Fordham, New York City's Jesuit University
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Fordham College at Lincoln Center

Department of Computer & Information Science


 Semester:  Fall, 2013
 Course Number:  CISC 2540 L01
 Course Title:  Intro to Video Game Design
 Instructor:  Dr. Robert K. Moniot
    Office LL 817-E, Phone (212) 636-6334
    Office hours: TF 1:00-2:15 pm, T 4:00-5:00 pm
    RH Office JMH 340A, Phone (718) 817-5280
    (As chair of CIS, I will often be at RH on MWR)
    Other office hours by appointment
 Class Hours:  TF 2:30-3:45 Room LL 908
 Required Text:  Fundamentals of Game Development, by Heather Maxwell Chandler & Rafael Chandler, Jones & Bartlett, 2010 (ISBN: 978-0-7637-7895-8)
    Game Maker's Apprentice, by Jacob Habgood & Mark Overmars, Springer, 2006 (ISBN: 978-1-59059-615-9)
    Recommended: Reality is Broken, by Jane McGonigal, Penguin Press, 2011 (ISBN: 978-1-5942-0285-8)

Course Outline: This course provides a gentle and fun introduction to the design and production of computer-based video games, for students with no prior programming experience. Students will learn principles of game design, and apply them to create an actual computer game. Students will also research selected aspects of games and/or the game industry, write term papers about their topics, and give presentations.

Grade will be based on:

There will be no midterm or final exam. The class is required to meet during the final exam period. This time will be used to demo students' completed game projects.

The topic for a term paper may be: a review of a commercial video game; exploration of some aspect of the social impact of a game or of some genre of games in general; or other topics of interest related to video games. The presentation topic should be the same as the topic of one of the two term papers, but no two students are to give a presentation on the same topic.

Academic integrity is very important to the mission of the university. Plagiarism or failure to properly cite sources will result in an F on the paper and may result in an F for the course. You are responsible for and expected to follow the Fordham College policy regarding matters of academic integrity.

If you believe that you have a disabling condition that may interfere with your ability to participate in the activities, coursework, or assessment of the object of this course, you may be entitled to accommodations. If so, please schedule an appointment to speak with me immediately or you may go to the Office of Disability Services (Room LL 207, x6282).

This course fulfills the EP 3 core requirement. It may be used as an elective for the Computer Science or Information Science major or minor.

Course Objectives: After completion of this course, the student will:

Schedule of Topics, Readings and Assignments:

Aug. 30-Sep. 3
What is a game? History of computer games. The game industry. Reading: Chandler, chaps. 1-2.
Sep. 6-13
Game concept. Game genres. Brainstorming. Defining a game. Characters, setting, story. Reading: Chandler, chaps. 7-8. Midterm paper proposal due Sep. 13.
Sep. 17
Intro to GameMaker. Reading: Habgood & Overmars, chap. 1.
Sep. 20-24
GameMaker tutorials. Sprites, objects, events, actions. Rooms, backgrounds, sounds. Reading: Habgood & Overmars, chap. 2.
Sep. 27-Oct. 1
GameMaker tutorials, cont'd. Working with sprites. Scores and levels. Reading: Habgood & Overmars, chap. 3. First draft of midterm paper due Sep. 27.
Oct. 4-8
GameMaker tutorials, cont'd. Game design principles. Reading: Habgood & Overmars, chap. 5. Game proposal due Oct. 4.
Oct. 11-15
GameMaker tutorials, cont'd. Parent objects and inheritance. Reading: Habgood & Overmars, chap. 6. Midterm paper due Oct. 11.
Oct. 18-22
Design teams; roles on the team. Reading: Chandler, chaps. 3-4. Presentation proposal due Oct. 22.
Oct. 25
Effective communication. Reading: Chandler, chap. 5.
Oct. 20-Nov. 1
Game production overview. Game requirements. Reading: Chandler, chaps. 6, 9.
Nov. 5
Game design: what makes a good game. Reading: McGonigal, chaps. 1-2.
Nov. 8
Game motivations. Reading: McGonigal, chaps. 3-4. Final term paper proposal due Nov. 8.
Nov. 12
Games & society. Reading: McGonigal, chaps. 5-6.
Nov. 15-Dec. 6
Student presentations (three per class meeting). Presentation previews due 1 week before presentation. First draft of final term paper due Nov. 25.
Dec. 9
(first reading day) Final term paper due Dec. 9.

Dec. 11, 1:30 pm
(Final exam day: tentative date.*) Game demos. (No final exam.) Game project due Dec. 11.
(Note that this schedule may need to be adjusted slightly as the course progresses. Any changes will be announced in class and posted on the Blackboard web site.)

*I will try to shift the game demo day to later in exam week. It will depend on whether we can find a date that avoids conflicts for all students in the class.

Robert Moniot 2013-08-26