Call for chapters: Game Design Research Collected Edition

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

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

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 ( 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


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.

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

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.


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