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.)
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.
Introduction to Game Development, edited by Steve
Rabin, copyright Charles River Media Incorporated, 2005. ISBN:
The best book I've found for (nearly) comprehensive coverage of the material in this course. The chapters are individually authored, giving the book rather uneven levels of detail and tone from chapter to chapter, but many of the selected chapters are quite good. At nearly 1000 pages, it has considerably more material than will covered in a term, but it should make a good reference beyond the course. Chapters: 3.1, 3.2, 3.5, 5.5, 6.2, 6.4, 6.5, 6.6, and 7.3
On Game Design, by Chris Crawford. New Riders, 2003.
If you can look past Crawford's arrogance, there are a lot of good war stories about game development and some good, general game design tips.
Game Architecture and Design - A New Edition, by Andrew Rollings
and Dave Morris. New Riders, 2004. ISBN: 0735713634
A close a book to the "Game Development Process", but missing artistic content creation and programming. A bit wordy, but with good information and examples on the areas of Game Design, Team Management, and Game Architecture.
Chapters: 1, 2, 3 and 5
Gameplay and Design, by Kevin Oxland. Addison Wesley, 2004.
Includes easy-to-read descriptions of the game development process in two phases: components of a game design and the process of creating and formatting design documents. Examples of a Norbot game are worked throughout the text.
Tutorial: What is a Good Game?, by Mark Overmars. 2004.
A narrative describing some of the ingredients in a (good) game.
Creating the Art of the Game, by Matthew Omernick.
New Riders, 2004. ISBN: 0735714096
An informative, easy-to-read book on creating 3D art for games.
Chapters: Foreword, 1 and 2
Designing Arcade Computer Game Graphics, by Ari Feldman.
Out of Print, 2000.
Emphasizes the development of 2D graphics for computer games, including animation, proper color usage, and fonts.
Other good reference books include:
On Game Design, by Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams.
New Riders, 2003. ISBN: 1-5927-3001-9
A good book for a "Critical Studies of Games" course, but with some solid game design material for a "Game Development" course.
The Game Maker's Apprentice, by Jacob Habgood and
Mark Overmars. APress, 2006. ISBN 1590596153
From the creator of Game Maker, this book provides detailed tutorials about creating games, along with general game design guidelines. Comes with a CD-ROM containing the Game Maker source code for the tutorials.
Audio for Games - Planning, Process and Production,
by Alexander Brandon. New Riders, 2004. ISBN: 0735714134
Information on audio technology and how it fits in with the game development process.
Game Coding Complete, by Mike McShaffry. Paraglyph Press,
2003. ISBN: 1-932111-75-1
On the process of programming computer games, including tips and tricks used by real game programmers.
Developing Games in Java, by David Brackeen. New Riders,
2004. ISBN: 1592730051
If you want to code games in Java, this book provides good examples of AI, 2d and 3d graphics, and multiplayer games, using the Java libraries.
The Indie Game Development Survival Guide, Game Development
Series, by David Michael. Charles River Media, 2003. ISBN:
The title sounds like it would be right on for those that want to develop games in their garage, but the content matter is a bit light weight. ... But, it does tell a complete story about developing games start to finish and has some good words of wisdom.
Awesome Game Creation - No Programming Required,
Second Edition, by Luke Ahearn and Clayton Crooks.
Charles River Media, 2002. ISBN: 1-58450-223-1
Introduction to software for building games without writing code. Includes a CD with versions of many game development toolkits.
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 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:
|Audio||ppt||Project Pitch||ppt||Game Fest||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.
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)
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: