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.
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.
|1 Lec||What is a Game?||Reading questions|
|Lab||Board Game: Dominion Analysis||Quiz: Games and Gamers|
|2 Lec||Gameplay Mechanics|
|3 Lec||Mechanics: Uncertainty|
|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|
|9 Lec||Improving Games: Game User Research|
|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|
|Final Review & Peer Evaluations|
|Lab||Indie Game Final Iteration|
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.
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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