Game Design


Game Design for Entertainment: A Content Development Think Tank

Asst Prof Mark Joseph Chavez (NTU), Co-PI from SUTD to be identified

This research is focused on content development borrowing from contemporary game concepts ideas for consumption in popular culture. Our methodology, a collaborative research project, will examine technical aspects of game design and integrate it with research that examines popular trends. Game Design for Entertainment is an idea that incubates game research focusing on creating unique visuals and gameplay concepts. Much of video game research looks at the psychological effects of violent and aggressive game play on the user. Our research will look at appeal in visual characterization and interaction, e.g. game design.

Our hypothesis is that there are particular archetypes used in popular game design and their influence on the appeal of any particular game is measurable. Specific elements of design (visual, aural and interactive) will be investigated. With this research we will come to understand more clearly what the elements good of design are. In doing so we will further an understanding of the mechanisms that determine how design for games form a compelling narrative. Our resultant case studies will generate materials that have a popular appeal.

The idea of content development think tanks is persistent in the entertainment industry.

  • They are created as means to analyse and understand trends in the marketplace,
  • Develop content that matches the needs of contemporary popular culture,
  • Push technical development to lower costs and streamline production,
  • Maximize effort for profit.

Although the tastes of international culture consumer differ there are dominant trends that emerge (Slater 1997). Common themes are pursued by game developers that appeal to younger children such as fantasy, dinosaurs and characters that resemble soft toys with soft round shapes and primary colours. Older kids on the other hand tend to be drawn to narratives that explore self-discovery and actualization. While the oldest kids and adults are drawn to a more diverse mix of content including broadly expressed comedy, action, adventure, romance, and others (Stabile and Harrison 2003).

Each game genre has aspects of the other leaving the content developer with a multifaceted mosaic of creative possibility for exploration. With many potential thematic areas available for development and many ways to deliver game design possible, significant investment decisions must be made when attempting to create successful content. To create original and appealing content effectively developers must take vigilant pre-production measures in planning the design of narratives, costumes and sets when making complex narratives (Andersen 1995). Careful and strategic investment into decisions regarding contemporary design trends must be considered before investing the time needed to actually create successful properties (IP).

We expect to create 6 game design IPs per year, giving a total of 30 IPs for five years. These IPs form a repository of ideas for the education platform where students may develop prototype games for their internship or course assignment projects. The completed prototypes will be pitched to interested companies/parties to be further developed in the innovation platform. Potential projects will be incubated in the commercialization platform for commercialization.

Andersen, F. (1995). "The Warner Bros. Research Department: Putting History to Work in the Classic Studio Era." The Public Historian 17(1): 51-69.
Slater, D. (1997). Consumer culture and modernity, Polity.
Stabile, C. A. and M. Harrison (2003). Prime time animation: television animation and American culture, Psychology Press.​​