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

1,110 ratings
290 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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226 - 250 of 276 Reviews for Principles of Game Design

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 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 Sumesh P

Jun 13, 2017

This is less action and more theory.

By Brian S P J

Jun 25, 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 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 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 Lewis H

Nov 02, 2015

Quizzes need redone

By Austin C

Mar 02, 2016

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

By Shalia W

Nov 14, 2015

Interesting ideas but a bit disorganized.

By David M

Apr 09, 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 Mitja C

Apr 04, 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 Simone D S

Mar 19, 2017

The course is interesting.

The peer-review assigment and grading system is the weak park of this course : you are asked to do a prototype in one week that must be reviewed "pretty epic" from the other students for the highest grade.

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 Chanchana S

Oct 11, 2016

Nice abstraction about all kinds of games not about a specific game genre. But I'm not into it because I like developing games more than thinking about design. This course's homework is somewhat irrelevant of the course content.

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 Robert M

Sep 05, 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 Samuel I

May 02, 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 Alon A

Jun 03, 2018

Wasnt all that helpfull, very optimistic though

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 Iggy Z

Oct 07, 2017

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

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 Seth L

Feb 17, 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 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 Nikolaos B

Mar 18, 2016

Sometimes it was difficult to follow! but good overall

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.