COMM3003 Designing Play

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Non-standard teaching periodHong KongFace to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 option in the Communication and Media Studies major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Society and Culture
  • Category B broadening unit for students
  • Level 3 elective
This unit builds on the practical and theoretical knowledge gained in the Level 2 core units COMM2001 Communication and Mass Media and COMM2002 Digital Media. It introduces students to key elements in the design, production, and consumption of interactive systems in the form of games, including digital games and environments of play in the form of massive multiple online (MMO) environments. It critically examines key considerations in the design and consumption of games, their intellectual history in other media forms, as well as actual social practices associated with environments of play, such as gamification and the use of games as procedural rhetoric. The unit requires students to consider how the design of communication and media technologies, in particular in the form of an interactive dynamic system, affects social practices, including work practices, in the widening digital landscape. While a critical consideration of key texts and theorists forms an important element of the unit, students also have to engage and learn to work in an applied game design context.
Students are able to (1) utilise and recognise the critical importance of play; (2) recognise, evaluate and utilise key elements of design in the production of games; (3) identify key approaches and historical influences in the design of games and computer games; (4) develop a critical awareness of how the design of media affects social, political and economic practices, and vice versa; (5) critically engage with concepts of interactivity and narrative; (6) develop professional writing skills of use in manual writing and other professional contexts; and (7) develop the ability to organise and work as part of a group.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) critical reflection; (2) research essay; and (3) game design project. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr David Savat
Unit rules
(COMM2001 Communication and Mass Media or COMM2201 Communication and Mass Media) or (COMM2002 Digital Media or COMM2203 Digital Media)
COMM3304 Designing Virtual Play
Contact hours
3 hours per teaching week
Unit Outline
Non-standard teaching period [TS-QTR-A2-2020]
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus. Copies of textbooks and other readings will be made available for students to access from the Library, online wherever possible as well as in print.