the learning process is left for the assignments. Finally, the scoring system for the assignments is very subjective leading to unfair evaluation. Please revise this course because it is a pity so low quality while first course is so good.

By Marina M

Mar 10, 2020

The course material was relevant and to the point, but I couldn't get rid of the impression of the course 'soullessness'. Here is why:

1. most of the reading materials are from early and mid-00s (and no one seems to care)

2. forums are only craving for reviews, otherwise would be dead

3. peer grading system may feel awkward when students receive lower than expected grades with no explanation from the reviewer

4. Casey O'Donnell is a great lecturer, but it feels like he had never got back to the course after recording it more than 5 years ago

Only because I had no previous knowledge of game design and the information was new to me, I can rate it now at 4*, otherwise it would be 3* or less.

Dear Coursera team, if you care about fixing these issues, please feel free to contact me for suggestions

By Omid

May 17, 2020

This course could be more fun and informative by preparing more in-depth analysis of famous games from different genres. I'm sure reverse designing a few well-known rpg, strategy, fighting, etc. games and making an actual game design document by instructor himself could give more insight than this superfluous brief overview of topics. That being said, I'm currently taking the next course in the specialization (Game Business) and I'm pretty satisfied with quality of contents so far. So while I'm not happy with this game design course, I recommend taking the next one. Cheers.

By Mete G

Feb 3, 2020

Unfortunately, the course isn't very good. The subjects are told in a very abstract way. So, you are having a really hard time while doing the assignments. The instructor just keeps asking questions after questions without really teaching anything and he always says "Right?" at the end of every sentence which becomes really annoying after a while. Instead of focusing what he tells, you concantrate to hear if he is gonna say "Right?" again or not at the end of the sentence. AND HE SAYS. HE SAYS "RIGHT?" AT THE END OF EVERY SENTENCE. It's unbelieveable.

By Yunxiang L

Jan 14, 2019

I do not want to be so offensive, but I hold the opinion that this course is useless at all. I will give up my ambition to accomplish the Game Design and Development Specialization after studying half of this course.

First of all, the course itself has a lot of problems. Videos presented by professor, quiz for each small unit and the final assignment for the week, these things have little relevance. Actually I can just complete the quiz without watching videos at all.

Secondly, the assignment workload for each week is not reasonable.For instance, you may write a high concept document in week one and come out with a game prototype in week four, but you cannot complete a game design document in only one week! It is impossible even for native speakers and for most people who study in Coursera we do not just have to learn from Coursera! We may have jobs or we need to seek for a job or we just to study other lessons in campus, we can not just spend one week on this ambiguous course.

Furthermore, the peer review criteria is totally ridiculous! You have only three grades to give others, 1 for accomplish the purpose , 3 for beyond the basic demand and 5 for doing some epic work. The most ridiculous thing is that we should give 1,3,5 points for one demand which is called "Does this assignment is in PDF HTML or TEXT form?" . How to let just uploading files to be "beyond" or "epic"?

To cut the long story short, only people with mature game ideas or only for people who are already act as game designers can fulfill this course successfully but I do not think they need an introductory level course to improve themselves at all.

By Ralph R

May 21, 2020

It is unfortunate, but this course is terrible. The fact that the next course in the series is taught by the same instructor is the reason I will not be completing the specialization. I skipped ahead and completed "Game Development for Modern Platforms" instead, which I recommend.

The reason for my strong feelings is the lack of real, practical content. The primary advice of the lecturer is "Well, it's also important that you think about this...". What I would desire instead is: "The greatest minds in game design have thought about this and this is what they've come up with so far."

This content exists and is out there. For instance, the director of Super Mario World has clearly explained his 4-step procedure for designing some of the best levels in gaming (you can find this on Youtube). The creator of "Crypt of the Necrodancer" has clearly explained exactly how he chooses which of his game design ideas to pursue (based on the amount and quality of the "hooks").

These practical methods that we can learn from and apply is what I would want from a course like this, but none of this type of content exists here.

This course wasted my time. I completed it because I'm not a quitter, but I won't do another course in this style.

By Alan C

Sep 7, 2016

I probably have to rate this course 5 stars just for the supplementary reading materials provided. There's a lot of great information provided here. This course helps formalize a process that highly talented people just do intuitively. With the information within, you're able to better understand different aspects of your creative process. At times, the professor's delivery can be a little distracting (he has quite a few awkward pauses in the middle of thoughts, and uses the phrase, "right?" a little too unconsciously). I also found some of the lecture material difficult to connect in a practical sense. Some aspects of the design, play, experience model could use better examples in lecture to make the points more concrete. It is a deep model, and they do in fact point you to a whitepaper published on it so there is that, but just for the sake of the lessons; the examples need better explanation. The quizzes were easy, but challenging in the wrong way. Often, questions are posed that weren't ever directly answered in lecture or the materials, and sometimes they are worded in ways that make it difficult to pinpoint what they are looking for. It would be nice to see student responses to the free-response questions make a comeback in future lessons or at least know that they could possibly carry into the material used to teach the next incoming class. The assignments follow a logical progression, and again are supplemented with great materials. The review system is a little wonky. I've posted in the boards about this. They need to make the criteria more clear. The community activity is pretty low. I'm not sure how this can be addressed, but overall this is a great course and perfect second stop on the journey towards the Game Design and Development specialization.

By Kristopher C T

Jan 23, 2019

Great framework for game design. Got me focusing on a lot of things that I hadn't considered previously. I originally felt it started kind of slow, but that is how any idea starts. It needs to go through all of the steps necessary to make it a reality and Casey O'Donnell is great at teaching the process. Recommended

By Johan R

Mar 27, 2016

Great course!

Thought 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.

By Khaled K

Sep 23, 2016

Excellent course, it was sure difficult at the beginning but be patient, at the end you will be amazed of the amount of game design skills you've learned! Thanks a lot professor O'Donnell!

By Brian S P J

Jun 24, 2018

Good course, but the weekly projects are very open-ended to peer discretion. I did what I was supposed to do for the final project, but got a 68% for whatever reason (no one commented any feedback). Most peers don't understand the assignments.

By Dave J

Jun 15, 2017

The hours required for the assignments is well above the 2 hours stated. Also, there is no required comments on feedback, which can be very frustrating.

Otherwise, the material is interesting, and well presented.

By Piotr R

Dec 5, 2017

This lecturer is really annoying, ... ...

...

..., right?

No seriously, the majority of the material seems quite obvious and grading rules of the submissions are so unclear ("Wow, that was amazing!"). Moreover, the pacing of the submission feels unbalanced. A game design document made in a week? o_O

By Tiago A N d S

Jan 27, 2020

Outdated material and it's hard to keep with the trainer.

By Pan S T

Jul 25, 2019

This course while provides good theoretical and supplementary information and theoretical knowledge on how to include mechanics and design a game using design documents and prototypes, I personally feel that some of the technical skill gaps should be accounted for via taking another course - Game Development for Modern Systems - first before taking the Game Design course. There's an assignment that required to produce a prototype, and the Introduction to Game Development course covers very specific recipes using the Unity 3D game engine. This knowledge and skill information are not sufficient to help the developer-in-training to self-develop, translating the specific mechanics the person has in-mind into a self-sufficient developed prototype. It would be great if a separate course or project module were to provide sufficient sandbox-ing and experimental ground to be flex their creativity onto their programming skills, and use that as a springboard onto the prototype game submission. Overall, this course does cover sufficient ground for students to be curious enough to explore different game genres and learn the creative process behind such developments.

By Keyvan R A

Oct 26, 2020

A very interesting course, a lot of useful information, I understood a lot for this training, I applied knowledge tools in practice. Moved from concept to design documentation, game idea and prototyping. Thanks to the University of Michigan, a teacher and game designer Casey O'Donnell for the fact that he explains everything clearly. I recommend this course, one of the best in Game Design. Thank you guys it was very interesting :)

By Jayanth T

Oct 4, 2016

Amazing teacher, and amazing concepts! I REALLY enjoyed going through this course and learning a lot of great concepts for getting ideas for video games, and general advice for game design!

By Ellasa S

Jul 22, 2017

I am very grateful for this course! Well-presented, great exercises and additional reading (the only suggestion would be to maybe update the material a bit, soon? :)). Really valuable!

By Lisa V

May 8, 2020

The course is superinteresting. It was a great please to dive into the processes of game design. And also helpful not only for developing games, but for other business tasks also.

By Soumya R R

Nov 1, 2020

Helped Me to think what to do for my game. This Course will teach how to create a blueprint for the game.

By William O

Oct 31, 2020

Muy bueno el curso excelente profesor.

By Samuel P

Nov 1, 2020

Very useful

By Md. T R

Aug 18, 2020

I have gradually moved from Engineering to UI/UX Design and now Game Design. For around last 6 months, I've become heavily interested in AR/VR based game design. For that I at least needed to have some knowledge on Game Design.

So I've researched a bit & found this course. This course helped me build my fundamental about the Game Design which I absolutely don't have.

The thing I love abut this course is the information provided here to start as a beginner. But, sorry, sometime it felt like more textual then visual. I suggest you to update this course with proper blend of Audio-visual material with latest resources

Its a nice course overall. Thank you

By Gabriel L C

Sep 14, 2020

If you take this course, keep in mind that you're going to get just as much as you put in to it. It's not hard but it's a very good start to Game Design and if you put in the effort and really try to make a cool game in the assignments then this course will deliver the knowledge for you. It's not a course that you can take passively and hope that the knowledge just slides into your head

By Mykyta T

Oct 29, 2017

The course itself is nice, but everything about the peer-graded assignments for weeks 2-4 just doesn't work.