Game Design Paper

Due: Thursday, November 30, 2017

Choose one of the topics below and write a paper on it. Your paper should be at least three pages long, but think more in terms of interesting content and showing what you've learned than in terms of font size and margin width. Grades for papers will be based on content, organization, writing style, and spelling, so take some time to polish your paper.

It's important to be specific, and show that you've thought about and understand the concepts that you are writing about.

Your paper should be in HTML, PDF, or Microsoft Word format.

Unity tutorial

Write a tutorial that explains how to do something in Unity. Include annotated screen shots and other images that you think will help readers understand your topic.

I encourage you to choose a topic that you encountered in your Box World project or that you will use in your final project, but you can choose another topic if you'd like.

I would like to make a UVU game programming web site that includes Unity tutorials, so please let me know if it's okay to post your tutorial on the web site. If so, tell me whether you want your name on it.

I will use the following criteria to grade your tutorial:
• Usefulness of your topic
• How clear and easy to follow it is
• Quality and helpfulness of images
• The knowledge of Unity and game graphics that it demonstrates

Goals, diplomacy, and player interaction

Costikyan wrote about how nonexclusive goals can encourage diplomacy. Find a game that you think would benefit from encouraging diplomacy. Think about how the game could be changed to include more diplomacy and write about the following:
• What goals, if any, in the game are nonexclusive? Could the goals be changed to be nonexclusive?
• What changes to the rules or the program would have to be made to allow diplomacy?
• Presumably an advantage of making goals nonexclusive is to make the game more interesting in terms of diplomacy and negotiation. What are the disadvantages of nonexclusive goals?
• What other ways are there to encourage diplomacy and player interaction?


In spite of the fact that the RPG in MMORPG stands for Role Playing Game, some (or most) MMORPGs don't really have much role playing in them, and don't do a very good job of encouraging it. Write about your experiences in MMORPGs with roleplaying, and how games could be improved by promoting roleplaying.

Some topics that you can address are:
• How important is roleplaying in MMORPGs? Does it contribute to games or is it a concept that's only important in non-computer games.
• What player actions detract from the roleplaying experience and from the game overall?
• What changes to the game could improve roleplaying? Write about this in terms of both encouraging positive behavior and preventing (or discouraging) negative behavior.

Narrative tension

Compile a list of at least ten ideas and game mechanics for controlling the pacing and narrative tension of games. Look for ideas in games that you've played, in game design and programming books, and on the web. Keep in mind that even though narrative tension (or gameplay tension) is not the same in games as it is in movies and books, some ideas from writing books and resources might be useful. For each idea, evaluate it in general terms and in terms of whether it will be useful in your project.

Variety of encounter

Choose several games that you have played and evaluate them in terms of variety of encounter. What aspects of each game encourage replayability or discourage it? For MMORPGs, do you feel like you end up grinding, or are there interesting quests? Do you think it would be possible to address variety of encounter in the games you selected by generating content like maps, levels, quests, or characters? What other ways are there of making games more interesting and promoting replayability?

Tuning and dramatic tension: "Us vs. It"

Try out the "iterative tuning game" "Us vs It" from Report your experience with the game. Was it fun to play? What did you learn about tuning and/or dramatic tension from playing the game?


Go to Safari Books Online by going to the UVU library's web page, and find the book Players Making Decisions: Game Design Essentials and the Art of Understanding Your Players by Zack Hiwiller. Read Part 3: Meaningful Decisions. Summarize the information in that part of the book and then give a critique and tell which parts you think are the most interesting and useful and which parts are not useful. Explain how the ideas in this part of the book could be applied to your group's game or the game you pitched.

Extra Credits YouTube videos

Watch two or three related Extra Credits game design videos. Summarize the videos and explain how the concepts and design techniques in the video could be applied to your group's project. Be specific.

Other topics...

If you would like to write a paper about a topic that is not listed here, you'll need to get instructor approval. Send me an email describing your topic with a short outline of what you will write about.

Turn in

Put all of the files for your paper (HTML, PDF, images, etc.) in a zip file and turn the zip file in on Canvas.


70 Content, including relevance, accuracy, and originality. For Unity tutorials, this includes usefulness of the topic, quality of images, and the knowledge of Unity and game graphics that it demonstrates. For other topics, make sure that you suggest ways to improve game designs, and don't just describe your experience.
20 Organization and writing style, including clarity; coherent paragraphs; clear beginning, middle and end of the paper; appropriate transitions; smooth flow.
10 Grammar, spelling, punctuation