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Dr Penny Sweetser
Discipline *
Information Systems
+61 7 3138 4927
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PhD (University of Queensland), Grad. Cert. in Education (Higher Ed.) (University of Queensland), B. Information Technology (Hons I) (University of Queensland)


digital games, enjoyment, engagement, emergence, artificial intelligence, play experience, player experience, flow

* Field of Research code, Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008


Dr. Penny Sweetser is a lecturer in the Bachelor of Games and Interactive Entertainment. She has several years’ experience working in the games industry as a game designer, working on AAA titles such as BioShock 2, XCOM, and Medieval II: Total War.

She joined QUT in 2011 and now lectures games level design and interaction design. She completed her Ph.D. in 2006 on ‘An Emergent Approach to Game Design – Development and Play’. She authored a book based on her Ph.D. research in 2007, entitled ‘Emergence in Games’.

Penny has authored a number of conference and journal papers and book chapters on various topics related to game development, including emergence, artificial intelligence, player-centred design, and enjoyment.

Penny’s research interests include various aspects of games design, related to enjoyment, training, learning, and pacing. She is also researching children’s use of games and technology for learning and entertainment.

This information has been contributed by Dr Penny Sweetser.


Dr. Penny Sweetser developed a new unit in 2011 for the Bachelor of Games and Interactive Entertainment – Games Level Design.

  • Games Level Design is a practical games design subject, focusing on the player experience and how all aspects of games design converge to create engaging play experiences, when creating levels for games.
Penny has previously lectured and tutored various games and computer science subjects, including:
  • Games Design
  • Interaction Design
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Software Engineering
  • Software Process
This information has been contributed by Dr Penny Sweetser.


Dr. Penny Sweetser has worked on several AAA games as a games designer, including:

  • Neptune’s Pride (
  • Blight of the Immortals (
  • BioShock 2
  • XCOM
  • Medieval II: Total War
  • Medieval II Total War: Kingdoms
Penny has worked for several games development companies, including:
  • Iron Helmet Games
  • 2K Australia
  • 2K Marin
  • Creative Assembly (Sega)
She has also worked as a lecturer, tutor, and researcher at:
  • Computer Science, Queensland University of Technology
  • School of ITEE,¬†The University of Queensland
  • Cognitive Engineering Research Group, The University of Queensland
  • The University of Queensland Usability Laboratory
This information has been contributed by Dr Penny Sweetser.


For more publications by this staff member, visit QUT ePrints, the University's research repository.