The Novel Game Design Lab


The main purpose of the Novel Game Design Lab (NGDL) is to make new game technologies more accessible to a broader audience. The NGDL brings together a multi- and trans-disciplinary team who can challenge how we use technology in games and use that to bring about novel and alternative takes on current ideas of game design. The activity in the lab is primarily focused on user interaction and how we can facilitate new forms of play. The Novel Game Design Lab essentially works in a manner similar to a skunkworks game development studio. It takes a design science approach to studying various aspects of game design, focused on human factors and the user experience. Like a game development studio, we design and develop games. The key difference elevates this above regular game development is that we then scientifically test our prototypes to inform our understanding of game design. 

The goals of the lab are to produce guidance for the design and implementation of games using novel technologies, with an eye towards achieving novel and interesting game design. We are currently exploring content generation using artificial intelligence, the impact of gamer hardware on player performance and game design, and the use of novel forms of input (for example gesture tracking, eye tracking, and custom control devices). 

Experience Gained

The below list represents a high-level and broadly scoped list of the activities performed in the lab. There is no expectation that every student is involved with every activity. 

  • Designing games to test theories and hypotheses, and to challenge current norms and approaches to game design
  • Game programming in Unity and C#
  • Testing and evaluating various technologies (input devices, AI, gamer gear etc.) for inclusion in games
  • Designing and executing studies of game prototypes using qualitative and quantitative methodologies
  • Analyzing results from prototype studies using various qualitative and quantitative methodologies
  • Creating and disseminating materials to help developers make better games, primarily aimed at independent developers
  • Producing academic publications, targeted at both internal and external venues
    • This includes posters and presentations for KSU’s Symposium of Student Scholars 

Majors and Interests Needed

Our main criterium for selection is that you are interested in games and what makes them tick. In addition, we want you to bring a skillset that matches one or more of the tasks described above. You do not need to be fully trained, but you should have some basic experience and a willingness to learn. 

We assume students will come from one of the following disciplines, but are also open to students from other disciplines. 

  • Computer Science, Software Engineering and Game Development
  • Arts and design – primarily visual arts, theatre and performance, or music
  • Technical Communication and Interactive Design
  • Psychology – primarily cognitive or experimental psychology 

Team Advisors