PG.biz MasterClass: Game Design: How To Benchmark, Create And Validate Fun (Online)
Dec 1st 2020

PG.biz MasterClass: Game Design: How To Benchmark, Create And Validate Fun (Online)

Online Event

Date & Times: Tuesday, December 1st 2020
2pm to 5pm
Location: Online Event
Expected Size: 50 - 100
Ticket Cost: 180 GBP
Target Audience: Developers, Indie Developers, Creatives, Students, Tool Providers, Media
Event Type: Online Event
Featured Platforms: iOS, Android, Console, Handheld Console, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, PC

PocketGamer.biz is well known for its conferences and round-tables, but the short nature of these sessions means they only scratch the surface of important subjects. For real in-depth learning, we have worked with industry experts to create the MasterClasses. They are professional half-day activities featuring tutorials and breakout groups, all accessed from your home office.

There are four sessions running in December 2020 (see below), and this session is:

“Game Design: How to Benchmark, Create and Validate Fun” with Javier Barnes, Game Designer with +10 years of experience in the industry and Head of Game Design in Pixel Noire Games.


Thousands of games are released every year, and most of them won’t become a hit. The key thing that separates a successful game from one that flops is its ability to be fun and engaging to the audience. In other words, their game design.

In the past, developers would create something they thought was fun, and then pray for the audience to enjoy it. Today there is a range of techniques to help us validate design decisions, understand who our audience is and what they will enjoy, and speed up the development process by avoiding creative dead ends and detecting earlier what works.

This Masterclass will provide you a series of good practices and tools to set up a solid game design, and teach you how to use a data-oriented methodology to validate it and improve it. It’s intended to be useful both for those working on new games, and for those running live games.

About the host
Javier Barnes is the Head of Game Design at Pixel Noire Games. Previously, he was Lead Game Designer of Monster Legends, as well as Game Economy and Systems Designer for top grossing mobile hits such as Despicable Me: Minion Rush and Asphalt 8: Airborne, among many others.

We will focus on three core areas of design:

The workshop will focus on three subject areas:Part 1. Theoretical Framework and Benchmarking

The first rule of war is to know your enemy. So by examining several successful examples we will learn the distribution and specifics of the different stages of a game progression (FTUE, onboarding, late game, etc), and how their design adapts to each of them.

We will also learn several techniques to benchmark a market genre or a competitor, including the usage of services like Appannie and Steam Database and how to establish realistic player personas, to obtain insights that will guide us on the design process.

Part 2. Design Fundamentals and Validation

The second rule of war is to know yourself. So in this section we will explore a range of fundamental concepts of game design and different tools that we can use to create solid designs (design pillars, core loops, generation of good user stories...).

We will also learn how we can validate our design decisions and proposals by introducing the audience early on, how to arrange and analyze playtests and ABtests, and the usage of services such as Playtestcloud.

Part 3. Best practices & QA

Sun Tzu also said that to win you need to be quick. So we will see a range of good practices in terms of gameplay, systems and level design that will help you accelerate the development and focus the iterations on the points that will generate value.

We will also tackle several key UX and usability principles, which is a topic often considered secondary in design but that has a huge impact on the adoption of a new game or feature.

In this class attendees will be able to learn:

How to break down the progression structure of a game on its different sections (FTUE, onboarding, endgame, etc) and identify the critical elements on each stage.
How to establish and validate a gameplay proposal, and find an innovative and engaging gameplay employing a lean methodology and a user-oriented mindset,
How to benchmark the competition, create and use realistic player personas, and integrate the audience early on the creative process to guide the development.
How to arrange and analyze playtests to validate and improve the gameplay decisions and the game UX, including the usage of playtesting services such as Playtestcloud.
Format of teaching
This will be a highly interactive session with a total length of 3 hours.

We’ll use Zoom as our primary platform and Google Sheets for some of the practical work.

Each section will be distributed between a presentation, and a set of group work activities where we will apply the learned techniques and get feedback.

While questions will be allowed at any point during the class, at the end we will run a Q&A session to discuss any topics that the attendants see fit.

Target audience
This masterclass is oriented both to Designers that want to learn new techniques, and to professionals from the disciplines of Development, Product, LiveOps, Business Intelligence or Production with any level of seniority, that want to increase their T-shaped design skills.

The methodologies and learnings presented are applicable to any genre and platform including PC/Console, but the examples and approach will be mainly focused on mobile.

Other sessions & attendee offers
There are three other sessions available in August 2020. Each MasterClass requires a separate ticket, although multiple bookings are encouraged and come with a discount:

Wednesday, Deceber 2nd (9am-12noon)

How to Raise investor Money for Your Game Studio, with Joakim Achren

Wednesday, Decemember 2nd (2pm-5pm)

Game Monetisation Design: Building Value into Your Game, with Oscar Clark

Individual multi-buy discount: book for three & get fourth free (so, book for all four MasterClasses and get one of them free).

Corporate discount: a group of six or more from one company can get 30% off if booked together.

To take advantage of multi-buy or group discounts, please email sally.kevan@steelmedia.co.uk to discuss your bespoke package.


More Information

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