Game design seminarThe Biology of Game Design

A scientific approach to fun and gameplay

Games are tools we use to train ourselves. Understanding the way our mind and body function is the key to create captivating games that let players grow. Through my career as director of design on games like Assassin’s Creed, FarCry, Splinter Cell and Company of Heroes, I developed a scientific approach to learn and develop as an efficient game designer.

In this 2 day game design seminar, you will learn:
  • Psychology – How to play with the levers of our brain to motivate and reward players
  • Game theory – Shape player’s research of optimal play in your game system
  • Ergonomics – Design interaction based on how our body and mind function
  • Cognitive science – Gameplay as structured uncertainty to provide clear but debatable choices

Developers from these studios took the game design seminar:

Our 4 modules to learn the science of game design

Day 1

Game design and Creative direction

  • Understand the relationship between creative intention and execution through game design
  • Introduction to levels of abstraction
  • Mapping the sub-disciplines of game design, level design and narrative design

Motivation design

  • Actions and behaviours
  • Distinction between pleasure and fun
  • Introduction to psychology applied to game design
  • Notions of cognitive biases
  • Motivation and reward
  • Case study: Bejeweled

Day 2

System design

  • Introduction to logic and game theory
  • Optimal strategy as a metric to evaluate design
  • Gameplay as a symbolic system
  • Governing principles of gameplay
  • Understanding core challenge

Interaction design

  • Focusing on behaviours to design interfaces
  • Case studies: Burnout, Halo shooting helpers
  • Notions of biomechanics
  • Communicating relevant information
  • Interface and viscerality

Alex’s workshops have been a major influence in our studio for helping to establish clear design language, goals and objective ways to measure design progress. With over 10 years of game development experience, I have found that the workshop was extremely helpful and instantly improved my design process by more easily identifying the key problems that need to be solved and why.  I would highly recommend Alexandre’s seminars!

Lara Kehler

Game Designer, East Side Games

The seminar gave me a framework for how to evaluate my ideas so that features and concepts can reinforce each other. It is more than just game mechanics: it helps to create a vision for the game you are building and making sure that everything you put in works to get you closer to that vision. Over the past 4 years, my indie studio has released multiple games but the design process has been… unrefined. The seminar will help bring future games to the next level.

Alain-Daniel Bourdages

Owner, Greencod Apps

Attending Alexandre Mandryka’s seminar gave me a whole new way to think about games. Where other designers flail about in a fog of ambiguity, Alexandre teaches a principled approach to the design process. The tools I’ve learned at the seminar will help me for the rest of my design career.

Alex Vostrov

Owner, Rocket Bear Games

Our Partners

Lighthouse Labs has taken the traditional education model and flipped it on its head to teach you how to code faster and better than ever before. Rigorous, fast paced, and focused on having you write your own code (not listening to lectures), our program is for doers. In 8 weeks you can learn to build rich web or iOS applications using Ruby on Rails, Javascript / jQuery, Node.js, Objective-C, HTML5 and CSS3.

Bambo Cafe is a family-run restaurant that offers home-made sandwiches, salads and soups that are so fresh and tasty that my mouth is watering simply by writing these words. I just can’t wait to run another seminar so I get enjoy their food!

To top things off, Bambo Cafe offers us a 10% discount for our lunch orders, and if you’re nice, I’ll get you some of their pastries…

Next seminar

We don’t have a date set yet, but you can use the form below so we tell you as soon as the next seminar is announced.

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We also run seminars at studios, like those below:

At Gameplay Space in Montreal

At Virtuos in Shangai

Want to invite us to your studio? Use this form to send us a message!

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