In early 2013 I was able to provide GameSalad and its affiliates an official crash course curriculum for budding game designers. This mini game, Sea Sprint, was created using the GameSalad creator development platform and was completed in roughly 24 hours.
My focus for the course was to first teach students the basics of game play design and mechanics. Through these concepts, students would learn the dependencies of their game components and ultimately the foundation of system design. Using a handful of techniques such as keyframe animation, mathematical expressions, physics and code driven effects, students would learn very advanced concepts quickly and with the accessibility of GameSalad, get instant feedback.
Once their game play was established, I then turned the focus on audio and visual presentation and the importance of communication with the user. I stressed that all graphics and sound should be used to reinforce goals and themes. By adding particle effects of dust and bubbles, players would feel the sensation of being underwater. By creating multiple layers of scrolling backgrounds players would feel the sensation of speed. Positive and negative sound effects reinforced good and bad interactions. And a solid user interface would communicate high level statistics such as health and score with maximum readability.
All in all, it is a very basic jumping off point but one that anyone can follow and learn from.