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Introduction to the course

Introduction to the course.

Welcome to Game Design and Development: Video Game Character Design. The course has been developed by Abertay University, the site of the UK’s first Centre for Excellence in Computer Games Education.

What will you learn?

This online course shows you how to approach character design for video games, giving you important insights into how gamers identify with the characters they control and interact with in-game worlds.

The course encompasses studies of anatomy, graphic design, narrative, and gameplay, to provide you with a broad knowledge and understanding of the field of video game character design.

By the end, you’ll discover how studying human nature can help you design characters that gamers will recognise and understand.

This course is built around a series of videos that will introduce you to core concepts in the field of character design. In addition to these videos, you will also have the opportunity to hear from games and art academics from Abertay University, who will provide their own takes on the theory and process of character design. Games industry professionals will offer their own insights, and even Abertay games students will chip in with their own thoughts on the best examples of video game character design.

As the course is aimed at anyone interested in game design and development, including those who are considering studying it at university and entering the games industry, we won’t delve too deeply into the technical details of game character design. There is no requirement of prerequisite knowledge of software, neither do you need to have any skills in drawing or writing. This is very much an introduction to the field, which will hopefully stimulate your interest in continued study and practice.


At the end of each week you will have an opportunity to tackle a short exercise that will consider the ideas discussed in the course. These exercises will be purely text based, with no need for additional software. You will also be encouraged to review others’ work and provide feedback, as peer review and constructive critique is an essential part of good game development practice.


If you are completely new to game design, some of the terminology you will read or hear may be a little unfamiliar. To help, a glossary of common terms is available to download below.


In addition to discussions within the course, you are encouraged to join the wider discussion online using the Twitter hashtag #FLcharacterdesign.

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Video Game Design and Development: Video Game Character Design

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