Interactive Media & Game Development
Character rigging and technical animation are very important and complex steps in the video game production pipeline. This course will focus on making production art functional in a video game environment. Students will learn the skills necessary to make their characters animatable and will obtain a thorough understanding of the different tasks that are associated with technical animation. In addition to contributing to the student?s base of artistic and technical knowledge, this course will provide students with the knowledge necessary to create art that will function in a video game environment. Topics covered include: creating complex character rigs, working with motion capture files, the generation of sprite-based animation and effects, and the implementation of particle effects for use in a game engine. Recommended background: IMGD/AR 2101 3D Modeling I, IMGD/AR 2201 The Art of Animation I
This course will introduce students to techniques and processes for the creation of real-time, interactive works of art. Students will learn to use electronic sensors and other tools for audio and video processing, as well as designing customized software interfaces to create interactive artworks that respond to users and their environment. The course will introduce students to the work of significant contemporary arts practitioners as well as their historical precedents, with a special emphasis on inter-media works that bridge visual art, music composition, and the performing arts. Topics may include electronic musical instruments and performance interfaces, VJing, electronically-augmented dance, controller hacking, wired clothing, networked collaboration and mobile media, and algorithmic and generative art. Recommended Background: AR 1101 (DIGITAL IMAGING AND COMPUTER ART), video production (IMGD 2005 MACHINIMA: FILM MAKING IN VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENTS), digital audio/music (MU 3611 COMPUTER TECHNIQUES IN MUSIC, MU 3612 COMPUTERS AND SYNTHESIZERS IN MUSIC, MU 3613 DIGITAL SOUND DESIGN, IMGD 203x INTRO TO GAME AUDIO), an introductory programming course (CS 1101 INTRO TO PROGRAM DESIGN, CS 1102 ACCELERATED INTRO TO PROGRAM DESIGN)
This team-oriented, project-based course will provide opportunities for students to deepen their experience and understanding of digital game design concepts through a combination of practical implementation, playtesting, in-class game critique and assigned readings. Students will prepare design treatments, develop hands-on expertise with one or more game engines, and keep a weekly journal of their reading and design experiences. A final project will test their creativity and demonstrate their practical mastery of game engine technology. Recommended background: IMGD 1000, Critical Studies of Interactive Media and Games IMGD 1001, The Game Development Process IMGD 202X, Digital Game Design
This course will establish crucial theory and skills needed to design state-of-the art digital audio for various applications in games, machinima, cinematics, podcasting, handheld devices, and more. Students will work individually and as teams to create, process, and deliver custom digital audio content for use in their assignments and projects, learning industry best practices. Topics include a review of analog and digital audio theory; audio file formats; recording principles; and more advanced postproduction skills in multi-track editing, mixing, dynamics, effects processing, and spatialization. Lab exercises include practical recording sessions (dialogue, field work, sound effects creation); loop-based music production; building and maintaining a custom sound effects library; multi-track postproduction; audio pipelines; and implementation using an interactive engine. Recommended background: IMGD 203X, Intro to Game Audio
This course will build upon the skills learned in AR/IMGD 2201 with studies in life drawing/anatomy study and application towards completed character models. Students create high resolution sculpts for real time game environments and animation. Topics covered include character design as it applies to 3D modeling, creating realistic design sculpts and incorporating them into a game environment as well as the study of anatomy as it applies to organic modeling. Recommended Background: AR/IMGD 2101, AR 2202 (Figure Drawing)
This course builds upon the techniques learned in IMGD 2201/AR 2201 (The Art of Animation). Students animate a character and put it in an interactive game environment using existing models. Topics covered include animation principals such as timing, squash and stretch, animation pipelines and applying animation to a real time game setting. Recommended Background: IMGD 2005 and IMGD 2201/AR 2201
Cat. I This course introduces non-technical studies of computer-based interactive media and games. The course develops a vocabulary for discussing games and other interactive media, and tools for analyzing them. Students are expected to provide written critiques using the critical approaches presented in the course. The games and other interactive media critiqued may be commercially available or under development.
Cat. I 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.
Cat. I This course explores different types of story within gaming and other interactive media. It delineates between linear, branching, and emergent storytelling, identifies hybrids, and finds new modes of making compelling narrative. A variety of games are discussed, including early text-based adventures, role-playing games, shooters, and strategy games. Students will construct characters situations, and narratives through game play and scripted cut scenes. Students will explore and use visual storytelling techniques.
Cat. I This course provides students with a realistic assessment of the potential and problems related to interactive media and games, especially computer games, and their effects on society. Topics include individual and group behavior, diversity, human responsibility, ethical and legal issues, and intellectual property. The course examines the issues from various points of view, and discover the political, social, and economic agendas of the people or groups championing those points of view. Students will write papers, participate in discussions, and research related topics. Recommended background: IMGD 1000.
This course introduces students to some of the political and ethical dimensions of the new entertainment modalities. Students will explore such issues as representation and power (e.g., gaming and disability, and race stereotyping in games), the phenomenology of virtual reality, capitalism and the commodification of leisure, gender and sexual violence, and cyberspace and democracy. Students will also develop critical tools for evaluating the ethical and social content of their own and others? games. In addition to writing several analytical papers on the critical theory of technology, students will be encouraged to work on game designs exploring philosophical or social themes. Recommended background: IMGD 1000.
Cat. I This course will address the cinemagraphic and narrative techniques involved with film making using video-game technology. Creation and development of characters, environments, and narrative structures will be explored. Using commercial game engines and audio/video editors, students will write, design, and produce complete animated movies. Industrial and artistic applications of this film making technique are discussed as well as how Machinima is contextualized in the history of film animation and visualization. Recommended background: IMGD 1002.
This course serves as an introduction to game audio, where the basics of audio theory and production are discussed along with practical applications for use in game development. Topics may include music, sound effects, dialogue, soundscape design, digital signal processing, basic audio engine principles, and the aesthetic vs. technical considerations in game audio production. Lab exercises may include an introduction to audio editing and mixing, dynamics and effects processing, creating and timing sound effects to character animations, mixing for cinematics, and audio integration using a 3D engine. Recommended background: IMGD 1000 and IMGD 1001. This course assumes no prior knowledge of audio production.
Cat. I 3D modeling is concerned with how to render created forms in a virtual environment. This course covers 3D modeling applications in video game development, film production, product design and fine art. Topics may include creating and armature, modeling organic and hard surfaces and sculpting using traditional techniques applied to a 3D model. Students will create works suitable for presentation in professional quality portfolio. Recommended background: AR 1100 and AR 1101.
Cat. I This course examines the fundamentals of computer generated 2D and 3D modeling and animation as they apply to creating believable characters and environments. Students will learn skeletal animation and traditional polygonal animation, giving weight and personality to characters through movement, environmental lighting, and changing mood and emotion. Students will be expected to master the tools of 3D modeling and skinning, and scripting of behaviors. Recommended background: AR 1101.
The objective of the course is to teach students how to design board strategy games. The design principles are transferable to other types of games, such as computer games. Game quality issues such as rules unambiguity, depth, complexity, branching width, balance, and historical content are examined. Basic elements and types of game rules, such as map gridding, restricted play choices, resource limitations, and depths of game economics are discussed. Central to the course is the game design project: students design, playtest, and develop their own game. One two-hour laboratory a week covers play, and playtesting, and supports the game design project. Recommended background: IMGD 1000 .
This course covers painting techniques as applied to texturing a 3D asset or illustration/conceptual art. Topics include are color theory, study of form, lighting, applying traditional painting ideas to the digital format, character design, generation of ideas and a history of digital painting. Each class features a demonstration on the topic followed by individual critique and study. Students work towards a final project that may be suitable for an Art portfolio. Recommended Background: AR 1101 (Digital imaging and Computer Art); AR 2202 (Figure Drawing)
Cat. I Software engineering and art production are the means of digital game development, but the end is an experience. Game design is the process of creating, describing, implementing and iteratively refining that experience. This team-oriented, project-based course provides opportunities for students to develop hands-on expertise with digital game design through a combination of practical implementation, in-class critique and playtesting. A focus of the course is the functional expression of design through the use of game engine scripting. Students keep a weekly journal of their design experiences. A final exam tests their knowledge of design concepts and terminology. Recommended Background: IMGD 1000, IMGD 1001
Cat. I This course teaches technical Computer Science aspects of game development, with the focus of the course on low-level programming of computer games. Topics include 2D and 3D game engines, simulation-type games, analog and digital controllers and other forms of tertiary input. Students will implement games or parts of games, including exploration of graphics, sound, and music as it affects game implementation. Recommended background: CS 2303.
Game Audio II serves as an intermediate level audio design course, where digital recording principles and techniques are studied along with their practical applications for use in game development. Students will also gain deeper insight into 2-D vs. 3-D audio propagation, as well as learn more complex techniques in digital editing, mixing, signal processing, mastering, and playback strategies. Lab exercises may include interactive dialogue scripting and recording; loop-based music production; custom sound effects creation and Foley design; and audio engine integration. A team project will be the creation of a comprehensive game sound effects library over the course of the term. Recommended background: Game Audio (IMGD 2030)
This course focuses on the design and evaluation of novel user interfaces that provide greater input and output expressiveness than the keyboard, mouse, or game pad. The course covers the related applications of immersive gaming, teleoperated robotics, and mobile users. Input sensors, such as those providing motion, attitude, and pressure data, are used to explore novel input methods, and how they may be effectively used to design innovative experiences. Through a combination of lecture and hands-on work, students learn to build prototype systems and to critically evaluate different alternatives. Students are expected to program several alternative input/output systems as part of this course. Recommended Background: IMGD 1001, and either CS 2301 or CS 2303 .
This course will build upon the skills learned in 3D MODELING with studies in life drawing/anatomy study and application towards completed character models. Students will create high resolution sculpts for real time game environments and animation. Topics covered will be character design as it applies to 3D MODELING, creating realistic design sculpts and incorporating them into a game environment as well as the study of anatomy as it applies to organic modeling. Recommended Background: AR 1101, IMGD/AR 2101, AR 2202.
This course introduces students to techniques and processes for the creation of real-time, interactive works of art. Students learn to use electronic sensors and other tools for audio, graphics, and video processing, as well as design customized software interfaces to create interactive artworks that respond to users and their environment. The course also introduces students to the work of significant contemporary arts practitioners as well as their historical precedents, with a special emphasis on inter-media works that bridge visual art, music composition, and the performing arts. Topics may include electronic musical instruments and performance interfaces, computer vision, VJing, electronically-augmented dance, controller hacking, wired clothing, networked collaboration and mobile media, and algorithmic and generative art. Recommended Background: Animation (AR/IMGD 2101 or equivalent), and exposure to digital audio or music and introductory programming.
This course will build upon the techniques learned in IMGD 2201/AR 2201. Students will learn advanced animation techniques applied to lip syncing, facial movement, emotion communication, and body language. Topics covered may include character rigging, biped and quadruped animation, and animation pipelines. Students will create animated scenes for narrative video and/or real time game environments. Recommended Background: AR/IMGD 2201, AR/IMGD 2202. Suggested additional background: IMGD 2005.
Cat. I This course focuses on the unique problems presented to the artist when working in game development. Students learn to work with 2D sprite-based art, including tiling and simple animation. They then explore 3D architecture, level design, texturing, and environmental animation. Students will use art to create compelling game experiences through environments by designing their own levels in both 2D and 3D games. Recommended background: IMGD/AR 2101 and IMGD/AR 2201.
This course covers drawing as it applies to concept art and illustration. The course begins with study of a human model and representational drawing. Following this, students work on drawing from the mind and applying the lessons learned from the figure drawing to creating concept art and illustration. Topics covered are shape recognition and recalling, inventing from the mind, creative starters, study of form and light, visual composition and developing a personal approach, working with individual strengths to create a compelling visual design. Students create a series of concept art exercises and apply these skills towards a personal project of their own. Recommended Background: AR 2202 (Figure Drawing); IMGD/AR 2700 (Digital Painting)
This project-based course will provide an opportunity for students to deepen their understanding of how digital games are conceived and realized through a combination of reflective design, practical implementation, playtesting and critique. Topics will include project scoping and documentation, game scripting, strategic instrumentation and analytics. A final project and presentation will demonstrate practical mastery of game design techniques. Recommended background: Students are expected to have knowledge of basic game design principles and practical experience with event-driven game scripting, at a proficiency level equivalent to completing IMGD 2900, Digital Game Design I.
Cat. I This course focuses on the application of advanced Computer Science topics as they impact game development. Networking and distributed systems issues are addressed, including scalability and latency compensation techniques, for designing games for online multi-player environments. AI, graphics and physics techniques specific to game development are discussed. Students will implement games or parts of games that apply advanced Computer Science topics. Recommended background: IMGD 3000.
Algorithms and programming techniques from artificial intelligence (AI) are key contributors to the experience of modern computer games and interactive media, either by directly controlling a non-player character (NPC) or through more subtle manipulation of the environment. This course will focus on the practical AI programming techniques currently used in computer games for NPC navigation and decision-making, along with the design issues that arise when AI is applied in computer games, such as believability and real-time performance. The course will also briefly discuss future directions in applying AI to games and media. Students will be expected to complete significant software development projects using the studied techniques. Recommended background: object-oriented design concepts (CS 2102), algorithms (CS 2223), and knowledge of technical game development (IMGD 3000).
This course will familiarize students with the history of the development, deployment, commercialization, and evolution of immersive and active media. The lesson plan will cover a broad range of enabling technologies, such as geometric perspective drawing, pre-20th-century panoramic displays, photography and the stereoscope, sound recording and reproduction, motion pictures, radio and television, the planetarium, immersive and 3-dimensional cinema, and special attraction venues, with a particular focus on digital games. Current trends and future directions will also be considered. Students will attend seminars and lectures, read and discuss texts on media history and aesthetics, and write an original research paper. Midterm and final exams test students? knowledge and understanding of important events and developments. A student may not receive credit for both IMGD 4200 and IMGD 5200. Recommended background: IMGD 1000, EN 2211 and either IMGD 2000 or IMGD 2001. Students may not receive credit for both IMGD 4200 and IMGD 402X.
Cat. I This course focuses on the integration and organization of the various artistic elements used in game development. The course examines user interaction, interface design, and existing paradigms in current games. Students will combine elements of level design, animation, music, sound, and writing to create an aesthetically appealing game. Recommended background: IMGD 1002, IMGD 3500, MU 1611.
This course explores the application of the technologies and design principles of interactive media and game development beyond traditional entertainment. The purpose of such applications is typically to change people?s behaviors, knowledge and/or attitudes in diverse areas including health care, training, education, simulation, politics, marketing and art. Students read about, experiment with, compare and discuss examples, as well as the underlying philosophies and issues specific to this genre, such as domain analysis and rigorous evaluation. Students in groups also research a new application and produce a detailed design document and mock-up. Advanced programming skill is not required, but a background in game design is strongly recommended. Recommended background: IMGD 1001 and either IMGD 2000 or IMGD 2001. Students may not receive credit for both IMGD 4600 and IMGD 404X.
This course provides an in-depth examination of storytelling as it is currently done in 2D and 3D games through a study of quests and construction of gaming spaces. Level designers turn stories into games through building virtual spaces and populating them with non-player characters who have their own objectives. Cinematics are used to extend the narrative space. The course requires students to build multiple virtual spaces that have a history and a population with present needs. Students need to work out plotting through the logic of a quest, build several areas that supports that logic and create cinematics to extend their narrative space. Recommended background: IMGD 1002, or equivalent knowledge. Students may not receive credit for both IMGD 4700 and IMGD 403X.
This studio course will provide students an opportunity to collaborate on the creation of an original game project, with an emphasis on the importance of scoping and a thorough, well-documented design. Students will form project teams, create a team Web site, and design, implement and test their project using industry-standard tools and methods. Recommended background: IMGD 2900 (Digital Game Design I) Suggested background: IMGD 3000 (Technical Game Development I) or IMGD 3500 (Artistic Game Development I)