Analytics and Data-Driven Game Design


As games have moved more towards services, subscription models, and live online updates, the collection and analysis of player data is increasingly important to the games industry. Data is valuable not only for improving user experience and balancing gameplay, but also understanding player behaviours and driving profits for games companies. This module will introduce game design students to player data collection and analysis, and prepare students for games and related creative industries that involve user research and product management.


The aim of this module is to introduce students to the tools, methods, and techniques that are used in the games industry to collect and analyse player data

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Incorporate player data collection into the design and implementation of game mechanics, levels, and interfaces

2.  Interpret player behavior and decisions through collection and analysis of player data

3.  Act upon this analysis to consider improvements for retention, balance, difficulty, and user experience

Indicative Content

1 Tools

Reviewing available in-engine and third-party solutions for analytics.

2 Data visualisation and interpretation

Utilising dashboards to display and interpret data.

3 Statistics and analysis

Introduction to basic statistical methods for analysing data.

4 Player behaviours

Track and understand player behaviours.

5 Balance and retention

Adjust game design based on data analysis.

6 Ads

Integrating advertising into games.

7 Monetisation strategies

Sales models for games such as premium, freemium, and subscriptions.

8 Monetisation performance

Understanding metrics such as DAU and ARPDAU to track players and revenue.

Statement on Teaching, Learning and Assessment

In the first six weeks, students will participate in 2-hour tutorials that introduce and explore the use of analytics tools and statistical methods. These tutorials will be supported by 1-hour lectures that introduce related theory, processes, applied examples and additional reading. In the final six weeks, students will develop their coursework independently and in 1-hour supervised practicals, where they can receive tutor feedback and support. Students will also be scheduled to attend 2-hour unsupervised practicals. During these sessions, students will be expected to both collect user data for their own prototypes, and act as playtesters for peers. Building upon a provided game project, students will develop a simple game design prototype that makes use of basic mechanics, level/puzzle design, and user interactions. The aim will be to collect user data through testing, analyse and interpret this data, and then reflect on game design improvements that can be made. Students should begin developing their prototype early in the module, so that they can aim to conduct their data collection during the unsupervised labs in Weeks 8-13. It is recommended that students aim to conduct playtesting no later than Week 11, so that sufficient time is afforded for data collection, analysis, and interpretation. Students will be expected to confirm that they playtested a minimum of ten of their peers’ prototypes in their submission. Students will submit two units of assessment: their Portfolio (the project files and final build of the game prototype they developed) and a 2,000-2,500 word Report. The latter should outline: the design of the prototype and design intentions; how data collection was integrated into the build; outcomes of testing including number of playtesters, analysis and interpretation of data collected; and how this data analysis could inform your game design – what changes would you make or did you make to your prototype?

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Total 200
Lecture 6
Tutorial/Seminar 12
Supervised Practical Activity 6
Unsupervised Practical Activity 12
Assessment 100
Independent 64

Guidance notes

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2019/10 , and may be subject to change for future years.