IAT312 Game Design Teaching Portfolio

My Roles

Lab instructor and teaching assistant.
Responsible for leading individual/group discussion sections, technical tutorials, living coding and debugging of 25-50 students, grading assignments, preparing and giving 2-hour lab tutorials once per week throughout the semester.

Course Introduction

Game Design is a young discipline with vast potential, but little that constitutes accepted canon or formal process. It is also a creative endeavor requiring practical experience through design, critique and iteration. In the lecture part of this class, students will read and discuss some of the work that analyzes players, games and the design process to establish common ground for practical work in the course labs. Students will also learn some of the more universal game mechanisms, such as randomness and economic systems, and a few specific topics in more detail. In the labs, students will play, critique, improve and design games as well as report on the course’s three longer game design projects.

Course Syllabus

Week Date Topic Reading                    Assignments
1 Lec What is a Game? Reading questions
 Lab Board Game: Dominion Analysis Quiz: Games and Gamers
2 Lec Gameplay Mechanics
   Lab Unity Tutorial
3 Lec Mechanics: Uncertainty  
   Lab Unity Tutorial
4 Lec Mechanics: economic systems   Project 1: Redesigned Prototype Ant Lion
   Lab Lords of Waterdeep
5 Lec Mechanics: Reward Systems  
   Lab Ant Lion Presentations
6 Lec Games and Narrative   Project 2: DeckWorker Proposal
Lab Discussion: Diablo 3 / Reward and Economic Systems
7 Lec   Game AI: Data Structures, Algorithms for Games &Simulation
   Lab Narrative Structure (Heavy Rain) & Proposal Critiques Narrative lab exercise: Heavy Rain/The wolf among us
8 Lec Emergence and Synthetic Characters
   Lab DeckWorker Playtest
9 Lec Improving Games: Game User Research    
Lab Deckworker Demos
10 Lec Player Psychology   Project 3: Indie Game Proposal
     Lab Tutorial: AI in Unity
11 Lec Player Experience: Agency and Immersion  
    Lab Make a “Let’s Play Video”
12 Lec Games culture: communities & social issues  
     Lab Indie Game Playtest
13 Lec  


Final Review & Peer Evaluations  
Lab Indie Game Final Iteration
Final  Exam

Learning Outcomes

Students will gain practical experience with and a critical understanding of:

  • what makes games different from other types of products, entertainment media and works of art;
  • the existing attempts to analyze the psychology of players and how it affects game design and consumption;
  • the process of game design and its components such as prototyping and play testing
  • some of the dimensions along which to think about game design and critique existing designs, such as art style, narrative and game balance;
  • a subset of the mechanisms available to accomplish game design goals, such as reward systems, economic systems and artificial intelligence.

Teaching Methods

Technical Tutorials: Each lab has a 45-60 minute Unity3D programming tutorial at the beginning, which is closely related to the lecture’s concepts. The students will follow the tutorials through live coding and ask questions.

Reading Questions: Students need to submit their reading critiques according to their weekly reading topics and post it to the discussion forum.

In-lab Discussions, Presentations & Playtestings: students are divided into teams for each project, and they will have discussions among the team to analyze game mechanics, delivering presentations to the class and run playtestings to gather feedback to their projects in the labs.

Assignments & Projects: The assignments are all project-based, where the students need to code different simulation environments. The outcomes are open-ended, but the technical requirements are derived from the course concepts.

Quizzes & Exams: In-class quizzes and the final exam test students’ knowledge of the lecture material, readings, and programming capabilities.




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