Kathleen Ruiz
Associate Professor of Integrated Electronic Arts
phone: 518-276-2539

office: West Hall G-05
office hours: Wed.
3-5 PM and by appointment

from “Stunt Dummies”,
c. 2003-04 Kathleen Ruiz



Game Design
ARTS 4966-01

Mon/Thurs 4-5:50PM










Course Topics

Student work:



















Experimental Game Design is a studio arts course focusing on the creation of innovative workable game prototypes using a variety of multimedia approaches, methodologies and materials. Games are analyzed as cultural artifacts reflecting behavior, social formation, and the representation of gender, ethnicity and identity. Factors in game design including flow, game theory, and game play gestalt are taken into consideration. The aesthetics of game design including character development, level design, game play experience, and delivery systems are covered. Alternate gaming paradigms such as first person actor type games, social dynamics simulation, complex scenario planning, non-violent problem solving, pervasive/convergence reality, abstract play, and emerging forms are encouraged.

Primary to this course is the formation of interdisciplinary collaborative teams consisting of talents from visual and sound artists, programmers, cognitive scientists, designers, engineers, IT professionals and others. Elements of successful collaboration are covered and camaraderie of invention is encouraged.
The final project is a purposeful work which shows depth and quality of ideation, innovation and interaction. The game prototype must be functional and must be accompanied by a completed, well articulated game design document which includes:
Title of the Game, Artist Statement/Philosophy/The WHY Factor (why create this game? why would someone want to play it?), Predecessors or previous games/ distinctive factors in this genre, Target Audience, Introduction & Story, Immediate and long term projected socio/cultural project impact, Delivery System & Requirements, Interface, User Interaction, The World Layout, Level Design, Visualization (characters, flow charts), Music/ Sound Design, Rules and Game play (Setup, Scoring (if applicable)), Program Structure, Technical Specs (such as Physics, Rendering Systems, Lighting Models), Implementation, Production Timeframe, Research, and References.

Students entering the course should have a basic general awareness of contemporary socio-cultural issues, have some exposure to interactive digital simulation, and possess the ability for personal expression using any one or combinations of the following: media applications, drawing, music composition, programming, design, or narration. Students entering this course have had varied backgrounds coming from Arts, LL&C, Computer Science, Cognitive Science, Engineering and IT.
Technical Skills Covered: game design fundamentals, character development, level design, elements of interactivity, multimedia game play experience, and delivery systems.

Course Objectives:
1. Explore new approaches to the concept of “game” & “play” and start to define alternate paradigms within this emerging expressive form.
2. Examine the work of several artists, theoreticians, and institutions who engage in game creation.
3. Develop art making strategies which merge concept, process and form -- encouraging approaches that are at once inquisitive, analytical, creative, experimental and articulate.