Game Design

Game Design looks at the practice of game design and development, exploring the medium and the variety of ways in which it can engage an audience.

A person sitting on a computer generated island floating in blue space with the words icarus and start game and quit game to the left of the island.
The start up screen of a computer game called Icarus

Alongside the practice of game design and development, students will look at the cultural impact of games and the various ways in which this digital medium engages with audiences.

This will better students' understanding of the medium of game design and further refine their individual practice.

Research topics

Research topicStaff who can supervise research in this area
Indigenous game design  Tuakana Metuarau
Game designDoug Easterly, Tuakana Metuarau, Leon Gurevitch
VFX in gamesDoug Easterly
Virtual productionDoug Easterly
Non-linear narrativesDoug Easterly
Character design and
digital costumes
Heli Salomaa
Somatic displacementHeli Salomaa
Dress-up mechanicsHeli Salomaa
Virtual fashionHeli Salomaa
2D and 3D game designTuakana Metuarau
Video game narrative,
video game representation,
video game abstraction
Tuakana Metuarau
Data visualisationLeon Gurevitch
Virtual space, virtual exhibition,
virtual reality
Leon Gurevitch
Photography and photogrammetry
in game design
Leon Gurevitch

Academic staff

NameResearch interests
Doug Easterly
  • Visual storytelling and narrative in any media: illustrated books, comics and graphic novels, games, time-based media
  • Extended Reality (XR) as an interdisciplinary storytelling medium with a focus on real-time engine platforms
  • Procedural and physics-based approaches to designing visual effects.
Leon Gurevitch
  • Game design for science and technology research
  • Data visualisation and virtual exhibition in real-time engine platforms
  • Photography, photogrammetry and virtual space
  • Game engines as novel design research tools.
Tuakana Metuarau
  • Indigenous narratives
  • Representation in media
  • Digital narratives
  • Digital mediums
  • Media culture and history
  • Retro game design
  • Video game abstraction
Heli Salomaa
  • Parallels of digital and physical workflows in digital production
  • Costume and character in virtual/augmented/extended reality
  • Visual narratives
  • Player’s relationship to game characters’ costume through dress-up mechanics and somatic displacement in the video game context in comparison to film and stage arts.
Raqi Syed
  • Narrative design lighting
  • Cinematography
  • Digital human
  • Anti-racist visual effect
  • Virtual reality

Study options

The following postgraduate programmes allow you to pursue research in the area of game design:

Master of Design (MDes)

The MDes allows you to further develop your critical thinking and discussion skills, increase your understanding of design, and learn to express your own ideas and conclusions within a theoretical framework.

Find out more about the Master of Design (MDes).

Master of Design Innovation (MDI)

The MDI delves deep into the process of innovation, from conception to design to construction. Through independent research, you'll gain the specialist skills and knowledge you need to be a successful professional in the design industry.

Find out more about the Master of Design Innovation (MDI)

Master of Design Technology (MDT)

The MDT builds on the existing digital media skills acquired in an undergraduate degree in design. It prepares you for highly technical design professions such as game design, visual effects (VFX), exhibition design, and multimedia design.

Find out more about the Master of Design Technology (MDT)


On our PhD programme, you'll produce an original body of research that expands the design discipline. Your work will be largely independently driven, with two supervisors available to advise you. Typically the PhD is studied on-site, but in suitable cases it may be studied by distance.

Find out more about the PhD.