College of Computing and Digital Media Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 6-17-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


School of Design

First Advisor

Brian Schrank, PhD

Second Advisor

Jes Klass, MFA

Third Advisor

Dan Bashara, PhD


Immersive simulation design, broadly speaking, is a game design philosophy centered around player expression, emergent gameplay, and dynamic narrative. Contrary to what the phrase may imply simply by reading it, immersion in and of itself is not necessarily enough for a game to be classified as an “immersive sim” (or IMSIM for short). Many different types of games can utilize immersion to great effect, but immersive simulations require a level of flexibility and rule/system-based approaches beyond the scope of games that occupy similar genres.

The Machine Upstairs represents an exploration of the immersive simulation philosophy and an investigation into its unique strengths and challenges for both player and designer.

Included in

Game Design Commons



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