Teaching


These are the courses taught by Dr. Nacke and the HCI Games Group team. Courses until Spring 2015 were taught at University of Ontario Institute of Technology. Beginning Fall 2015, Dr. Nacke is teaching at the University of Waterloo.

Winter 2016

  • DAC 300: Introduction to Game Design

    Game design is one of the most fascinating, yet least understood blends of arts, crafts, and engineering. We are looking for systems thinkers with a love of board and card games for this course. Introduction to Game Design is a course that explores the fundamentals of game design. Similar to the fundamentals classes that art students might take in figure drawing or color theory as part of their education to become visual artists, this class provides an opportunity for you to learn the basics of game design. It focuses on the essentials shared by all games that are fundamental for a game designer working in any medium, from sports to board games to computer and video games.

Fall 2015

  • DEI 615: Media History and Analysis (in Human-Computer Interaction)

    Knowledge and information are linked on a global scale though new media and communication technologies. Technology has become pervasive in our lives and has changed how we experience our interactions with ourselves, computing devices, and the world. The scale, speed, and logic - cultural and algorithmic -through which technology and new media operates today is unprecedented. However, this cultural shift towards pervasive computers has not just improved our lives, but provides an increasing amount of challenges for designers of technology and new media in this day and age. It is not enough that technology just works these days, but it is also important that the experience we have with it, is pleasurable.On the backdrop of development of new media, we will discuss the emergence of pleasurable user experience design. Students will be introduced to the theoretical background of user experience design and emerging new media and how to analyze and design for new media.

  • GBDA401: Cross-cultural Digital Business I

    Co-taught with Vivian Yang. This is a project based course for the fourth year in the GDBA program. The purpose of this course is for students to study how digital products and services are modified and/or repurposed to suit the needs of a community outside of their origin. Students will work on a cross-cultural digital business media project with a local or global community. This year students are expected to register in a worldwide competition: The P2P: Challenging Extremism initiative. All the course activities will focus around this Contest. See details below for this Contest and how class is structured around it.

Spring 2015

Winter 2015

  • CSCI5020G Collaborative Design and Research

    This course provides an introduction to methods for conducting empirical research within the field of Computer Science. These methods help, for example, to provide objective answers to questions about the usability, effectiveness, and acceptability of systems and their impact on individuals, work groups, organizations and society at large. This is a very hands-on course, including a significant amount of fieldwork. The first half of the course covers the basics of the scientific method, building bottom-up from a survey of objective measures to the fundamentals of hypothesis testing using relatively simple research designs. The second half of the course alternates between a team-based project encompassing the design, conduct and presentation of small empirical studies and lectures and exercises covering introductory statistical methods especially useful in empirical work, as well as more advanced research designs and important topics such as ethics.

  • INFR4350U Human-Computer Interaction in Games

    (see Storify stream)This is a course about the human factor of interactive entertainment technology. We will discuss novel interaction technologies and ways of getting feedback from players and users of interactive systems. Interactive entertainment systems have become a part of people’s lives around the globe. You can play games and other forms of interactive entertainment everywhere, on the web, on your phone, with augmented reality, or with novel sensor technologies. The design and usability of interactive systems is important for the ubiquitous computing that surrounds us to function properly. Many lessons can be learned from gaming for the interaction with these computer systems, but also games can be improved with knowledge from human factors and interface design. The goal of this course is to make better interactive systems by marrying the knowledge from human-computer interaction and game design. This will ultimately result in improving the relationship that people have to technology.

Fall 2014

  • INFR1330U Basic Introduction to Game Design

    Introduction to Game Design is a course that explores the fundamentals of game design. The emphasis of this class is on creating several non-digital (not computer) games. Similar to the fundamentals classes that art students might take in figure drawing or color theory as part of their education to become visual artists, this class remains rooted squarely in the basics of game design. It focuses on the essentials shared by all games that are fundamental for a game designer working in any medium, from sports to board games to computer and video games. Although the focus of the course is on the creation of non-digital games, digital games will also be discussed in class. The lectures and tutorials provide students with a broad theoretical and conceptual understanding of the field of game design and development along with practical exercises to train creating a game. As a game designer, students need to provide information to players about the content of their game, about how to play it (the things they need to do to progress in the game and the rules), and about the winning conditions. Students need to motivate people to play their games in the first place.

Winter 2014

  • CSCI5020G Collaborative Design and Research

    This course provides an introduction to methods for conducting empirical research within the field of Computer Science. These methods help, for example, to provide objective answers to questions about the usability, effectiveness, and acceptability of systems and their impact on individuals, work groups, organizations and society at large. This is a very hands-on course, including a significant amount of fieldwork. The first half of the course covers the basics of the scientific method, building bottom-up from a survey of objective measures to the fundamentals of hypothesis testing using relatively simple research designs. The second half of the course alternates between a team-based project encompassing the design, conduct and presentation of small empirical studies and lectures and exercises covering introductory statistical methods especially useful in empirical work, as well as more advanced research designs and important topics such as ethics.

  • INFR4400U Gamification

    Gamification is using game design in systems that primarily support non-game tasks to make them more fun, engaging, and motivating. We treat gamification in this course from a seductive interaction and user experience design lens. We’ll learn about how to solve real-world problems, such as social impact, health and business challenges using gaming systems. While we will revisit some familiar game design principles, we will focus this course on leveraging motivational psychology and interaction design to get insights into marketing, human resources, productivity enhancement, sustainability, training, health and wellness, innovation, and customer engagement. Students will leave the course with a thorough understanding of gamification methods and how to use gamification effectively.

Fall 2013

  • INFR1330U Basic Introduction to Game Design

    Introduction to Game Design is a course that explores the fundamentals of game design. The emphasis of this class is on creating several non-digital (not computer) games. Similar to the fundamentals classes that art students might take in figure drawing or color theory as part of their education to become visual artists, this class remains rooted squarely in the basics of game design. It focuses on the essentials shared by all games that are fundamental for a game designer working in any medium, from sports to board games to computer and video games. Although the focus of the course is on the creation of non-digital games, digital games will also be discussed in class. The lectures and tutorials provide students with a broad theoretical and conceptual understanding of the field of game design and development along with practical exercises to train creating a game. As a game designer, students need to provide information to players about the content of their game, about how to play it (the things they need to do to progress in the game and the rules), and about the winning conditions. Students need to motivate people to play their games in the first place.

  • INFR3330U Game Design and Production II

    This course furthers students’ knowledge of the design and development of games. We will be looking at game balancing concepts (probability and statistics) as well as level design and architecture and recent forms of game innovation such as social games and gameful design concepts. The lectures and tutorials provide students with a refined and in-depth theoretical and conceptual understanding of the field of game design and development along with practical exercises to train creating a digital game. Students are expected to create several smaller non-digital games throughout the course as well as to develop their own game pitch documents, videos, and presentations by the end of the course.

Summer 2013

Winter 2013

  • CSCI5550G Affective Gaming, Interaction and User Experience in Interactive Entertainment

    In this graduate reading course, we will focus on research topics in the subfield of human-computer interaction: affective gaming, which explores interaction technologies and user research for game. The course will introduce students to conducting research experiments. The research topics in the course will focus on user experience, input devices, interaction technologies, and evaluation approaches concerning human factors in interactive entertainment. The goal of this course is for you to be able to understand the writing, methods, and relevant topics in the research field of human-computer interaction for interactive entertainment technologies. Knowing this will ultimately make you a better HCI researcher and allow you to improve the relationship that people have to technology.

  • INFR4350U Human-Computer Interaction in Games

    (see Storify stream)This is a course about the human factor of interactive entertainment technology. We will discuss novel interaction technologies and ways of getting feedback from players and users of interactive systems. Interactive entertainment systems have become a part of people’s lives around the globe. You can play games and other forms of interactive entertainment everywhere, on the web, on your phone, with augmented reality, or with novel sensor technologies. The design and usability of interactive systems is important for the ubiquitous computing that surrounds us to function properly. Many lessons can be learned from gaming for the interaction with these computer systems, but also games can be improved with knowledge from human factors and interface design. The goal of this course is to make better interactive systems by marrying the knowledge from human-computer interaction and game design. This will ultimately result in improving the relationship that people have to technology.

Fall 2012

  • INFR2330U Game Design & Production I

    This course introduces students to the design and development of games, including digital, board, and card games. The lectures and tutorials provide students with a broad theoretical and conceptual understanding of the field of game design and development along with practical exercises to train creating a game. Students will be exposed to game criticism and balancing concepts as well as game production and industry standard team management techniques. Students are expected to create several smaller non-digital games throughout the course as well as to develop their own game pitch documents, videos, and presentations by the end of the course.

  • INFR3330U Game Design and Production II

    This course furthers students’ knowledge of the design and development of games. We will be looking at game balancing concepts (probability and statistics) as well as level design and architecture and recent forms of game innovation such as social games and gameful design concepts. The lectures and tutorials provide students with a refined and in-depth theoretical and conceptual understanding of the field of game design and development along with practical exercises to train creating a digital game. Students are expected to create several smaller non-digital games throughout the course as well as to develop their own game pitch documents, videos, and presentations by the end of the course.

Winter 2012

  • INFR2330U Game Design & Production I

    This course introduces students to the design and development of games, including digital, board, and card games. The lectures and tutorials provide students with a broad theoretical and conceptual understanding of the field of game design and development along with practical exercises to train creating a game. Students will be exposed to game criticism and balancing concepts as well as game production and industry standard team management techniques. Students are expected to create several smaller non-digital games throughout the course as well as to develop their own game pitch documents, videos, and presentations by the end of the course.

  • INFR3330U Game Design and Production II

    This course furthers students’ knowledge of the design and development of games. We will be looking at game balancing concepts (probability and statistics) as well as level design and architecture and recent forms of game innovation such as social games and gameful design concepts. The lectures and tutorials provide students with a refined and in-depth theoretical and conceptual understanding of the field of game design and development along with practical exercises to train creating a digital game. Students are expected to create several smaller non-digital games throughout the course as well as to develop their own game pitch documents, videos, and presentations by the end of the course.

Fall 2011

  • INFR4320U Artificial Intelligence for Gaming

    This course introduces topics of artificial intelligence (AI) that are relevant for game developers (such as behavioral AI, steering, spatial reasoning, navigation and pathfinding, agents, or scripting). Game AI is more than just a testbed for achieving human-level intelligence in computers. One primary goal of game AI is to increase the engagement and enjoyment of players. This can be done through smooth motion and animation techniques that leverage AI procedures or by developing AI that orchestrates non-player behavior in a challenging and fun way for players. This course allows students to explore basic AI principles, such as finite-state machines and A* pathfinding, up to more sophisticated principles, such as player modeling and neural networks. This course is using the #inf4320 hashtag on Twitter. Recommended Textbook: Millington, I., Funge, J. (2009). Artificial Intelligence for Games, Second Edition. San Francisco, CA: Morgan Kaufmann. ISBN-10: 0123747317 | ISBN-13: 978-0123747310

  • INFR4350U Human-Computer Interaction in Games

    (see Storify stream)This is a course about the human factor of interactive entertainment technology. We will discuss novel interaction technologies and ways of getting feedback from players and users of interactive systems. Interactive entertainment systems have become a part of people’s lives around the globe. You can play games and other forms of interactive entertainment everywhere, on the web, on your phone, with augmented reality, or with novel sensor technologies. The design and usability of interactive systems is important for the ubiquitous computing that surrounds us to function properly. Many lessons can be learned from gaming for the interaction with these computer systems, but also games can be improved with knowledge from human factors and interface design. The goal of this course is to make better interactive systems by marrying the knowledge from human-computer interaction and game design. This will ultimately result in improving the relationship that people have to technology.