Self-study|IT|Int|Lesson 11: Game design


💡Now let’s revise what you’ve learnt before.

Put the letters in the correct order to make words

Match the programmers to the type of work they do

💡Games have become an inseparable part of our culture. In some countries, games are regarded as a form of art. E-sports is getting more and more popular. According to analysts, the audience and financial turnover of the e-sports industry will surpass traditional sports by 2025.

Why are games so exciting? And what is the role of game programming and design?

Today we’re going to study this matter in detail and fill your knowledge gaps!

Ready? Let’s get started!


Tick the things that attract you in a computer game

Study some new words and then do the quiz to find out what type of gamer you are


Listen to the recordings and choose the type of a computer game to fit each description

One. These games are played over a LAN (local area network) or via the Internet. Players use a network and interact with other players in the virtual game room. You can play against people from all over the world.

Two. These games involve taking control of real-world vehicles, including tanks, ships, and aircraft. You learn how to control these vehicles.

Three. These are usually single-player games and are often set in fantasy worlds. The game generally starts with a back story of your character, and you know what your mission is. You have to figure out how to complete the mission.

Four. For these games, you usually need to build up your inventory of items, armies, etc. Such games move in real time, and players can play at once without taking turns so you can play together at the same time.

Five. You are the protagonist, and the game is viewed through your eyes. You can really get into these games. The only downfall is that you are not able to see how you look in the game because you are seeing things through your own eyes.

Six. If you love fantasy, you will love these games. You get to act out the part of the main character, be the hero, etc., and make decisions that go along with the game’s story lines. Many of these games have narrative guides.

Seven. Fight one-on-one with opponents, up close and personal. You need good reflexes and the ability to use the controls for all kinds of fighting moves.

Eight. These tend to be war games or spy-based games, where you use stealth to defeat your enemies.

Nine. While many parents and teachers complain about video games, there are some great games out there that can help with the learning process. You can train in a variety of subjects, using games to make learning fun instead of boring.

Ten. These games appeal to those who love to solve difficult puzzles. There are many levels, from beginner to expert, and games usually have coloured shapes and simple actions. These are brain games with no action involved.

Label the pictures with the types of computer games


Before reading

Type a list of 10 rules for good game design


Read the text and choose the correct headings


Read the text and complete the tasks

1. Come up with the concept of the game first and then design the rules around that concept.
All games should have a premise, theme or focus determined from the start. All games should have a target audience. Don’t just design a game system without any central concept and then plug in some flavor text because you will just end up with a system that is far removed from the story concept and that will break the suspension of disbelief in the player. They will try to understand why they have to, for example, fly through hoops in a Superman game.

2. Verify and validate at every step of the design.
Constantly ask yourself what the game is supposed to be about and if the current design is making that happen. Ask yourself if the game is fun, and every time you add a new idea or mechanic, double-check to make sure the game is still fun even with these changes. Remember that no matter what game you make, all games are entertainment. If a game fails to entertain its target audience, then the game is badly designed.

3. Don’t design the rules of the game to simulate a virtual world.
Games are not virtual worlds, they are social activities. Even a single-player game requires the player to socialize with artificial intelligence. Games are, fundamentally, about learning new rules and applying those rules to overcome challenges. Essentially, the rules of the game tell the players how to behave. Do not design the game mechanics to promote behavior that detracts from the game being fun and enjoyable for the target audience of that game.

4. Kill your darlings.
Do not fall in love with any game mechanic or idea. Any idea or mechanic that hurts the gameplay should be changed so it has synergy with all other game mechanics/ideas. If the idea cannot exist in harmony with the rest of the game design, it should be scrapped. Save it for a different game.

5. Don’t overwhelm your target audience with too many choices.
The more choices you offer a player, the longer it will take for them to make a decision. With respect to your target audience, don’t overwhelm the players with unnecessary choices, especially if most of the consequences of the choices aren’t fully explained to the player.

6. Understand your target audience.
Don’t design an online fantasy role-playing game for people who like fantasy role-playing games if you’ve never played World of Warcraft, Dungeons and Dragons or Final Fantasy. You need to know what experiences the players have already had and how they felt about those experiences. It’s actually more important to play the games they disliked than the ones they liked because the design flaws in bad games tend to be more obvious than in games which were successful.

7. If your game is going to have a plot, then write a good one.
A good story means the characters to whom the player will develop an emotional attachment. The biggest reason a story fails in a game is that I, the player, don’t care what happens to the in-game characters. I skip through cutscenes and skim dialogue boxes because the writers and designers have failed to give me a reason to care about the characters.

8. Don’t make the players read numerous essays in order for them to learn how to play.
The design of the game should teach players how to play while they are playing. Any game mechanic that is not intuitive and requires a lengthy explanation from a forum post or a website page should NOT be part of the game. People play video games to relax from work or school and not to do additional homework.

9. Listen to player feedback, but make sure it is coming from the target audience of your game.
If you’re making a game based on a comic book, don’t ask people who don’t like comics to test the game, ask people who are passionate about comic books. If you’re making an MMORPG, don’t ask people who rarely play MMORPGs to test it, and certainly don’t ask people who haven’t played many MMORPGs or don’t play MMORPGs often.

10. Make a good game.
A good game is a game that will positively challenge and occasionally surprise its own creators. The keywords are positively challenge. A game that frustrates its own creators will certainly frustrate the players, and a game that bores its own creators will bore the players.


Design your game. Read the instructions

My own game

For most people, the computer game experience starts in an online shop and ends on a sofa. Have you ever thought about how a new game is made? Create your own computer game. Follow these steps:

  1. Think of the name.
  2. Think of the story (e.g. your story may be based on a film or TV series).
  3. Create the characters.
  4. Think of the levels and the environments for different levels.
  5. Draw a storyboard of the game’s first level.
  6. Explain the rules of the game.
  7. Use the words from the first exercise.

Use the voice recorder.


Match the types of games to their descriptions

Use the given words and phrases to paraphrase the parts of the sentences. There is one extra option


Read the text about game design patterns and do the task

Game design patterns

Knowing the syntax of a programming language does not make you a programmer. What makes you a programmer is knowledge of data structures, algorithms, and design patterns. Knowing the syntax of a language is like knowing the alphabet — anyone can learn it, but developing a modular, flexible, maintainable application requires special skills.

Now that I have broken your heart and aspirations, let me introduce you to the design patterns that will help you become a great developer.

There are several design patterns. But the most used and loved patterns are the following:

1. The Singleton design pattern. In a game, just like in a movie, there should be only one director. A director is a class that conducts everything that happens in a game. It controls the rendering of an object. It controls position updates. It directs the player’s input to the correct game character, etc.

The engine should prevent more than one instance of a director to be created and it does so through the Singleton design pattern. This design pattern ensures that one and only one object is instantiated for a given class.

2. The Strategy design pattern. In a game, you should always decouple the interaction between the input controller and the game’s logic. The game’s logic should receive the same kind of input regardless of the input controller (button, gesture, joystick).


Although each input controller behaves differently to the user, they must provide the same data to the game’s logic. Furthermore, adding or removing an input controller should not crash a game.

This decoupling behavior and flexibility are possible thanks to a design pattern known as the Strategy design pattern. This design pattern provides flexibility to your game by allowing it to change behavior dynamically without the need of modifying the game’s logic.

3. The Observer design pattern. In a game, all of your classes should be loosely coupled. This means that your classes should be able to interact* with each other but have little knowledge of each other. Making your classes loosely coupled makes your game modular and flexible to add features without adding unintended bugs.


This pattern is normally implemented when an object wants to send messages to its subscribers (other objects). The object does not need to know anything about how the subscribers work, just that they can communicate.

4. The Composite design pattern. A game normally consists of many views. There is the main view where the characters are rendered. There is a sub-view where player’s points are shown. There is a sub-view which shows the time left in a game. If you are playing the game on a mobile device, then each button is a view.


Maintainability should be a major concern during game development. Each view should not have different function names or different access points. Instead, you want to provide a unified access point to every view, i.e., the same function call should be able to access either the main view or a sub-view.

This unified access point is possible with a Composite Design Pattern. This pattern places each view in a tree-like structure, thus providing a unified access point to every view. Instead of having a different function to access each view, the same function can access any view.

5. The Model-View-Controller design pattern. If this pattern was a rock band, then it would definitely be called «The Beatles». No doubt about it. It is the most widely used and loved design pattern among programmers. This pattern is made up of three fundamental design patterns:

🔹The Strategy design pattern
🔹The Observer design pattern
🔹The Composite design pattern

As shown in the illustration, the Strategy pattern represents the Controller part of the MVC. The Strategy pattern decouples user inputs from the game’s logic (Model) and interfaces (View).


The Composite design pattern represents all Views (main window & buttons) in an application. This pattern provides a unified access point for all views to the model.

The Observer design pattern represents the logic of your application (Model). Through this pattern, the Model is able to interact with the views and controllers without knowing anything about them. This pattern makes the interaction between all classes loosely coupled.

Read the text again and match the halves of the sentences


Read a brief history of e-sports and put the events in the correct order

A brief history of e-sports

Competitive video gaming precedes the Internet era and has been around since the 1970s and 1980s when organized and televised gaming tournaments hosted by games developers, usually as a marketing tactic, were commonplace in countries like Japan and the United States. Despite video games at the time being offline and lacking the massive multiplayer functions that we take for granted in our favourite titles today, the medium found a way to rise to popularity.

The earliest recorded e-sport event, which was labelled under more amusingly creative name Intergalactic Spacewar Olympics, took place in 1972 at Stanford University, California. The university invited Spacewars players to compete for a one-year subscription to the Rolling Stone magazine. It wasn’t until 8 years later when video game publisher Atari held the Space Invaders Championship in 1980 — and more than 10,000 people showed up from all across North America — that competitive video gaming was considered a mainstream hobby.

The rest of the 1980s saw the establishment of several organizations such as Twin Galaxies and the U.S National Video Game Team which helped promote video games worldwide, along with the competitive scenes that inevitably accompanied them, created and driven by passionate fan-bases. When the Internet era properly arrived in the 1990s and more video games began taking advantage of the connectivity and multiplayer possibilities it provided, larger e-sports tournaments formed and greater awareness followed. Games such as Counter-Strike, StarCraft and Warcraft had their humble beginnings in the LAN era and became powerhouses in the modern e-sports industry today thanks to the growing subcultures they fostered in the early days of connected gaming.

Extensive reading

You can find a more detailed look into the history of e-sports 🔗here.

Урок Homework Курс
  • Introduction
  • What type of gamer are you?
  • Types of games
  • The principles of game design
  • Focus on the words
  • Your design
  • Homework 1
  • Homework 2
  • Homework 3