Assignment 3: The Final Assignment

You’ve learned the basics of design and iteration, now it is time to put those principles to practice by developing and refining a much bigger game.

Due Dates:

CONCEPT PRESENTATION — In-class Monday, 7/20
BETA PRESENTATION — In-class Monday, 8/3
FINAL PRESENTATION — In-class Friday, 8/7

DOCUMENTATION / DELIVERABLES: Due at the time of each presentation.

Deliverables are to be submitted to your team’s ASSIGNMENT folder on Box. (This will be shared with you)

All documentation should be submitted as PDF files.


For this assignment, teams have expanded in size, and the project has expanded in size. Students will be assigned to teams based upon the results of their interest survey, which will determine the type of game that the team will develop.

The game assignment for each team will feature constraints in the form of series of prompts that the team can choose from to inspire their game.

This project is of a much larger scope – with 3.5 weeks of development compared to the previous 1. This means that your design should go through MANY more iterative cycles. These will include formal iterations – which are scheduled milestones that have preset expectations for your design to have accomplished, and which will be accompanied by progress presentations and documentation deliverables – and between these formal iterations will be your internal iterations where you should repeat the cycle of design, build, experiment, reflect. Milestones will be set at a weekly pace, and your design should undergo at least 2 -3 iterations between those milestones.

Phase I: Game Concept

The early brainstorming phase, you should come to the Concept presentation prepared to explain the basics of your game and how you see it working.


  • This step does not require prior playtesting, just iteration and explanation of the concept itself.


The following is due by the start of class on Monday 7/20:

  • Concept presentation (2-3 slides)
  • Game Design Document (draft)

Phase II: Prototyping

In this phase, it is time to build out and test the first versions of your games. Use this session to try out your core mechanics. Does your game work the way that you anticipated it would? How quickly do you complete the core game loop? What issues arise that you did not expect? Most importantly, is it FUN? (and if not, why?) Your project should go through at least 2 major iterative cycles during this stage. By the end you should have a good idea of what your gameplay is like.


  • During this week, internal playtesting (trying the game with your teammates) is to be expected. If you want to use external playtesters that’s great, but not required.
  • You should run at least two significant internal playtesting sessions during this phase. Take notes and be prepared to report on the results during your presentation.


The following is due by the start of class on Monday 7/27:

  • Progress Presentation (slides in class – show us how your design is evolving)
  • Game Design Document (updated to reflect latest design iteration)
  • Playtest Notes
  • Design Journal


The following is due by the start of class on Tuesday 7/28:

  • Individual Reflection – this time around you have more time to work, and more teammates to work with. How has that changed your approach to designing the game? How does your role within this team differ from your last team? What aspects of the project do YOU are you most excited about? What aspects of the project concern you?

Phase III: Beta

This is when your production really kicks in. Your goal for the end of this phase is to have your game almost entirely worked out. Your core mechanics should be tuned and your gameplay balanced. This week it is time to find the features that support this balance, and help support the “fun” of your game. It is also time to consider which features need to go – what is working against you? What additions do you reasonably have time to do? By the end of this phase, your game should be nearly complete, only needing some final polish.


  • This week should be a combination of internal playtesting as well as playtesting with outside guests – people who have never played your game before. Invite them to play multiple rounds – often someone will need to play the game a few times before grasping the mechanics, so repeated play will help expose the strategies that more seasoned players may try, and the areas of your game that you may not have considered.
  • You should run at least 2 external playtesting sessions during this cycle, and be prepared to present the results.


The following is due by the start of class on Monday 8/3:

  • Progress Presentation (slides in class – show us how your design is evolving)
  • Game Design Document (updated to reflect latest design iteration)
  • Playtest Notes
  • Design Journal

Phase IV: The Final Frontier

This phase is all about finishing strong. Your game itself should not change much from your Beta (unless your playtesting uncovers significant issues that must be addressed). This week is all about putting a coat of fine polish on your game. Focus on the tangible aspects of your game, what you want the final player experience to be. You should be progressing your artwork to a final stage that you would expect if you were going to publish your game. Your game should come with it’s own documentation – directions/rules/how-to-play – so that a new user can open this up and successfully run a game of their own with no outside help.


There is very little playtesting expected for this week, outside of perhaps showing your designs, artwork, and documentation to a guest to check whether or not it has the desired effect.


The following is due by the start of class on Friday 8/7:

  • Final Presentation (slides in class)
  • Final Game Assets (we will discuss what this means for each team)
  • Final Game Design Document (updated for the final game state)
  • Project Post-Mortem (break down how your project is going)


The following is due by the end of day Saturday 8/8:

  • Individual Reflection – Looking back on this project, describe your contributions to the design process. What aspects are you most proud of? What do you wish had turned out differently? How did the experience of creating this product compare to the previous projects? What have you learned about yourself over the course of this semester?


The team assignment will be graded in three parts:

  • Product Grade (50%) – graded on the quality of the game you create. Is this game fun? Innovative? How well did you incorporate the mechanic and theme? Does your game have a strong core loop? Do you have a comprehensive or well thought out set of rules? Is this game balanced? This grade is subjective, reacting to the quality of the final product itself.
  • Process Grade (25%) – graded on the quality of your design process. How well did you work together as a team? Did you share roles or divide responsibilities fairly? Did you run playtests? How well did your design respond to the feedback that you received? Can you demonstrate what you learned in this process?
  • Documentation Grade (25%) – graded on the quality of your documentation, including reflection and final team deliverables. How well did you document your design process? your playtests? How well do you communicate your designs and design process in your presentations? Can a novice user understand your game design document?

The individual reflection document will be graded on quality of self-reflection and will be applied to the Individual Assignment grade for the class.

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