Disruptive Game Design

Disruptive Game Design & Ludic Knowledge – Principal Investigator

This project has continued to be developed following completion of my PhD and is exploring the potential of disrupting and subverting a player’s expectations and pre-existing knowledge of games and gameplay, in order to provide a deeper, more cognitively engaging play experience.


The project has been developed from a foundation of cognitive psychology coupled with existing models of gameplay, leading to the creation of a new framework of ‘Ludic Knowledge’ and a new model of ‘Ludic Action’. The project is both theoretical and practical, with research directly informing development of playable products, most significantly, Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs.

The Theoretical Framework of Ludic Knowledge (Howell, 2016).

This project has also provided a catalyst for an additional strand of work examining ‘Ludic Knowledge’ more broadly. In particular, the project explores how a game transitions through multiple different stages during its lifecycle and the epistemological issues connected to types and applications of ‘Ludic Knowledge’ at each stage.