Undergraduate Courses

IMGD 1000. CRITICAL STUDIES OF INTERACTIVE MEDIA AND GAMES

  • 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.

IMGD 1001. THE GAME DEVELOPMENT PROCESS

  • 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.

IMGD 1002. STORYTELLING IN INTERACTIVE MEDIA AND GAMES

  • 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.

IMGD 2000. SOCIAL ISSUES IN INTERACTIVE MEDIA AND GAMES

  • 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.

IMGD 2001. PHILOSOPHY AND ETHICS OF COMPUTER GAMES

  • Cat. II 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. This course will be offered in 2015-16, and in alternating years thereafter.

IMGD 2030. GAME AUDIO I

  • 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.

IMGD 2048. TECHNICAL ART AND CHARACTER RIGGING

  • This course will focus on making digital art functional in a video game environment. Students will learn the skills necessary to create and optimize their art assets through several creative and technical solutions that are all geared towards making high quality game art. This course will allow students to form a greater understanding of the bridge between pure art creation and interactive art implementation into a game engine. The course explores the many problems and technical restrictions one is faced with when trying to implement anything from animated characters to textures and focuses on how one can creatively apply technology to achieve high quality results. Topics covered include: creating complex character rigs, optimizing character meshes for rigging, shader creation, optimizing UV space and baking texture files and lighting. Recommended background: Basic knowledge of 3D modeling, texturing and animation (IMGD 2101 and IMGD 2201 or equivalent). Students may not receive credit for both IMGD 204X and IMGD 2048.

IMGD 205X. 3D ENVIRONMENTAL MODELING

  • The objective of this course is to teach students how to create 3D environments and props for use in digital models, games and animation. The course will examine different types of architecture used in games. The students will learn how to create interiors and exteriors for both historical and fictional environments; to design, model, texture, and render in high detail; and to import their models into game engines for testing and deployment. Topics may include the proper usage of space, scaling, set design, lighting, surface texturing, and basic camera animation. Recommended Background: Basic 3D modeling skills such as that provided by AR 1101.

IMGD 2101. 3D MODELING I

  • 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.

IMGD 220X. HUMAN FIGURE IN MOTION

  • This course offers in-depth analysis of the human figure in action. Motion will be observed through drawing and sketching of live models, video clips, performance and pantomime, studying not only the physical exterior but also how thoughts and emotion are expressed through gesture. Students will develop skill in figure posing and staging for applications in animation, storyboards, comics and illustration. Recommended background: Figure Drawing (AR 2202).

IMGD 2222. 2D ANIMATION I

  • 2D Animation I teaches students how to draw, pose, breakdown and in-between characters for 2D animation, focusing on weight, balance, timing, and movement to achieve well-structured and fluid animation. Lectures and projects are conducted to train students in the twelve classical animation principles using digital 2D media. Projects and lectures are designed to practice the fundamentals of traditional frame-by-frame and hand-drawn character animation. Recommended background: Basic knowledge of figure drawing (AR 2202) and digital art software (AR 1101) is recommended.

IMGD 2333. 3D ANIMATION I

  • 3D Animation I teaches students how to use 3D animation software to apply classical animation principles into 3D work. Lectures focus on creating organic and compelling character animation through body mechanics, weight, and dynamic posing in addition to exposing students to learning how to think about character acting and staging within a 3D environment. Recommended background: Basic knowledge digital art software (AR 1101) is recommended. Suggested background: Basic knowledge of animation (IMGD/AR 2222).

IMGD 2400. WRITING CHARACTERS FOR INTERACTIVE MEDIA & GAMES

  • Cat. II This course will present concepts and skills necessary to create compelling characters in interactive media and games. Topics covered may include the 3 dimensions of character, growth and development of the player-character and non-player characters, dialogue, character relationships and evoking emotions through rhetorical tropes. Recommended background: Previous experience in the fundamentals of writing for interactive media and games, such as that provided by IMGD 1002: Storytelling for Interactive Media and Games. Students may not receive credit for both IMGD/WR 2400 and IMGD 240X.

IMGD 2500. DESIGN OF TABLETOP STRATEGY GAMES

  • Cat. II 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 will be offered in 2016-17, and in alternating years thereafter.

IMGD 2700. DIGITAL PAINTING

  • Cat. I 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)

IMGD 2900. DIGITAL GAME DESIGN I

  • 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: Intermediate programming experience (such as from CS 2102 or CS 1004), knowledge of game studies (IMGD 1000 or equivalent) and the game development process (IMGD 1001 or equivalent).

IMGD 2905. DATA ANALYSIS FOR GAME DEVELOPMENT

  • This course will cover basic concepts of probability and data analysis as they apply to the design and analysis of interactive media and games. Students will study appropriate use of probability distributions in the design of interactive experiences, and the use of data analysis methods to understand user behavior in games and other interactive experiences. Topics will include discrete and continuous probability distributions, programming techniques to produce samples from different distributions, descriptive statistics, exploratory data analysis and using existing tools to collect and analyze data from gameplay. This course counts toward the Quantitative Science component of the university-wide Mathematics and Science Requirement for IMGD majors only. Recommended background: High school algebra

IMGD 3000. TECHNICAL GAME DEVELOPMENT I

  • 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.

IMGD 3030. GAME AUDIO II

  • 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)

IMGD 3100. NOVEL INTERFACES FOR INTERACTIVE ENVIRONMENTS

  • Cat. II 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 be offered in 2015-16, and in alternating years thereafter.

IMGD 3101. 3D MODELING II

  • 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.

IMGD 3200. INTERACTIVE ELECTRONIC ARTS

  • Cat. I 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.

IMGD 3222. 2D ANIMATION II

  • This course will build upon the techniques learned in IMGD/AR 2222. Students will learn to apply the animation principles to character animation. Students are taught how to tell a compelling, character-driven story through a focus on character acting techniques such as body language, lip syncing, facial animation, and micro expressions. Additional topics covered may include sprites for games, biped and quadruped animation, and 2D animation pipelines. Students will create animated sequences that are intended to serve a narrative structure for games and other media. Recommended background: Knowledge of digital 2D animation techniques and classical animation principles (IMGD/AR 2222).

IMGD 3333. 3D ANIMATION II

  • This course will build upon the techniques learned in IMGD/AR 2333. Students will learn to apply the animation principles with a focus on character acting and cinematic animation. Students are taught how to tell a compelling, character-driven story through a focus on acting techniques such as body language, lip syncing, facial animation, and micro expressions whilst incorporating digital cinematography techniques. Additional topics covered may include creating 3D simulations for hair and cloth, biped and quadruped animation, and 3D animation pipelines. Students will create animated sequences that are intended to serve a narrative structure for games and other media. Recommended background: Knowledge of digital 3D animation techniques and classical animation principles (IMGD/AR 2333).

IMGD 3400. WRITING NARRATIVE FOR INTERACTIVE MEDIA & GAMES

  • Cat. II This writing-intensive course covers concepts and skills necessary to write and implement narrative in interactive media and games. Topics include themes and style, different types of games and platforms, systemic storytelling, linear vs. non-linear narratives, editing, writing with purpose and audience in mind, and collaboration with other members of a development team. Recommended background: Previous experience in writing for interactive media and games, such as that provided by IMGD/WR 2400: Writing Characters for Interactive Media & Games. Students may not receive credit for both IMGD/WR 3400 and IMGD 340X.

IMGD 340X. WRITING FOR GAMES II: NARRATIVE

  • This course will present concepts and skills necessary to write and implement narrative in games. Topics covered may include theme and style, different types of games and platforms, systemic storytelling, linear vs. non-linear narratives, editing and collaboration with other members of a development team. Recommended background: Previous experience in writing for games.

IMGD 3500. ARTISTIC GAME DEVELOPMENT I

  • 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.

IMGD 3700. CONCEPT ART AND CREATIVE ILLUSTRATION

  • 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)

IMGD 3900. DIGITAL GAME DESIGN II

  • 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.

IMGD 4000. TECHNICAL GAME DEVELOPMENT II

  • 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.

IMGD 405X. ANIMATION STUDIO

  • Animation Studio is intended to teach students the creative processes involved in creating an animated production (2D, 3D or stop-motion) in the context of a collaborative studio environment. Students will have the opportunity to work on a single animated project for the entire term, gaining practical experience in all stages of the production pipeline (scripting, storyboarding, animatics, production and post-production). Recommended background: Students should possess significant prior experience in the basic techniques of animation and 3D modeling, such as that provided by IMGD/AR 2101 and IMGD/AR 3201.

IMGD 4099. SPECIAL TOPICS IN IMGD

  • Cat II (1/6 – 1/3 unit) Arranged by individual faculty with special expertise, this course explores emerging and experimental topics that are not covered by the regular IMGD offerings. Content and format varies to suit the interests and needs of the faculty and students. Specific course descriptions are disseminated by IMGD program in advance of the offering. This course may be repeated for different topic offerings. Recommended background: Varies depending on topic.

IMGD 4100. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE FOR INTERACTIVE MEDIA AND GAMES.

  • Cat. II Advanced software design and programming techniques from artificial intelligence are key contributors to the experience of modern computer games and virtual environments, either by directly controlling a non-player character or through more subtle manipulation of environment. This course will cover the current state of the art in the area, as well as prepare students for the next generation of AI contributions. We will study the application of AI techniques such as search, planning, machine learning, emotion modeling and natural language processing, to game problems such as navigations, strategy, believability and narrative control. Students will implement several small AI demonstration games. Recommended background: IMGD 4000 Students may not receive credit for both IMGD 4100 and IMGD 400X. This course will be offered in 2016-17, and in alternating years thereafter.

IMGD 4200. HISTORY AND FUTURE OF IMMERSIVE AND INTERACTIVE MEDIA

  • Cat. II 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. This course will be offered in 2015-16, and in alternating years thereafter.

IMGD 420X. GRAPHICL SIMUL OF PHYSICAL SYS

IMGD 440X. MOTION CAPTURE TECHNIQUES

  • This course will introduce students to the principles of motion capture as it applies to games, interactive media and cinema. Students will learn how to direct virtual actors, collect motion data using a variety of technologies and apply the laws of physics to datasets. Specific topics may include: Pipeline design, data reuse, efficient data optimization, methods for combining keyed and motion captured animation, and weight checking. Recommended background: Technical Art and Character Rigging (IMGD 2048), 3D Modeling II (IMGD/AR 3201) and 3D Animation II (IMGD/AR 3333).

IMGD 4500. ARTISTIC GAME DEVELOPMENT II

  • 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.

IMGD 4600. SERIOUS GAMES

  • Cat. II 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 will be offered in 2016-17, and in alternating years thereafter.

IMGD 4700. ADVANCED STORYTELLING: QUEST LOGIC AND LEVEL DESIGN

  • Cat. II 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 course will be offered in 2016-17, and in alternating years thereafter.

IMGD 4900. DIGITAL GAME DESIGN STUDIO

  • Cat. II 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) This course is offered in 2016-17, and in alternating years thereafter.

Graduate Courses

IMGD 5000. GAME DESIGN STUDIO

  • This is a "studio" course in which the instructor will guide and mentor the students on individual and/or joint projects. The focus of the course will be on the design of interactive media and games, with the students designing (and optionally implementing) one or more games or interactive experiences. There will also be readings and discussion of design theory as it relates to student projects. This course can be taken for M.S. credit twice if desired.

IMGD 5100. IMMERSIVE HUMAN-COMPUTER INTERACTION

  • Immersive environments are those which give the user the feeling of occupying a space different from their current physical space. They are created in the mind of the user by careful selection of sensory stimuli and support for natural interaction. This course focuses on the design and evaluation of user interfaces that support user immersion in several contexts, including desktop, head-mounted display, large-screen, and mobile situations. Through a combination of traditional lecture, literature review, and hands-on work, students will learn to critically evaluate different alternatives, build prototype systems, and design comparative evaluations to test the effectiveness of various techniques. Students will be expected to implement several techniques as part of this course. (Prerequisites: A demonstrated proficiency to program. A course on traditional human-computer interaction is recommended.)

IMGD 5200. HISTORY AND FUTURE OF IMMERSIVE AND INTERACTIVE MEDIA

  • 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 5200 and IMGD 4200. (Prerequisites: An understanding of dominant themes and genres in video games)

IMGD 5300. DESIGN OF INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCES

  • This course will introduce students to the theories of design, the purpose of which is to guide students in articulating a design vision that can then be implemented in an interactive experience such as a computer game or an art installation. The design elements addressed in this course are as follows: narrative, visual, sound, spatial, challenges and objectives, and characters. This course also emphasizes the communicative strategies needed to sell other people on a design in order to enter production, convince investors, and engage users. Students will be required to design an environment that is populated in a meaningful way that is dependant on the purpose of their visions. They will provide mock-ups of this environment that they must present to their stakeholders - the professor and peers - and finally create prototypes that help them sell their design idea. Throughout the class, students will be writing their designs in professional genres, presenting their designs to the class (often called a pitch), and discuss the theories and practices of design during in-class meetings. (Prerequisites: A course on game design, or equivalent work experience)

IMGD 5400. PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT FOR INTERACTIVE MEDIA

  • This course focuses on the process of creating a set of documents encompassing the design and vision of a piece of interactive media, methods for structuring the implementation of the design, and tools for successfully managing the project. Students will analyze different types of design documents, focusing on form and purpose while also considering audience and publication medium. Students will write design documents, give peer feedback, and revise their own documents based on feedback received. In order to see their design transform from document to product, students will study different project management methods and employ them, defining in detail discrete components, timelines, milestones, players and their responsibilities, and status reports to stakeholders. Tools common to managing interactive media projects (e.g., source-code revision control, asset management, scheduling) will be used throughout the process. (Prerequisites: Experience working on development projects)