Online game design

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
This course aims to teach be basic skills required for the design and development of online multiplayer games. These skills will be related to the game design functional to player experience and to the definition of the supporting technical infrastructure to provide the service.
Expected learning outcomes
The student must be able to describe in a proper, and critic, way the strategies to be adopted to design and implement an online multiplayer game. Moreover, the student must also be atle to apply all the techniques proposed by the course in order to design and implement a prototype of an online multiplayer game.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
Lessons will be attended in a classroom, if the sanitary situation would allow this solution. Otherwise lessons will be online, on Teams. The registration of the lessons will be available on Ariel for the whole course duration.
Course syllabus
In this course students will learn the basics of videogame design and development, with a special focus on online multiplayer games
Lessons are organized into two sections: "online games design" and "infrastructures for online games". They focus - respectively - on the design of an online multiplayer game and on planning the technical infrastructure to support it. Both sections are composed by lessons aimed at teaching the theoretical foundations and by seminars on specific topics (speakers are generally experts from the video game and digital entertainment industry).

In the online game design section the following aspects will be investigated:
1) Background:
- What a game is and what does it mean to entertain players (theory of fun)
- History and taxonomy of video games
- Main characteristics of an online multiplayer game
- Industry structure and production process
2) Game design basics:
- The structure of games (formal and dramatic elements of games)
- Game design approaches, processes and techniques
- Design peculiarities of online multiplayer games
- Playtesting and prototyping

In the Infrastructures section the following aspects of online games will be investigated:
- General features and organization of supporting infrastructures
- Communication approaches and protocols
- Issues in real-time communication
- Issues related to mobile devices
- Upward and downward scalability

At the end of the course, the best students' projects will be presented to a group of experts from the industry.

NB: an existing agreement with Politecnico di Milano allows a limited number of master students in computer science to enrol in the following classes at Politecnico:
- Videogame design and programming (in English), first semester (prof. Pier Luca LANZI)
Students interested in participating must contact the secretary's office.
Prerequisites for admission
Students are expecetd to have acquired good knowlde and skills in programming and networking.
Teaching methods
Lessons, hands-on labs, seminars, project development
Teaching Resources
Slides provided by the teachers (published on the course website: and selections from the following textbooks:
A Theory of Fun for Game design by R.Koster - Paraglyph Press
The Art of Game Design: a book of lenses by J. Schell
Creating Games by M.McGuire & O.Chadwicke Jenkins - AK Peters
Game Design Workshop: a playcentric approach to creating innovative games by Tracy Fullerton - Morgan Kaufmann (3°edition)
Game Engine Architecture. by Jason Gregory - Taylor and Francis (2°edition)
Designing Virtual Worlds by Richard Bartle - New Riders
Fundamentals of game design by Ernest Adams, New Riders (3°edition)
Assessment methods and Criteria
Students will be required to design and prototype an online multiplayer video game, including project documents. Students are then expected to discuss their design choices basing on the theoretical knowledge acquired during the classes. A positive evaluation of the project is prerequisite to access the oral discussion.
The overall rating will be based on: the project quality, the degree of knowledge of the course topics, the ability to apply knowledge to solve concrete problems, critical reasoning skills and language properties.

If the sanitary situation will forbid to meet in person for the oral exam, we will use Teams.
INF/01 - INFORMATICS - University credits: 6
Laboratories: 32 hours
Lessons: 32 hours
Tue. 14:30 - 16:30 by appointment
Microsoft teams