Edited by Petri Lankoski and Jussi Holopainen
The aim of this collection is to provide an introductory book to all who wants to study game design—with the focus on games, components, systems, game development, etc.—as part of research or development. Design has been a study topic in various fields where design methods has been in focus of enquiry (e.g., Jones, 1970). In game design, an early look at the design if Crawford’s (1984) book The art of game design.
The three more specific aims are to 1) situate the game design research within and alongside general design research, 2) situate game design research within games research, and 3) provide methodology and methods with concrete case studies as examples to guide anyone interested in game design research.
Design research has moved to cover more general questions of studying design: for example, how we study design, what methods we can use to study design and what is design along with the more fundamental questions such as what kind of knowledge design research produces. This is apparent in areas outside games. For example, Groat and Wang (2004) cover research methods in architecture to analyze design processes and works.
According to Blessing and Chakrabarti (2009) design research has gone through three overlapping phases: The Experiential phase lasting until end of 1950s where senior designers wrote about their own experiences in designing. The Intellectual phase from 1960s until about 1980s where the emphasis was on providing a robust logical foundation for design and on the methods and principles of design. In the Empirical phase from 1980s forward the aim has been to understand how designers really work by conducting empirical studies both in the laboratory and in the wild.
The history of game design research seems to have followed the same phases from Crawford’s 1984 seminal The Art of game design being an example of the experiential phase to the recent empirical studies of game design (see for example Kultima 2010, Hagen 2009, Peltoniemi 2009; O’Donnell, 2014). In addition, researchers have also started to look using game design as research methodology where game design is used intentionally to study specific aspect of design. This kind of approaches are in akin to what Koskinen et al. (2011) call constructive design research.
Nigel Cross has defined design research as “development, articulation and communication of design knowledge” (Cross 1999, p.5). Cross argues further that the design knowledge resides in people, processes, and artifacts resulting in three different domains of design knowledge: design epistemology (the study of designerly ways of knowing), design praxiology (the study of practices and processes of design) and design phenomenology (the study of the form and function of the resulting artifacts). The studies in game design research can be positioned accordingly.
The book is going to have two thematic parts:
What is game design research
- epistemology of game design research
- design knowledge & knowledge in design research
- aesthetics in design
- game design vs game design research (the role and contribution of game design research)
- game design research and games research
Conducting game design research
- validation of game design research
- methods in game design research (e.g., qualitative, quantitative, historical, simulations, prototypes)
- Norm critical design, politics/ethics of design
- Case studies
Other suitable topics are considered as well.
In the more philosophical or theoretical oriented submissions we would like to see contributions addressing design research in games in contrast to more general theoretical or philosophical arguments about design or design research exemplified with games.
The submission should contain 1000-1500 (without references) words overview of chapter. In addition, include references to 2-4 your research publications that relate to the proposed chapter. We aim for chapters that are 6500–8500 words.
Email proposal to Petri Lankoski (email@example.com) as plain text (no attachments).
- chapter overview: Dec 11, 2015
- full chapter draft: May, 2016
Petri Lankoski (D.Arts) is an associate professor at Södertörn University where he teaches game development and research. His research focuses on games and emotions, game character design, and game design. Petri also develops games as part of the research. His publications include Character-driven game design (published by Aalto University) and Game research methods: An overview (book edited with Staffan Björk, published by ETC Press).
Jussi Holopainen (PhD) is a games researcher working for Games and Experimental Entertainment Laboratory in RMIT University’s Centre for Game Design Research. His current research interests include experimental game design, empirical studies of game design practices, and games for behavioral change. He has authored or co-authored several pieces on game design, most notably Patterns in Game Design, and was a co-organizer of the Game Design Research Symposium at ITU Copenhagen in 2004.
Björk, S. & Holopainen, J. (2004). Patterns in Game Design. Charles River Media.
Blessing, L. T. M., & Chakrabarti, A. (2009). DRM, a Design Research Methodology. Springer London. doi:10.1007/978-1-84882-587-1.
Crawford C. (1984). The Art of Computer Game Design. McGraw-Hill.
Cross, N. (1999). Design Research: A Disciplined Conversation. Design Issues, 15(2), 5–10.
Groat, L.N. & Wang, D. (2004). Architectural Research Methods, 2nd ed. Wiley.
Jones, J.C. (1970). Design Methods. John Wiley & Sons.
Hagen, U. (2011). Designing for player experience: How professional game developers communicate design visions. Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds, 3(3), 259–275.
Koskinen, I., Zimmerman, J., Binder, T., Redstrom, J., & Wensveen, S. (2011). Design Research Through Practice: From the Lab, Field, and Showroom. Elsevier.
Kultima, A. (2010). The organic nature of game ideation. In Proceedings of the International Academic Conference on the Future of Game Design and Technology – Futureplay ’10 (p. 33). New York, New York, USA: ACM Press. doi:10.1145/1920778.1920784.
Lankoski, P. (2011). Character-driven game design: A design approach and its foundations in character engagement. Taik Books.
Lankoski, P. & Björk, S. (2015) Game Research Methods: An Overview. ETC Press.
O’Donnell, C. (2014). Developer’s Dilemma: The Secret World of Video Game Creators. MIT Press.
Peltoniemi, M. (2009). Industry Life-Cycle Theory in the Cultural Domain: Dynamics of the Games Industry. Tampere University of Technology.