Dr Peter Howell
I am a Senior Lecturer in Computer Games Design in the School of Creative Technologies at the University of Portsmouth, and the Course Leader for BA (Hons) Computer Games Design. I have over 10 years experience teaching game design and development in Further and Higher Education, focusing primarily on game systems design, player experience design, 3D asset creation, level design and scripting, and academic games research. I have design and development experience in the UK games industry, including in my role as Game Designer at The Chinese Room.
I completed my PhD in 2015, with my thesis focusing on Disruptive Game Design - an approach to game design that aims to subvert 'typical' game rules and associated player expectations of how games 'should' work. I also hold an MSc in Psychology and I am Graduate Member of the British Psychological Society. I now lead the Advanced Games Research Group (AGRG) within the school which is currently engaged in multiple projects, developing research-driven commercial game products in areas including disruptive game design, narrative design, interpretive play, player psychology, and values-driven design. Additionally, I hold a number of external roles, including external examination for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in game design and game art, and peer review roles for ACM, Games & Culture Journal, the Creative Industries Journal, Taylor & Francis, and McFarland.
My research focus is game design and specifically, Disruptive Game Design and the subversion of player expectations during gameplay, underpinned by cognitive psychology. More broadly, I am interested in the application of psychological theory to the practices of game design, game play, and games education.
Within the Advanced Games Research Group, we aim to create commercial games from our research projects to demonstrate the practical uses of the theoretical work that underpins them. This is achieved through our in-house development and production studio, Port in the Storm. Currently, we are developing commercial game titles alongside publishing articles around their design and development. These projects focus on cognitive factors in gameplay and game-based storytelling, ambient and pervasive games, and educational game design, and experimental design and development processes.
- Head of the Advanced Games Research Group (AGRG)
- Course Leader for BA (Hons) Computer Games Design
- Admissions Tutor for the Play, Code, Create theme area
- Member of the CCI Faculty Ethics Committee
- Prototyping and Iterating Game Designs
- Games Research
- Psychological Theory for Game Designers