Syllabus

Course Meeting Times

Seminars: 2 meetings / week, 3 hours / session

Prerequisites

CMS.608 Game Design or 6.01 Introduction to Electrical Engineering and Computer Science I.

Course Description

Students will learn creative design and production methods, working together in small teams to design, develop, and thoroughly test their own original digital games. Design iteration across all aspects of video game development (game design, audio design, visual aesthetics, fiction and programming) will be stressed. Students will also be required to focus test their games, and will need to support and challenge their game design decisions with appropriate focus testing and data analysis.

Class Requirements and Grading

Course grades will be determined by four factors:

  • Preparedness for class; overall participation in class group exercises and group focus testing, weekly retrospectives and other in class work. Also includes the Game Engine Tutorial Assignment. (25 points—25%)
  • Team project 1 (15 points—15%)
  • Team project 2 (15 points—15%)
  • Team project 3 (15 points—15%)
  • Team project 4 (30 points—30%)

Attendance

Because this class emphasizes participation and teamwork, and because you will have to work closely with your classmates to complete each project, the faculty reserve the right to warn and dock the participation grade of any student who engages in antisocial or disruptive behavior. Regular and consistent class attendance is mandatory. You may receive a failing grade if you miss more than 3 classes without justification and approval from the instructors. However, this class intends to be lenient on absences due to illnesses and discourages working when you are sick. Please email the instructors before the start of class if you will be absent due to illness. Meeting up with classmates in person while you have a contagious disease is particularly discouraged.

Project Grades: Criteria

This course is about learning the proper processes and procedures for working as a team on a complex, multi-functional project. While successfully delivering the project is important, practicing and improving your project management and group teamwork skills is what we are trying to teach. Overall project grades will depend heavily on the methods, tools, and processes you use to develop your games, as well as the justification and explanation of the choices you made in organizing your team and your project. A rough breakdown of our grading considerations:

  • 20% – Game functionality: Does the game meet the basic requirements of playability? Is it stable? Does it give adequate feedback to the user? Does it meet specific project constraints?
  • 20% – Adherence to and rigorous use of iterative design process, including responsiveness to tester and instructor feedback.
  • 20% – Teamwork and project management, including the thoughtful and consistent use of project management methods and tools.
  • 20% – Individually written postmortem, including clarity and depth of writing.
  • 20% – Group postmortem presentation, including clarity and depth of presentation.

Postmortems, written game rules and any other delivered writings are expected to be clear, spell-checked, and demonstrate a high proficiency in written English.

Required Readings

This class does not have a required text book, but a useful book to read for advice on game design is
Buy at Amazon Brathwaite, and Schreiber. Challenges for Game Designers: Non Digital Exercises for Game Designers. Cengage Learning, 2008. ISBN: 9781584505808. [Preview with Google Books]

Additional recommended readings to better understand each project and the project skills it emphasizes will be handed out in class.

Statement on Plagiarism

Plagiarism—use of another's intellectual work without acknowledgement—is a serious offense. It is the policy of the CMS Faculty that students who plagiarize will receive an F in the subject, and that the instructor will forward the case to the Committee on Discipline. Full acknowledgement for all information obtained from sources outside the classroom must be clearly stated in all written work submitted. All ideas, arguments, and direct phrasings taken from someone else's work must be identified and properly footnoted. Quotations from other sources must be clearly marked as distinct from the student's own work. For further guidance on the proper forms of attribution, consult the Writing Center's guide to avoiding plagiarism.