- Blair MacIntyre, email@example.com
Office hours: 4-5 M, 2-3 Tue. TSRB 231.
- Maribeth Gandy, firstname.lastname@example.org
Office hours: TBA
- TA: Chris Ernst, email@example.com
Office hours: TBA
- TA: Jonathan Massey, firstname.lastname@example.org
Office hours: 3-4 Tue., 3-4 Thurs. DMGL or CoC commons
- Meet Tue/Thu Klaus 2443
- No required textbook. Suggested textbooks include:
Game Design Workshop, by Tracy Fullerton
The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, by Jesse Schell
- You are required to learn and master Unity3D. You should start immediately, if you do not know it already, and leverage the vast wealth of online tutorials and help.
- Consider buying the academic/student version of Unity3D Pro with Asset Server. It is only $99 for one year subscription (compared to $2000 retail). The Asset Server client license, in particular, will be a great benefit if you do not want to work in the lab.
This class is a project based class on Video Game Design and Architecture. You will work in groups of 3 students to design, prototype and test a 3D video game using the Unity3D game engine. Along the way, we will teach you about game architecture and some elements of game design. You will build a number of prototypes as you develop your game, to test game mechanics, aesthetic concepts or other core ideas of your game.
Every student in the class will build two or more prototypes by themselves, and will be expected to contribute significantly to their team’s game. This is not a “process” class, where each member takes on a well-defined roll, with some programming, some designing and some managing. Rather, each member of the team is expected to take on many roles to ensure the game is completed and working before the due date.
A major part of designing a game is testing and refining is building prototypes of the various parts of the game, especially the game mechanics, controls and interactive elements. Since games are as much about the feel of the experience as they are about the technical implementation, testing and refining how the game feels and “plays” is critically important. Therefore, a goal of this class is to give you experience developing such prototypes for a game you are building.
The grade for the class will be computed as follows:
- Class participation: 9%
- Game Prototype Critiques: 10%
- Individual Assignments: 25% (5% assignment 0, 10% each for two prototypes)
- Weekly group turn-ins: 16% (2% each)
- Initial Core Game Idea Pitch: 5%
- Alpha Milestone: 10%
- Playable Complete Game Milestone (for playtesting): 10%
- Final Presentation, Video and Materials: 15%
Late submission will have 25% taken off the grade immediately, and an additional 25% taken off for each additional day. A day is 24 hours from the specific time the assignment is due (e.g., if something is due at 6am Monday, and it turned in at 6:01am Monday, it is 25% off; if it’s turned in at 5:59am Tuesday, it’s 25% off but will be 50% off at 6:00am Tuesday).
The major activity of the class is centered around the group project (below), but there will be one individual early assignment (“assignment 0”) worth 5%.
The Project Web Page
Each team is expected to maintain a webpage that will be linked to from this site. This page will, in turn, have a list of group members, the game design idea, all the game turn-ins, the final game, all game prototypes, and the final video. The content should be neatly and concisely laid out on this page. All game projects are expected to be targeted to Unity’s web plugin, so all of the game milestones will be playable on your web page, and available to the your classmates and anyone on the internet who stumbles on your page.
The project will be done in groups of 3. Not 4, not 2. But 3. Teams will be formed early, and an initial game pitch will be done by each team. Each team will then work on their game over the semester, with each team member doing 2 prototypes over the course of the semester of interactive elements of the game that need exploring. There will be 8 “weekly” builds of the game that must be turned in, and two major milestones (the Alpha build, and a final complete build that will be play tested in class.)
The game project is best through of as “one or two playable levels that demonstrate the core fun of your game idea.” The emphasis is on demonstrating the fun. The game should play well, and it should be clear to the player where this game would go if it were to become real. Polished art is not necessary, but should be clean enough to not interfere with the experience; opting for a clean geometric world rather than “cobbled together mismatched models” is a good idea. You will NOT get addition credit for things unrelated to the fun of your core idea: no level editors, no generalized internal structure, no super-cool animated characters, etc. But critical elements, like sound effects, are important, as are smooth game mechanics.
A summary of the elements of the project are as follows (additional details will be provided in class and on separate pages):
- The Pitch will be short (3 mins) and have follow a fixed format (we will provide more detail separately). The focus should be on the “core idea” of the game.
- Prototypes. Each group will do 6, each person will do 2. Each prototype is expected to be a self contained test and exploration of some core element of the game. The prototype should NOT be integrated with the game, and NOT an incremental build of the game. What you learn (and perhaps some of the code) will make it into your game as you refine it.
- Weekly builds. Each week that a weekly build is due, you are expected to have it on your group web page by 6am Monday morning of that week. The build should be playable, and the page for that build should describe the progress made since the last build, the problems currently faced, and the plans for the next build.
- Alpha. The Alpha should be an initial playable demo. It should demonstrate some central part of your game, and allow you to get an idea (and feedback) about whether you are going down a good path with your game. You will bring these to class, and we will use two class periods to allow students to play each others games and give their feedback.
- Final Playtesting Build. You will be expected to have your game 99% complete by the time we playtest in class. After the playtesting, you may tweak the game (e.g., adjust balance, update some content or technical bugs, etc) but you are not expected to continue adding features.
- Final Presentation. You will present your game, including showing a short video (less than five minutes) documenting your game. You should also present what you learned; what did your game do and not do; what you would do differently.