Tracy  Fullerton Author of Evaluating Organization Development

Tracy Fullerton

USC Games

I've been a game designer for over twenty years, and I've been teaching game design to students for seventeen of those years. My book, Game Design Workshop, has become a "go to" text for game design programs all over the world. The new third edition updates the core playcentric methodology with interviews from designers working on a variety of new platforms and in new genres of play. I hope the book is helpful to you on your journey to becoming a game designer, or for your students of design.


Tracy Fullerton is an experimental game designer, professor and director of the Game Innovation Lab at the USC School of Cinematic Arts where she holds the Electronic Arts Endowed Chair in Interactive Entertainment.  The Game Innovation Lab is a design research center that has produced a number of influential independent games, including Cloud, flOw, Darfur is Dying, The Walden, a game, and The Night Journey -- a collaboration with media artist Bill Viola.  Tracy is also the author of “Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games,” a design textbook in use at game programs worldwide. Her work has received numerous honors including an Emmy nomination for interactive television, Indiecade’s “Sublime Experience,” “Impact,” "Developers Choice" and “Trailblazer” awards, Games for Change “Game Changer” award, "Game of the Year" and "Most Significant Impact" for Walden, a game, and the Game Developers Choice “Ambassador” Award. In September 2016, she was named the People’s Choice for most inspiring LA Woman in Los Angeles Magazine.

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    Game design, experimental games, game development, game studies, learning and games.

Personal Interests

    Making and playing games, hiking, sailing.



Featured Title
 Featured Title - Game Design Workshop A Playcentric Approach 4e - 1st Edition book cover


Art Journal, Volume 79 Issue 2

A Year at Play in the Woods of Walden Pond

Published: Jun 17, 2020 by Art Journal, Volume 79 Issue 2
Authors: Tracy Fullerton
Subjects: Computer Game Development, Gaming

A virtual tour of "Walden, a game" and discussion by the designer of the nature of this ludic translation of Thoreau's experiment in living.


Fourth Edition of Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games is out!

By: Tracy Fullerton
Subjects: Animation, Computer Game Development, Gaming

The fourth edition of this widely used text is now available, with updated examples, all-color images, new designer sidebars on inclusive teams, directing for emotion, game loops and arcs and more.

This exercise-driven, non-technical approach to game design is used in classes worldwide to introduce students and teachers to the art of creating playable experiences without the need for programming or artistic expertise.

Game Design Workshop, 4th Edition, demystifies the creative process with clear and accessible analysis of the formal and dramatic systems of game design. Using examples of popular games, illustrations of design techniques, and refined exercises to strengthen your understanding of how game systems function and give you the skills and tools necessary to create a compelling and engaging game.

Game Design Workshop puts you to work prototyping, playtesting, and revising your own games with time-tested methods and tools. These skills will provide the foundation for your career in any facet of the game industry including design, producing, programming, and visual design.

More information and example content at: