Sports & Gaming, Design & Style

The Fundamentals of Game Design

Will Wright

Lesson time 15:15 min

Meet your new instructor: Will Wright, visionary game designer behind The Sims. In your first lesson, you’ll learn the core tenets of Will’s multidisciplinary game design process.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: What Are Games? • Take a Multidisciplinary Approach • Explore Branching Paths of Decisions • Embrace Constraint • Design Beyond Zero-Sum Games • Expand Player Creativity


All of us are set in our own little world view. We think we see the big picture, but we all see a little slice of the world surrounding the lens. I would like to imagine that people have the opportunity to see a much wider set of perspectives on the world, and that games might be the mechanism, the vehicle brings that to them. We can take almost anything and make it a fascinating interactive experience. What I'm really doing is, I'm giving the player a toy, and the player is turning it into a game. Every designer has the opportunity to create something incredibly unique. At the same time, every designer faces the risk of creating something that no one will be able to understand. As a designer, you're actually dealing with two computers. First, the electronic one, sitting on the table in front of you. But more importantly, the player's imagination, the player's brain. And that one is far more complex, and we have barely scratched the surface of it. During the course of this class, I'm going to expose you to a number of kind of fundamental concepts about game design. Basically psychology of the player, the mental modeling that goes on; how to use game mechanics as part of your tool set, and how to develop your tool set as a designer; how to think about the overall structure of what's going on underneath the hood; how to build emergence, surprise, cool, detailed worlds; and to try to predict what's going to motivate players of your games and pull them in, and get them emotionally involved to the point where they get into communities that are built up around these. And so there are many different levels of game design, and we're going to kind of start with the fundamentals and work our way outwards towards larger and larger more strategic levels of thinking around it. Every designer is unique in some way, and my games have tended to be very specific in terms of real world simulations generally-- games that tend to encourage player creativity, player storytelling. There are a lot of other approaches to game design. But I think a lot of the fundamentals that I'll be talking about in this class are going to be things that can apply to any genre of game. And I think by going down to that fundamental level, it's going to give you a lot more opportunities to kind of come up with creative inspiration to bring in new approaches, new ideas. Basically, how to amplify your own internal creativity in ways that are coming from a fundamental level rather than just the feature level. I'm Will Wright, and this is a simulation-- a simulation-- a simulation-- of my MasterClass. So you're probably watching this because you have an interest in games. But what are games? We all know what games are. We play games. More recently with electronic devices, games have taken a totally different kind of turn and gotten much more elaborate, more ubiquitous in our lives, I think. But games really are something that have been around for thousands of years. Different...

About the Instructor

Learn the art and science of game design with Will Wright, the mind behind SimCity and The Sims. In this game design class, Will teaches you how to create games that empower players and unleash their imagination. You’ll develop a tool set for understanding player psychology, as well as learn Will’s approach to generating and pitching ideas, prototyping, playtesting, and building a community.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Will Wright

Collaboration, prototyping, playtesting. The Sims creator Will Wright breaks down his process for designing games that unleash player creativity.

Explore the Class
Sign Up