Syllabus

DESMA 157: Game Design Workshop
Fall 2017, UCLA Design Media Arts

Monday, Wednesday 9:00am – 11:50am
Broad Art Center room 4220
Professor: Eddo Stern
TA: Sara Drake

Course Description:

This course provides a foundation in game design.  The coursework develops concepts that are unique to game design and production. Both non-digital and digital game creation skills are developed. Throughout the course students will produce four playable games, each project will explore various aspects of game design, including: game fabrication, rule design, game balance, multiplayer dynamics, complexity, randomness, polemics, narrative, adaptation, physical interaction, user interface, basic game programming, game asset creation, and the aesthetic and pragmatic aspects of physical and digital game design.

The course will cover game design concepts through reading and written assignments, class lectures and exercises, discussions, playtesting sessions, and game design and production projects.

Attending Visiting Lectures:
We will be incorporating attendance and feedback to the DMA visiting lectures and other relevant  events as part of the requirements for the class. There are four events this quarter that overlap with our class topics: 1) Angela Washko Lecture (Artist who works with games, online culture and gender), 2) Angela Washko Workshop (On artistic interventions in online game spaces),   3) Indiecade International Games (Independent game festival in Little Tokyo), 4) 2017 UCLA Game Art Festival (at the Hammer Museum). Students in the class will be required to attend and write a 1-2 page response for three of these events with a fourth response as extra credit.

Grading:
Game #1: Parlor Game (10%), Game #2: Computer Game Adaptation (15%), Game #3: Unity Game Project (15%), Game #4: Final/Polemical Game (25%), Written Assignments x 5 (25%), , class participation (10%)

Tutorials and written Assignments will be graded based on these parameters:
*attention to detail/craft  (bugs, visual artifacts, spelling, clarity of writing)
*punctuality

Projects will be graded based on these parameters:
*project scope/ambition/amount of work
*originality
*attention to detail/craft  (bugs, visual artifacts, spelling)
*punctuality

All assignments must be submitted before the beginning of class time on the day they are due unless a midnight deadline is indicated (as 24:00).

Late projects and assignments will be penalized by one letter grade per class day they are late  and will not be accepted if more than one week late.

Attendance:
More than one absence without the professor’s or TA’s prior permission will lower the participant’s final grade by one fraction (e.g. a B+ will become a B). With each additional unexcused absence (3 and more) the grade will drop a full  unit (e.g. a B will become a C).

15 minutes late will officially count as as being late, 3 lates count as an absence. Students arriving more than an hour late to class will be considered absent.

Recommended Reading:

-Caillois, Roger. Man Play & Games. University of Illinois Press  2001
-Hocking, Joseph, Unity in Action, Manning Publications, 2015
You can buy the current second edition as it’s being published here.
-Huizinga Johan. Homo Ludens: A study of the play element in culture. Beacon 1971
-Salen, Katie and Eric Zimmerman. Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals. MIT Press 2004
Free pdf copy is viewable here.

 

Class Schedule 
Schedule color key:
Magenta : something is due
Blue : Class Lecture/Demonstration
Green : Visiting Lecture/Class Event

Week 1:: Game Design Intro & Racing Games
Monday October 2:
 Class Introductions
 Game Studies 101
 Racing game lecture
 Backgammon Demo
 Play Racing Games
 HW: Roger Caillois on the Classification of Games reading & notes

Wednesday October 4:
 Game Design Lecture
 Laser Cutter Demo (In the Fablab)
 HW: Game #1: Parlour Game Adaptation
 HW: Indiecade field trip + response

Friday October 6:

  Indiecade Field trip Little Tokyo
Saturday October 7:
 Indiecade Festival Little Tokyo
Sunday October 8:
 Indiecade Festival Little Tokyo

Week 2:: Parlor Games & Strategy Games
Monday October 9:
 Parlor Games Lecture and Demo
 Play Parlor Games
DUE: Caillois reading notes #1

Wednesday October 11:
Strategy Games Lecture
Play Strategy games

Week 3:: Cooperative Games
Monday October 16:
 Playtests
 DUE: Game #1

Wednesday October 18:
Present Cooperative Games
Watch Pacman Video
HW: Game #2: Computer Game Adaptation / Multiplayer Assignment
Play Cooperative Games

Week 4:: Roleplaying Games
Monday October 23:
DUE: Game #2 Prototypes
Dungeons and Dragons Character Creation in class
HW: DnD Reading

Wednesday October 25:

Roleplaying Games Visiting Lecture David O’Grady
Play Roleplaying Game
DUE: Finished Character sheets + Dnd reading
HW: Polemical reading notes #2
HW: Game #4: Polemical Game (digital or analog)

Week 5:: Polemical Games
Monday October 30:
DUE: Game #2
Playtests

Wednesday November 1:
Polemical Game Lecture
Play polemical games in class
Halloween Candy Polemical Game

Week 6:: Polemical Games
Monday November 6:
Polemical Game Proposals (group 1)
DUE: Polemical Game Proposals (group 1)
DUE: Polemical reading notes #2

Wednesday November 8:

Polemical Game Proposals (group 2)
DUE: Polemical Game Proposals (group 2)
HW: Install Unity + Intro Tutorials

Tuesday November 7:
Angela Washko DMA Lecture (6:00pm EDA)
Thursday November 9:
Angela Washko Workshop (12:00-8:00 (TBA) Gamelab)

Week 7:: Computer Games & Unity Intro
Monday November 13:
Unity Overview + Intro to Worldbuilding/lighting
In-class worldbuilding exercise
DUE: Unity Intro Tutorials

Wednesday November 15:
Unity Programming Overview + Demo
In-class programming exercise
HW: 2D and 3D Unity Tutorials + 2D/3D assets

Tuesday November 4:
UCLA Game Art Festival(6:00pm-10:oo Hammer Museum)

Week 8:: Programming + Animation
Monday November 20:
Unity Programming Interaction Demo/Sound/collisions/triggers
In-class programming triggers and events exercise
DUE: Completed 2D/3D Tutorials with new Assets
HW: Animation Tutorials

Wednesday November 22:
3D and 2D animation Demo
Scripting/Importing animation assets demo
In-class animation exercise
DUE: Completed Animation Tutorials
HW: Animation in Unity

Week 9:: Animation + Programming
Monday November 27:
GUI / Input / builds Unity Demo
In-class GUI/input/ Export a build exercise
DUE: Completed Animation in Unity
HW: Game #3: Unity Worldbuilding

Wednesday November 29:
Game #3: Unity Games presentations
Work in class
Polemical Game individual checkins
DUE: Game #3

Week 10:: Work in class week
Monday December 4:
Work in class

Wednesday December 6:
Work in class

Week 11:: Finals
Monday Dec 11 or Wednesday Dec 13 TBA:
Present Final Projects
DUE: Final Projects

Thursday Dec 14  (TBA):
Game Playing Party
Shoot room documentation
DUE: Reading Notes #3,#4,#5(and #6)