Game Design and Playability Testing

Game design focuses on defining the content and rules of a game, and playability testing aims at ensuring that the player experience is fun for the player. In this seminar, game design and early phase playability testing methods are discussed, from both research and commercial points of view. Besides lecture-type presentations, the seminar offers participants a chance to practise game design in a supervised workshop.

This event will be organized at Kulttuuritalo, Sturenkatu 4, Helsinki. Bus no 23 stops right in front of Kulttuuritalo (departs from Pasila railway station or Helsinki main railway station). Check the best public connection from

Tommy Palm, (CEO) Fabrication Games
Elina Ollila, Nokia Research Centre

Please, register through the link on this page.
Participation 360e/person
For INFORTE member organization's staff participation is free-of-charge. List of the participating organization can be checked when registering, or on our Participate-page.

09:00 Morning coffee/tea
09:30 Opening (Tarja Systä)
09:45 23 years of Game Design on 45 minutes (Tommy Palm)
10:30 Method for Creative Process (Tommy Palm)
10:45 Break
11.15 Supervised workshop on Game Design on constraints (Based on real requests) (Tommy Palm)
12:15 Lunch break
13:15 Presentations (time and feasibility depending on the size of
the class) (Tommy Palm)
14:15 Coffee break
14:45 Playability testing and prototyping in iterative design of
(mobile) games (Elina Ollila)
15:45 Discussions and closing


Elina Ollila: "Playability testing and prototyping in iterative design of (mobile) games"

Playability testing is a crucial part of game development. Here, with
playability testing, we mean ensuring that the player experience is fun
for the player - not hunting bugs or tracking missing features.
Although, a strong vision is important when designing games, at the same time, user-centered methods can and should be used to ensure that the player experience will be great in the end.

The methods used in playability testing are adopted from the area of
usability engineering. However, when testing games, it needs to be taken into account that games are different from utility software. One
important difference is that in utility software, the end result is the
main interest for the user, and in games, the process itself is
rewarding. This means, for instance, that exploration and “wasting time” are often good game features, but in utility software, the aim is often to help the users to achieve their goals as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

The talk gives practical advice how to do playability testing from the
very early phases of the project with rough prototypes to more finished
products.  We also look at how to schedule and plan the user-centric
methods into the game project. For those who have more scientific point of view, an overview of what is the state-of-the art in research of this field is also given. The speaker’s experiences are from the field of
commercial and research mobile game development, however, the methods and process can be applied in playability testing of non-mobile games as well.