WPI Worcester Polytechnic Institute


The Game Development Process

IMGD 1001
A-term 2006

This course discusses the process of game development. It examines the roles of different participants in the development process and how the technical development and the artistic development proceed in tandem. Group work is emphasized, especially the importance of collaboration between technical and artistic efforts. Students are expected to participate in game development using appropriate game development tools.

(Here are The Final Games produced by the class.)


Course Information


Professor: Mark Claypool
email: claypool at cs.wpi.edu
office hours: M 10-11, T 12-1, Th 12-1
place: Fuller Labs, room 138
phone: x5409

Teaching Assistant: Chen-hao "Jason" Chang
email: chocobo7 at cs.wpi.edu
office hours: T 3-4, W 3-5
place: FL A22
phone: x6749

Teaching Assistant: Paulo G. de Barros
email: pgb at wpi.edu
office hours: M 2-3, Th 3-4, F 2-3
place: FL A22
phone: x6749

Senior Assistant: Cody Rank
email: codyrank at wpi.edu
office hours: W 12:30-1:30, F 12-1
place: FL A22
phone: x6749

Email aliases (please use appropriately):
Prof + Assitants: imgd1001-ta at cs.wpi.edu
Class: imgd1001-all at cs.wpi.edu

Time and Place


The course uses a set of chapters on the game development process selected from various books. The note can be picked up from the campus bookstore. The list of books and chapters used is provided here for reference. The order used and read in class is different than below.


Other good reference books include:

Grading Policy


Final grades will be computed as follows:

The grading policy for each project will be provided at the time of the assignment. In general, each assignment will have a basic objective for the majority of the assignment points. There may be an extended objective for demonstrating additional work and understanding.

Final grades will reflect the extent to which you have demonstrated understanding of the material, and completed the assigned projects. The base level grade will be a "B" which indicates that the basic objectives on assignments and exams have been met. A grade of an "A" will indicate significant achievement beyond the basic objectives and a grade of a "C" will indicate not all basic objectives were met, but work was satisfactory for credit. No incomplete grades will be assigned unless there exist exceptional, extenuating circumstances. Similarly, no makeup exams will be given unless there exist exceptional, extenuating circumstances.

Late Policy

Late projects will be be penalized 10% of total assignment value per day (with the weekend counting as one day) or partial day, and no assignments will be accepted after seven days beyond the due date. All projects are due at midnight due date, unless otherwise specified. Projects turned in after that time will be counted late. Projects will be submitted as directed in class, usually online. Exceptions to these rules can be made only beforehand.


Cheating ... don't do it. Cheating, either by taking credit for work you did not do or getting unauthorized help on projects or exams, is a serious offense. Punishment is in an automatic NR for the course. Note, discussion among students and even sanctioned group work is encouraged, but blatant copying of writing, code, art, design, etc. without attribution of sources, is not allowed. When in doubt, ask!


Here is the list of topics covered in this course:


Here is the list of reading, listed in the order covered in class:


Slides from the in-class lectures will be available shortly after they are presented, depending upon how things go. Here is what we have so far:

Admin pdf ppt
Introduction pdf ppt
Art pdf ppt
Game Design pdf ppt
Programming pdf ppt
Audio pdf ppt
Project Pitch pdf ppt
Game Fest pdf ppt


The projects are the game development related assignments you will have for the course. For most projects (see specifications), you will work in groups of 3 (groups of 2 or 4 are possible with permission) for the projects. Working in groups will give you valuable "real-world" experience as well as provide you with a "built in" source for help. Do remember, however, that all exams will be taken alone. Make sure each group member understands the projects completely!


In this section are any samples discussed in class, practice exams or any other demonstration-type class materials. Samples will be updated soon after the discussion in class begins.

Final stuff:

Mid-term stuff:

2-Player tank game from "The Game Maker's Apprentice" book. Includes split screen mode and a mini-map. The second version also includes a tool at the bottom for adjusting component attributes for gameplay balance.

So You Want to Be a Pixel Artist?, by Tsugumo. This is a series of tutorials that covers how to draw 2d tiles and sprites using examples. (It seems to have actually moved from it's original location, so I download a compressed version I found until a permanent 'net home can be located.) (Game Maker File)

Game Maker:

In case this inspires you on what (or what not) to do, here are the final games produced by the previous offering of this class:

Possible sources for content you can use in your games:


You have to work in groups for the projects. For some groups, it comes as naturally as a putting on socks before putting on your shoes. For others, it takes effort. You might read (and re-read periodically) some Top 12 Tips for Groups. Some other Tips for Working Successfully in a Group that might be useful. Go over these as a group!

When working in a group, you really should consider pair programming, especially when using Game Maker. Read the article:

Miscellaneous links on game development and design:

A list (certainly, not comprehensive) of some of the tools available to help build games:

Some game-related industry conventions:

Some game-related research conferences:

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Mark Claypool (claypool at cs.wpi.edu)