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Faculty Focus: Publications: Totten, C

A listing of KSU Tuscarawas faculty publications.

Totten, C


Chris Totten

Assistant Professor

Level Design: Processes and Experiences, editor, AK Peters/CRC Press. 2016.

Smithsonian American Art Museum Indie Arcade Event Book, editor, self-published, 2016.

An Architectural Approach to Level Design, AK Peters/CRC Press. June 2014

Game Character Creation in Blender and Unity, Wiley Publishing, July, 2012.


Merging Education, Assessment, and Entertainment in Math Games: A Case Study of Function Force



“De-coding Games through Historical Research in Art and Design”, in Game Design Research. Editors, Petri Lankoski and Jussi Holopainen, ETC Press, 2017 (forthcoming).

“Moving Forward by Looking Back – Using Art and Architectural History to Make and Understand Games”, Chapter for Contemporary Research on Intertextuality in Video Games. Editors, Christophe Duret and Christian-Marie Pons, IGI Global, Upcoming 2016.



 La Mancha is a storytelling card game based on Miguel de Cervantes’s classic 1605 novel, Don Quixote.

Dead Man’s Trail, Pie for Breakfast Studios

Fall 2016 (upcoming)

Director, producer, art director, 2D/3D artist, level designer

Dead Man’s Trail is a horror survival game in the style of The Oregon Trail where players must manage the health and status of a traveling party and loot supplies in procedurally generated 3D environments. Developed in Unity over 3 years.

Addie’s Patchwork Playground, Pie for Breakfast Studios/American University Game Lab

Spring/Summer 2016 (upcoming)

Director, art director, 2D artist, level designer

Part of the Atelier Games series, where the game art is produced with fine-art production techniques. The game is an experimental platformer where players paint a quilted world through their own play. As players move Addie, an adventure-loving girl in dinosaur pajamas, stamps are left for different actions - running, climbing, and jumping. Players interact with the game by playing with a quilt made of conductive fabric in the real world. Developed in Unity.

Assessment Micro Games, American University Game Lab/ETS

Spring/Summer 2015

Art director, 2D Artist

Created artwork for multiple small-format game projects for the Educational Testing Service. Developed in GameSalad. Delivered to client in 6 months.

Lissitzky’s Revenge, Pie for Breakfast Studios/American University Game Lab

Spring 2015

Director, developer, 2D artist, level designer

Part of the Atelier Games series, where the game art is produced with fine-art production techniques. Lissitzky’s Revenge is an action game based on the poster Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge (El Lissitzky, 1920) using paper cut-outs as the art medium. Developed in Construct 2. Developed for independent release on Game Jolt in 3 months.

Delivery Drone, American American University Game Lab

Fall 2014

Art director, 2D artist

Retro top-down “bullet hell” newsgame. Players are a drone pilot maneuvering around other drones while trying to pick up and deliver packages while avoiding houses where occupants want privacy. Developed for independent release in 1 month.

Ice Bucket Challenge, Pie for Breakfast Studios/American American University Game Lab

Fall 2014

Art director, developer, 2D Artist, level designer

Retro 2D platformer developed in 48 hours as a response to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Players control me collecting coins for my donation while avoiding buckets of ice water. Developed for independent release online in 5 days.

Zup!, Pie for Breakfast Studios/E4 Software

Summer 2014

Art director, 2D Artist

Mobile action game with art produced with craft foam and assembled in Photoshop and Blender 3D. Players tilt their device to guide a man who has filled his head with helium into the sky, avoiding obstacles. Developed in 6 months and released on iOS and Android.

Celestium, Global Game Jam 2014

Art director, 2D Artist, level designer

48-hour game project. A fighting game between Greek gods and goddesses trying to control the sky.

Onward and Life Quest, George Mason University

Spring/Summer 2014


These two serious games apps were produced for George Mason University’s Center for Advancing Correctional Excellence. These games allow probationers to determine their own daily real-life “quests” for addressing their problem areas and track them via in-app calendar systems. Delivered to client in 6 months.

Swarm!, E4 Software

Spring 2013

Art director, 2D/3D Artist, level designer

A mobile action game where players tilt their device to guide a spherical character through cartoon environments while luring enemies into traps. Developed in 1 year and released on iOS and Android.

Star Sharks, IGDA DC “Tighten Up the Graphics on Level 3” Game Jam


3D Artist

Game created for a local game jam in 48 hours.

ABC’s Learn and Sing, E4 Software


Art director, 2D/3D Artist

A mobile educational game developed for the Barnes and Noble Nook in 3 weeks.

Clone Zombie Apocalypse, Wiley Publishing


2D/3D artist, developer, level designer

A game developed for my book, Game Character Creation in Blender and Unity, which readers create as they read the book. I developed my own copy in 1 month before submission to the publisher as part of the book’s downloadable resources.

Susie’s Summer Home, Global Game Jam 2012.

3D Artist

48-hour game project. A surrealist horror game created in the Unity engine.

The Nightmare over Innsmouth, independent

Fall 2011

Developer, 2D/3D Artist, level designer

A 3D horror game based on the work of H.P. Lovecraft and the art of Tim Burton. Created as part of my 2011 GDC China presentation, “Designing Better Levels Through Human Survival Instincts.”

Game Design and Architecture, Catholic University of America School of Architecture

Fall 2008/Spring 2009

Designer, 2D Artist

A board game developed as part of my grad school architecture thesis that turns the process of architectural design into a board game and guides players through projects.


Book chapter:


Conference proceedings:

  • "The Making of La Mancha: Games as Literary Criticism" in Proceedings of Foundations of Digital Games Conference 2020. Talk to be given September 15 during the Workshop on Tabletop Games:


  • What's your Number?: Interactive fiction made for Global Game Jam 2020 about the draft, voting, and protest (made in collaboration with the Kent State May 4th Visitor's Center) 


The Digital Gaming Handbook (have a chapter in this one) -

Pattern Language for Game Design (illustrated a chapter in this) -

I also just put out a small demo of a game I have in development, not that this could really go in a case:

Very untraditional (not a normal book/chapter/journal), but I had this published through a peer-reviewed social media comics/animation criticism project:

With Tim Fritz:  Digital Gallery for Akron Art Museum’s Gamefest: