About the book

Games can be designed to teach and facilitate learning processes. This book is focused on teaching you on how to contribute creating such games. There are several good books and game design and programming, but I found none on the craftsmanship required to create games for teaching non trivial themes. So I wrote this.

The bulk of the book proceeds by example. We will always be designing or analyzing a specific applied game, starting from the sample game Help Arti.

Who is this book for?

Game designers that are interested in applied game design as a profession; they may be software developers, game designers, graphic designers, all professions on the boundary with this field.

Field experts that want to learn and explore the world of games / interactive tools and use them for their field communication. For example in the health, social sciences, education, urban planning, art curation and museums sectors.

Teachers, instructors that would like to integrate games and interactive tools in classrooms, workshops, online testing and courses.

Using games for communicating what you do.For teaching. For learning. Using games for collecting feedback. For influencing behaviour.

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Chapter Overviews



A brief introduction to applied games, their definition, usage context and the book scope and content. The core idea of the applied games model is presented.

Help Arti: Creating a new applied game

Help Arti: Creating a new applied game

In this chapter I progressively define a new applied game: a game and tool for early math education. We will work together from the concept to a production plan: I suggest you to put together a project of your own, using hints and examples from this chapter.

Real world projects

Real world projects

In this chapter I present several real world projects I worked on that use playful interactions in different ways, but all have some educational purpose. The examples range from videogames proper to persuasive applications. Several links to playable prototypes.

Learn more

Learn more

In this chapter you will find resources for learning more about the topics treated in this book, resources being books, games, sites and people's streams.

About the Authors

Pietro Polsinelli

I am a software designer and game designer (web applications, games, in particular applied / serious games), developer (Java, C#, web apps, Unity3d), entrepreneur (started one company and created several products).

I have been working on games for learning since 2010, as both game designer and developer. I also teach game design and development in workshops. See my full profileĀ here.

Pino Panzarella

The illustrations and layout for the book and the site are by Pino Panzarella.