CS 170: Game Design Studio 1

Instructor: Michael Mateas
Email: michaelm at cs.ucsc.edu
Office: E2 373
Office hours: By appointment

Lecture: TTh 2:00-3:45 in Cowell College 131

Description

First of a three course capstone sequence for the Computer Game Design program. Students work in teams to develop a comprehensive game design for a substantial computer game, including detailed storyline, level design, artistic approach, implementation technologies, art asset pipeline. Emphasis is placed on creating novel artistic game design concepts. Includes design reviews, and formal presentations. Companion lectures cover advanced topics in game design, game programming, and software project management.

Grading

Project milestones: 60%

Design assignments: 30%

Reading quizes: 10%

Readings

Readings will consist of research papers and book excerpts. Additional course materials are available here.

Schedule

This will be updated as we move along.

October 2: Class Introduction

Lecture 1

Readings:

Chapter 2, "Stages of the Design Process" from Ernest Adams and Andrew Rollings, Game Design and Development: Fundamentals of Game Design.

October 4: No Class

October 5: No Class

October 9

Finish Lecture 1

Look at indie games:

Cloud

Defcon

Toribash

Facade

Flow

Orisinal

October 11: Survey of indie game scene + overview of game conceptualization

Readings:

Chapter 3, "Game Concepts" from Ernest Adams and Andrew Rollings, Game Design and Development: Fundamentals of Game Design.

Chapter 6, "Conceptualization" from Tracy Fullerton, Christopher Swain and Steven Hoffman, Game Design Workshop: Designing, Prototyping and Playtesting Games.

October 16: Complete discussion of the indie game scene

Games:

Samorost

Narbacular Drop (became Portal)

The Endless Forest

N

Chalk

October 18: Rapid Prototyping

Readings:

Chapter 7: "Prototyping" from Tracy Fullerton, Christopher Swain and Steven Hoffman, Game Design Workshop: Designing, Prototyping and Playtesting Games.

"How to Prototype a Game in Under 7 Days: Tips and Tricks from 4 Grad Students Who Made Over 50 Games in 1 Semester", Kyle Gabler, Kyle Gray, Matt Kucic, and Shalin Shodhan, Gamasutra.

October 23: Rapid Protoyping

Continue discussion of rapid prototyping, working through a concrete example in class.

October 25 and 26: Present and play physical prototypes of pitch 2

October 30: Core Mechanics

Readings:

Chapter 10: "Core Mechanics" from Ernest Adams and Andrew Rollings, Game Design and Development: Fundamentals of Game Design.

November 1 and 2: Final Project Pitches

November 6: Callbacks for selected project pitches

Based on the original and callback presentations, Michael and Jim will make a final selection of three projects to move forward for the rest of the year, and will assign project team members.

November 8 and 9: No Class

Michael out of town for a conference.

November 13: The Design Document and overview of rest of the quarter

Readings:

Chapter 14: "The Design Document" from Tracy Fullerton, Christopher Swain and Steven Hoffman, Game Design Workshop: Designing, Prototyping and Playtesting Games.

November 15: Team Schedule

Each team will present their schedule for completing their physical prototypes, computational prototypes, and design documents by the end of the quarter. This includes a detailed description of the open design problems that should be addressed, what prototypes will be created, and the responsibilities of the team members. I, and members of other teams, will provide feedback to each team.

November 20: Design Document Draft and Physical Prototypes

Drafts of the design document are due to me by the end of the day.

Each team will present a physical prototype of their game.

November 27: Presentation and Feedback of Computational Prototypes

November 29: Presentation and Feedback on Second Round Physical Prototypes

November 30: Draft Design Presentations and Second Round Design Document

Drafts of design document are due to me by the end of the day.

December 4: Presentation and Feedback on Second Round Computational Prototypes

December 6: Presentation and Feedback on Design

Practice final design presentation.

December 7: TBD

Exam Week: Public Project Presentations