Title image January 2020

Syllabus for January 2020

Topics and Reading Assignments


The Crawford book you can find on-line. It is a little dated, but the fundamental ideas of game design haven't changed much. The other textbooks are good quality texts on game design, if you are interested in continuing in the field.

Chris Crawford, The Art of Computer Game Design

Ernest Adams, Fundamentals of Game Design, 2nd ed.

Jesse Schell, The Art of Game Design: A book of lenses

Salen and Zimmerman, Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals

Grading *

Short Assignments 10%
Presentations 20%
Class Participation 10%
Game Design and Implementation 50%
Portfolio 10%

The course is about creating a game. Along the way there will be short assignments that will help you to learn about game design. On Thursday afternoon of each week, your group will give a short presentation about your game design and implementation to the rest of the class.

Over the course of the term, you should keep examples of work you do, whether or not it ends up in the final game design. These examples will form your portfolio at the end of the term, which should be a collection of work that you can show to demonstrate your abilities. I strongly suggest you make your portfolio page an actual web page so that you can easily show it to other people in the future.

Your group presentations and your group's final game constitute the majority of your grade. Your individual portfolio, assignments, and participation constitute the remaining part of your grade.

*Game Grading Rubric

If your group creates a fully functional game with the following elements, all members of your group will earn an A-.

If your group's game meets all of the A- requirements and also satisfies at least two of the following requirements, all members of your group will receive an A.

If your group does not achieve at least the A- benchmark, then your grade will be calculated based on your personal portfolio and assignment results using the percentages above. No materials will be accepted after the last day of January Term.

Late Policy:

At the end of January term your group should have a working game, as per the grading policy above. The deadline for your game is your presentation slot on Thursday January 30th. There are no extensions to the final deadline.

Each week, your group will give a presentation on particular aspects of your game design or development. Everyone in the group needs to participate in the presentation and discuss their contribution to the project during the prior week. There are no exceptions.

The presentations for weeks 1, 2 and 4 will be on Thursday afternoon. The presentation for week 3 will be on Tuesday afternoon.

The topics for each presentation are as follows.

  1. Thursday, 9 January 2020: game concept and the roles for each group member.
  2. Thursday, 16 January 2020: main character design and controls, skeleton first level.
  3. Tuesday, 22 January 2020: game environment, overall skeleton, visual and audio elements.
  4. Thursday, 30 January 2020: final game presentation.

The short assignments will be done in class, or will be due the day after they are assigned; there will be no credit for late assignments.

Daily Topics and Readings


  • Introduction, course concept
  • Evaluation of 2D Games; Genre discussion
  • Game design exercises / PyGame tutorials
Crawford, Chapter 3
  • Elements of a game
  • Game design exercises / PyGame tutorials
  • Group development and formation
Crawford, Chapters 1-2
  • Intellectual property / Project planning
  • Game concept development
  • Presentation 1: Game Concepts and Roles
Crawford, Chapter 5

  • GIMP tutorial
  • Gameplay development (group)
  • Game rules and controls (group)
Crawford, Chapter 6
  • GarageBand tutorial
  • Gameplay development (group)
  • Presentation 2: Game Play
  • Gameplay development (group)

  • Game Development
  • Game Development
  • Game Development
  • Presentation 3: Game Art and Interface

  • Game development
  • Game completion
  • Game Play
  • Presentation 4: Game Demonstrations