Syllabus

DESMA 157: Game Design Workshop
Winter 2017, UCLA Design Media Arts
Monday, Wednesday 9:00am – 11:50am
Broad Art Center room 4240
Professor: Eddo Stern
TA: Eric Fanghanel

Course Description:
This course provides a foundation in game design.  The coursework develops the 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 as part of the requirements for the class. There are three(or four)  DMA sponsored lectures this quarter that overlap with our class topics: Eric Hirshberg (Activision), Mark Essen (Indie Games), Daniel Landau (Virtual Reality) and most likely a workshop with Blast Theory (Augmented Reality Games). Students in the class are required to attend and write a 1-2 page response for two of these lectures.

Grading:
Racing/Strategy Game #1 (10%), Polemical Game #2 (25%), Unity Tutorials (15%), Computer Game #3 (20%), Written Assignments x 4 (20%), 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 day they are late.

Attendance:
More than two absences without the professor’s prior permission will lower the participant’s final grade by one unit (e.g. an A will become an B). With each additional unexcused absence, the grade will drop an additional unit. Late projects will drop one letter grade, and will not be accepted if more than one week late.

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

Recommended reading:
Salen, Katie and Eric Zimmerman. Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals. MIT Press 2004
Caillois, Roger. Man Play & Games. University of Illinois Press  2001
Huizinga, Johan. “Homo Ludens: A study of the play element in culture”. Beacon 1971

 

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157 Weekly Schedule:

Schedule color key:
Magenta : something is due
Red : No Class
Blue : Class Lecture
Green : Visiting Lecture

Week 1
Racing Games
Monday: January 9
Class Introduction
Candyland-Parcheesi-Backgammon and racing game lecture
Backgammon Demo
Wednesday: January 11
Game design lecture
Play racing/strategy games
HW: Roger Caillois on the Classification of Games reading notes
Week 2
Strategy Games
Monday: January 16
MLK Day (NO CLASS)
Wednesday: January 18
Strategy game lecture
Play strategy games
DUE: Caillois reading notes #1
Week 3
Playtests
(Tues Lecture: Eric Hirshberg)
Monday: January 23
DUE: Racing/ Strategy game #1
Playtests
Wednesday: January 25
DUE: skinned and improved game
Polemical Games lecture
HW: Polemical games reading notes
HW: Polemical game project
Week 4
Polemical Games
Monday: January 30
Polemical Game Proposals (grp 1)
DUE: Polemical Game Proposals (grp 1)
DUE: Polemical reading notes #2
Wednesday: February 1
Polemical Game Proposals (grp 2)
DUE: Polemical Game Proposals (grp 2)
Week 5
Polemical Games
(Tues Lecture: Mark Essen)
Monday: February 6
Playests: Group 1
Work in class
Optiona: Laser Cutter Demo
DUE: Playtests Checkin Group 1
Wednesday: February 8
Playtests: Group 2
Work in class
DUE: Playtests Checkin Group 2
Week 6
Polemical Games | Unity Intro
Monday: February 13
DUE: Polemical Game #2
Playtests
HW: Install Unity
Wednesday: February 15
Unity Overview
Unity Programming Demo
HW: Complete Unity Tutorials (x4), Skin one project
Week 7
Unity 2D and 3D
Monday: February 20
Presidents Day (NO CLASS)
Wednesday: February 22
DUE: Completed Tutorials and Skinned Game
Importing visual assets demo
In-class worldbuilding (build on 2D or 3D project)
HW: More Unity Tutorials (x2)
Week 8
Unity Programming
(Tues Lecture: Daniel Landau)
Monday: February 27
DUE: Completed Tutorials
GUI (and Sound) Unity Demo
In-class (build on 2D or 3D project )
Wednesday: March 1
Triggers/ Exporting and Building Demo
In-class ((build on 2D or 3D project)
HW: Final Computer Game (2D or 3D)
Week 9
Unity Projects
Monday: March 6
Work in Class
Wednesday: March 8
Work in Class
Week 10
Unity Projects
Monday: March 13
Work in Class
Wednesday March 15
DUE: Final Computer Game #3
DUE: Visiting Lecturer Notes #3, #4

 

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