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

1,366 ratings
360 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 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.

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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301 - 325 of 346 Reviews for Principles of Game Design

By Samuel I

May 2, 2017

Great Instructor videos, bad assignments and peer grading system.

"Is the file submitted as PDF? Rate from 1 to 5" everyone puts 1 as my score even if I submitted it as PDF file, should be a yes or no question.

By Robert M

Sep 5, 2016

The quizzes were too short to be effective, and without requiring written feedback from peer review, the process doesn't seem very useful. The best information was from the articles and books he recommends.

By Mitja C

Apr 4, 2017

The course touched just the basics of game design principles. Everything was mostly theory based without any practical examples. I was expecting some kind of other approach of teaching this kind of topic.

By Zhangir N

Aug 26, 2020

The course is not particularly good, as in giving enough relevant information, but it does provide some important documents.

The forums are pretty much filled with people who are just asking for reviews.

By David M

Apr 9, 2018

Not as practical as the first course of this specialization, It would be nice if the videos showed images of the games when the professor is talking about them instead of the same three diagrams.

By Tatiana K

Feb 12, 2018

The content for reading is great, but in the videos the lecturer often spends a lot of time on things which seem a bit too general and vague. Although, may be idea development of a game is vague.

By Scott T R

Dec 21, 2015

This class started out very rocky and the videos had errors, the quizzes had problems, and the assignments had a poor grading system. Hopefully, these will be corrected in future offerings.

By Seth L

Feb 16, 2016

This was a very wordy course. Some times it felt like they just kept repeating and rambling, but I did learn the proper documentation for big games.

By Steven S

Sep 27, 2020

The learning material and videos are great, but the assignment system is unbalanced and subjective, leading up to unfair evaluation.

By Tal B A

Oct 11, 2020

It was good course however it was purely theoretical which I dislike. Would rather cources with actuall coding tutorials

By Jaime R

Dec 12, 2015

Content is interesting but the lectures and the content is far below the first course in the series in my opinion.

By Nikolaos B

Mar 18, 2016

Sometimes it was difficult to follow! but good overall

By Iggy Z

Oct 7, 2017

Pretty basic stuff, though it does spark a few ideas.

By Alon A

Jun 3, 2018

Wasnt all that helpfull, very optimistic though

By Austin C

Mar 2, 2016

Didn't learn as much as intro to game dev'.

By Shalia W

Nov 13, 2015

Interesting ideas but a bit disorganized.

By shubham t

Jul 14, 2020

not at much practical knowledge provided

By Sumesh P

Jun 13, 2017

This is less action and more theory.

By mahmoud o a s

Sep 28, 2019

no more practical assignment

By Lewis H

Nov 2, 2015

Quizzes need redone

By Lucas Y

Nov 21, 2020

a little boring

By Matheus G L

Jun 28, 2016

I will review this course appointing its pros and cons.


- The instructor: he is a captivating person. It really seems that he like game development, he make jokes and try to make the course interesting. So, he’s personality is makes the course less boring.


- The course name: when I saw “design” in the course name and the icon of course page, I thought it would be related to graphic design, or history telling and so on. But no, the “design” means “project”. So I think a better name would be “Principles of Game Project”. Although, it might be just me who thought this way, because in my language design means something totally different.

- The course content: this course should be at the end of the specialization. It is too much abstract and, in some aspects, very obvious. I will not say it is completely useless, because it is not. It gives us a structured view of the stages of game design and its documentation, but I think it would be better if it was like a case study.

- The assignments: probably the worst part of the course. They very very complex, to be sincere, none of the assignments I reviewed were full, I gave max grades to many because I think the person tried really hard to make it. Imagine this situation: you are not a programmer, not a graphic designer, not a writer and with a week you need to make a prototype of the game idea you’ve been working on course. This prototype must show the game mechanics and aesthetics, should be playable… And can be non digital? Come on, we are here learning the concepts of developments digital games and the instructor says that we can make a non digital prototype? Some people did it, and I can say for sure that I couldn’t imagine the real game. I made a digital prototype using the knowledge acquired from the first course, but as you can imagine, it is not enough to make our game ideas come true.

- The peer review system: the grading is completely non sense, as I said before, the assignments are complex, so it is difficult to show our ideas clearly in a document, without the abilities to make concept arts or something. In 2 of the 4 assignments 2 of the 3 people gave me max grades and 1 gave me bad grades, and did not left any feedback! One of the assignments when I first submitted it I got 12/20. Then, when I resubmitted it, without changing a comma, I got 20/20. So I think this system must change, maybe the mentor should do it.

If you want to do all the specialization, ok, go and do this course. But, if this is not your objective, do not waste your time.

By Alexey F

Jun 24, 2020

I've got pretty controversial opinion about this course. Unlike the previous Unity course, this one does not require learner to use any software (except the optional use of them in the last assignment)

From this course I learned such important things that are the basics of the visual and aesthetic base in creating video games, about how the feelings and thoughts of the designer are transmitted to the player, how the game experience is created and how to draw up design documents for games, which is a very important point in the gaming industry

However, the course itself is organized poorly enough. Lectures contain a lot of irrelevant and unnecessary information that is not tested in any way and does not find its embodiment in the projects. The lecturer is often carried away by the narration of his thoughts and moves away from the topic.

Tests do not always contribute to active learning, many test questions do not have the correct answers and look like "give an example of such and such a game that you find such and such ...". Reading materials and additional videos are totally optional for study and are not subjects for testing, and only in a few cases I could find them useful for the projects.

Separately, it is worth mentioning about the projects that students will carry out on this course. There are four of them, and the most important and practically the most useful of them is the first one where it will be necessary to create the design document itself. The next two are the copies of it with some additions. The most controversial and obscure project is the fourth one, where students are not given clear ideas and ways to create a prototype of one of their mechanics of their fictional game. Therefore, as I noticed while evaluating other projects, many students do not understand what is required of them. Someone sent for evaluation just their projects from the previous course or simply attached design documents from the previous assignments.

By Bernhard H

Jan 31, 2016

While I really liked the first course I have massive problems with this course. The first 2 assignments, a high concept document and a story bible were doable.

But a full GDD and a prototype on week 3 and 4? These aren't part-time tasks for a few days, these are full-time tasks for at least a full month each to do them properly from scratch. These assignments are so unrealistically hard that they demotivate. And I'm saying that as someone who already had quite some ideas for one game and even started experimental programming. For people that are taking this specialization without a focus on game design and/or without ideas... this course is going to be hell to finish in time.

By David A

Aug 20, 2017

While the content itself was very helpful, I feel that the grading itself is very broken. To start, a "passing grade" is 60%, which is failing by most other grading standards. Additionally, and even more so, to even pass you need to be rated "above and beyond" on a couple of criteria. I'm personally an over-achiever, so I try to do that anyway--but, it's really disheartening when I put myself into it, and get graded by my peers saying that I "went above and beyond" but not "epic". Seems very very subjective. The very fact that I can get a 100% from one reviewer and 40% from another seems to indicate that the scoring mechanism could use some work.