The study of the inner workings of computer and video game design. We will examine digital and non-digital games focusing on game play, rule sets, user interface, asset management, look-and-feel, and player psychology. Study will expand into the areas of procedural thinking, ideation, game prototyping, examination of various design theories, and the ethical considerations of game design. As the basis of student critiques, games will be played and broken down into their formal, dramatic, and dynamic structural elements. Individually and in teams, students will design and develop games that are play-tested and critically reviewed in class. Studio. Prerequisite: None.
GAME 105 3D Game Fundamentals 3 UNITS
Game art in three dimensions. An introduction to game production workflow techniques, time management, and the terminology of 3D design principles. Level-of-detail exercises will explore the concepts of polygon topology, image budgets, initial sketching and brainstorming, pre-visualization, hard surface construction, and spatial relationships with regard to the human factor of scale. Studio. Prerequisite: None.
GAME 112 Game Design Documentation 3 UNITS
The life of a video game design from initial conceptualization to the final written production specification. We will trace the creation of an initial game idea through a High Concept and “pitch” phase to the writing of a Game Design Document (a.k.a. GDD). We will explore the purpose of design documentation, its maintenance, and its use in professional software development. Techniques for version control, the handling of design artifacts and redundant data will be practiced. Students will develop a GDD of their original concepts and prepare them for executive-style presentations.
GAME 140 Environmental Design & Modeling 3 UNITS
Game artists learn to create worlds. An examination and practice of industrial and architectural design principles and pre-visualization workflow techniques for creating interior and exterior 3D assets to support game design courses. Students will use 2D and 3D software to design and build environments, set dressing, and vehicles. Continued practice with level-of-detail exercises will further develop polygonal hard-surface construction with the implementation of UV set techniques, function integrity, asset modularity, and spatial relationships with regard to the human factor of scale.
Studio. Prerequisite: GAME 105, 3D Game Fundamentals.
GAME 140 Environmental Design & Modeling
Industrial Design and Architecture principles for game artists
Students will be introduced to the concepts of high and low polygon modeling, image budgets, workflows, space planning, human scale factors, and rendering performance considerations. Traditional skills including sketching and mock-ups will be used to design and create digital three-dimensional models of buildings, vehicles, props and set dressing. Students will integrate their models into a game engine for evaluation and iteration. 3 units. Studio.
GAME 211 Level Design 3 UNITS
The study and practice of composing 2D and 3D digital play environments. Students will break down components of select commercial game levels and evaluate their designs in terms of effective and ineffective constructs. Studio projects involve the creation of game levels that include top-down, platformer, horizontal/vertical scrollers, and first/ third person formats. Student-created levels will be play-tested in class and the success of their design intent will be assessed. Studio. Prerequisites:
GAME 112, Game Design Documentation; GAME 114, Introduction to Game Engines.
GAME 221 Game Prototyping 3 UNITS
Design assessment prior to production. Prototyping is that part of game development where designers and artists assess all aspects of a game design prior to full production. Attention is paid to issues of feasibility, practicality, and remedy of design flaws. Focus includes “fun factor,” development time, and overhead system resources. Techniques include paper prototyping, use of logic and flow charts, and advanced use of game engine software. Students will learn to prototype original game designs for group critique. Studio. Prerequisite: GAME 114, Introduction to Game Engines.
GAME 222 Game Player Analysis 3 UNITS
When creating a video game, development teams often lose sight of what they are doing and why, and who they are doing it for. We will focus on the game player and how game creators can “play to their audience.” We will identify the types of players, why people play computer games, analyze player psychology, their data profiles, audience diversity, and its impact on the consumer marketing of video games. Lecture. Prerequisite: GAME 102, Game Design.
GAME 224 History of Games II: 20th Century 3 UNITS
The creation and evolution of video games in the twentieth century. We will examine the origin and development of digital games and their technology. Our study will begin with the World War II era and the invention of the electronic computing machine. Our exploration will continue with the early uses of electronics in games, the emergence of digital media in everyday life, the placement of powerful game computers in the home, and the creation and advances of the early Internet. Key games will be analyzed in terms of their social, cultural, and economic impact on our world. Lecture. GAME 224 and 226 may be taken in any order. Prerequisites: WRIT 112, Academic Writing II, or WRIT 212, Rhetoric and Design; and GAME 102, Game Design.
GAME 226 History of Games: Case Studies 3 UNITS
The evolution of the video game industry and its impact on American culture. We will explore the renaissance of PC games via digital distribution and browser games, the mobile games industry from its early years through the touch-screen revolution, and the disruption created by both the emergence of the direct-to-consumer business model and changes in the global economy. We will analyze key games and trends in terms of their social, cultural, and business impact on our world. Lecture. GAME 224 and 226 may be taken in any order. Prerequisites: WRIT 112, Academic Writing 2, or WRIT 212, Rhetoric and Design; GAME 102, Game Design.
GAME 237 Materials, Lighting, & Rendering 3 UNITS
The study of virtual light, texturing, and performance considerations. Students will explore game project development from initial concept to final production employing simulated, realistic lighting techniques to effectively convey the desired mood and ambiance of a scene. Further study includes
function integrity, composition, and 3D camera properties, such as depth of field, custom material channels, and specialized textures, with special attention to rendering performance considerations. Continued level of detail exercises will develop vertex coloring and texture baking techniques, ambient occlusion, global illumination, light exclusivity, shadow quality, image budgets, and advanced lighting systems and rendering techniques. Studio. Prerequisite: GAME 140, Environmental Design & Modeling.
GAME 238 Character Design & Modeling 3 UNITS
The creation of organic 3D models. Students will develop the knowledge and technical skills necessary to translate a concept into a digital 3D organic sculpture. Use of various alternative software will develop a clear understanding of how human anatomy relates to 3D organic modeling. Emphasis is on learning the industry standard best-practices for efficient polygonal organic modeling, proper construction of edge loops to create shape and form, the importance of multiple tile UV sets, retopology of high-resolution models, and 3D digital painting and texturing techniques. Studio. Prerequisite: GAME 237, Materials, Lighting, & Rendering.
GAME 254 Procedural Content in Games 3 UNITS
The study of the automatic creation of game content during runtime. In some video games, procedural methods have been traditionally used to generate unique game levels, rules, and quests each time a game is played. Future applications are driven by recent industry developments and experimental techniques for generating art textures, special visual effects, sound effects, music, puzzles, and narrative. Studio projects involve hands-on prototyping, scripting, and experimentation to produce the desired procedural results. Studio. Prerequisites: GAME 112, Game Design Documentation, GAME 114, Introduction to Game Engines.
GAME 309 3D Game Animation 3 UNITS
Bringing life to three-dimensional objects. Students will study and practice the integration of 3D animation production methods and techniques used in today’s video game industry. Studies include the integration of motion-capture data and traditional key-frame animation into game engine production pipelines. Students will demonstrate how forward and inverse kinematics systems relate to body mechanics in order to effectively express a complex 3D animation network. Studio. Prerequisite: GAME 238, Character Design & Modeling.
GAME 321 User Interface Design 3 UNITS
Analysis of effective user interface design techniques and devices. Students will study the foundation of interaction design, graphic design, information architecture, and usability design to create effective video game interfaces. In addition to learning interface design methodologies and principles, students will also be introduced to industry standard software tools, along with contemporary UI design trends and practices in video game development. Students will produce several game interface design examples for their portfolio. Studio. Prerequisite: GAME 221, Game Prototyping.
GAME 332 Experimental Technology for Games 3 UNITS
Will this be the future of video games? An examination of the technologies of perception used to create immersive game experiences in the fields of virtual reality, mixed reality, augmented reality and alternate reality. We will explore the devices that exist today for enhancing the user’s perceptual experience and the fundamentals of the human sensory apparatus that drives them. Students will design and implement immersive experiences for a range of technology platforms aimed at increasing the player’s sensory experience. Studio. Prerequisite: GAME 221, Game Prototyping.
GAME 3703 Story Development
for Interactive Media
The unique qualities of narrative in interactive media and games. This course will cultivate students’ abilities to understand, interpret, and produce rich and sophisticated narrative video games. Students will be required to properly scope, prototype, play-test, produce, and polish a number of short-story games. Classes will consist of short lectures, ‘close playings’ and discussions of games, and in-class writing assignments. Activities include routine presentations of works-in-progress, ongoing play-test¬ing, and a consistent level of production. All of the short-story games will become portfolio pieces, but one in particular will be chosen by the student for extra attention and refinement, and will be exhibit¬ed at the end of the semester. Studio. Prerequisites: GAME 112, Game Design Documentation, GAME 221, Game Prototyping.
GAME 3705 Game Capstone Research Seminar 3 UNITS
Research and pre-production in preparation for the Capstone experience. Through lectures, self-directed study, and research, students working in teams develop a Proposal and Project Plan for their Capstone Project. Proposals include comprehensive game art and design specifications, in addition to production schedules for each project presented. Students experience overall project development and management, including asset creation, documentation, and pre-production processes. Approved Proposals will be produced in the senior year’s Game Capstone Studios I & II. Studio. Prerequisites: Consent of department chair, GAME 2__, Portfolio Review.
GAME 4XX Serious Games 3 UNITS
The use of video game design techniques outside the entertainment industry. Video game technology is regularly used in many non-entertainment applications. This course looks at the use of games for education, training, and civically engaged experiences in fields such as medicine, physical therapy, psychology, government defense, fine arts, and aviation. Students will learn the concepts of in¬structional design, and how to assess the success of a game as a training and enrichment tool. Studio. Prerequisite: GAME 221, Game Prototyping.
GAME 4XX Professional Practices of the Game Industry
Current professional practices in the game industry with focus on entry into the job market. Students will study the economics, job market, and structure of the game industry. Topics include the roles and skill sets within production teams, and the creative processes practiced within industry disciplines. Busi¬ness practices, including planning, media & digital publishing, marketing, and entrepreneur opportunities will be explored. Students will prepare professional project portfolios and resumes appropriate to the entry position sought in the video game industry. Faculty will evaluate materials in terms of creativity and quality of presentation. Studio. Pre¬requisite: GAME 4700, Game Capstone Studio I.
GAME 4700 Game Capstone Studio I 3 UNITS
Putting it all together: Part 1 of 2. Students imple¬ment their project plan for an original interactive work that was developed and approved in the pre-vious semester’s Game Capstone Research Seminar. Special attention will be paid to the effective use of technology, schedule slippage, high-risk areas, weekly progress, play-testing, iteration, and the practicality of the original design intent. Studio. Prerequisites: Consent of department chair, GAME 3705, Game Capstone Research Seminar.
GAME 432 Game Capstone Studio II 3 UNITS
Putting it all together: Part 2 of 2. Student teams integrate their individual focuses in game art, game design, and game development software to complete their capstone production of an original video game or other interactive media. Capstone projects are presented and assessed in a final faculty review. Assessment points include effective and creative use of technologies, problem solving, design thinking, fun factors, and success of their project management planning. Students are responsible for a written self-evaluation of their project, analyzing design, art, coding, project goals, and their level of success. Studio. Prerequisites: Consent of department chair, GAME 4700, Game Capstone Studio I.
GAME 490 Internship 3 UNITS
120 hours of work experience in the video game, entertainment, or interactive industry is required to graduate. Students must be at least in their junior year and in good academic standing to apply. The application process is the completion of a Game Art & Design Internship Contract signed by their faculty advisor, the department chair, and the host company’s supervisor. Grades are Pass/Fail and are based on a signed evaluation form from the company’s super¬visor, and an internship journal maintained by the student. The journal details their hours, what they learned about the industry, and their expectations and thoughts on the experience. Students will formally share their findings with classmates. Prerequisites: Consent of chair, Game Art & Design majors only.