General information

Subject type: Optional

Coordinator: Adso Fernández Baena

Trimester: Third term

Credits: 6

Teaching staff: 

Adso Fernández Baena

Teaching languages

The materials can be provided in Catalan as well as in Spanish or English.


Specific skills
  • E1. Demonstrate knowledge of the history of video games and analyze the reference video games with arguments based on evaluation criteria contextualized in the historical and cultural framework.

  • E3. Identify the type of player and design the game experience according to its psychological characteristics.

  • E5. Write the specifications of a game and communicate them effectively to the team of artists and developers and other members involved in the creation and development of the game.

General competencies
  • G1. Demonstrate having and understanding advanced knowledge of their area of ​​study that includes the theoretical, practical and methodological aspects, with a level of depth that reaches the forefront of knowledge.

  • G5. Develop the learning skills needed to undertake further studies with a high degree of autonomy.


The subject of Playtesting applied to video game design seeks to delve into the theoretical concepts and practical application of video game playtesting in the framework of the subject of Game Design and Creation. It works from the scientific perspective of testing the experience of players with video games. The subject consists of theoretical sessions and team work sessions. In order to acquire the knowledge, the subject is evaluated on the one hand the realization of guided practices and the achievement of a project in group, and on the other the theoretical knowledge of individual way.

This subject has methodological and digital resources to make possible its continuity in non-contact mode in the case of being necessary for reasons related to the Covid-19. In this way, the achievement of the same knowledge and skills that are specified in this teaching plan will be ensured.

The Tecnocampus will make available to teachers and students the digital tools needed to carry out the course, as well as guides and recommendations that facilitate adaptation to the non-contact mode.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course students must be able to:

E1.6. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a video game in a reasoned and exemplary way.

E3.1. Describe the type of player for whom the game is designed.

E5.2 Effectively communicate the project specifications to the team of artists and developers and other members

Working methodology

The subject uses the following work methodologies:

Master class, presentations, video capsules, debates and forums, case studies, collaborative learning, research and critical reading of articles, and small group laboratory.


Topic 0. Introduction

0.1 Introduction to Playtesting

0.2 Playtesters

Topic 1. Scientific method and Games User Research (GUR)

1.1 Scientific method

1.2 GUR methods

1.3 Create a GUR method

Item 2. Heuristics

2.1 What is a heuristic?

2.2 Heuristic evaluation

2.3 PLAY and GAP heuristics

Topic 3. Playtesting

4.1 Playtesting

4.2 Think-Aloud Playtesting

4.3 Questionnaires and interviews

4.4 Reports

Learning activities

With the aim of collecting evidence of the achievement of the expected learning outcomes, the following activities of an evaluative nature will be carried out (related to all the common competences):

A1. Exercise at home: The Play Matrix (Evidence of E3.1 learning outcome)

The student will have to make their own Play Matrix, both today and 10 years ago.

A2. Exercise at home: Research article (Evidence of E1.6 learning outcome)

The student will have to look for and analyze a research article related to the playtesting.

A3. Laboratory practice: Heuristics (Evidence of learning outcome E1.6 and E3.1)

This practice is done individually or in pairs and consists of performing various heuristic assessments in commercial games using different sets of heuristics.

A4. Individual work: Playtesting (Evidence of all learning outcomes)

It consists of choosing a commercial game, creating a test plan and running it with playtesters (classmates and outsiders). The test plan will be ad hoc to the commercial game and its objectives. It is mandatory to use several GUR methods from those explained in class. The number of playtesters for each work will be agreed with the teacher taking into account the objectives of the test.


General criteria of the activities:

  • The teacher will present a statement for each activity and the evaluation and / or rubric criteria.
  • The teacher will inform of the dates and format of the delivery of the activity.

Evaluation system

The grade of each student will be calculated following the following percentages:

A1. Exercise at home: The Play Matrix 10%

A2. Exercise at home: Research article 10%

A3. Laboratory practice: Heuristics 40%

A4. Individual work: Playtesting 40%


Final grade = A1 0,1 + A2 0,1 + A3 0,4 + A4 0,4


  • You must obtain a grade higher than 5 to the individual work to pass the subject.
  • An activity not delivered or delivered late and without justification (court summons or medical matter) counts as a 0.
  • It is the responsibility of the student to prevent plagiarism in all its forms. In the case of detecting a plagiarism, regardless of its scope, in some activity it will correspond to have a note of 0. In addition, the professor will communicate to the Head of Studies the situation so that measures applicable in matter of sanctioning regime are taken. .


  • In case of suspension of the A3 and / or A4 activity, it can be resubmitted in a call for recovery with the possibility of obtaining a maximum grade of 6.
  • It is necessary to obtain a grade higher than 5 in the recovery of the A4 activity to pass the subject.
  • Activities A1 and A2 cannot be recovered.




Drachen, A., Mirza-Babaei, P., & Nacke, LE (Eds.). (2018). Games user research. Oxford University Press.

Schell, J. (2014). The Art of Game Design: A book of lenses. AK Peters / CRC Press.

Fullerton, T. (2018). Game design workshop: a playcentric approach to creating innovative games. AK Peters / CRC Press.