semester 1, year 2
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I. interactive gameplay design

summary

year 2 > semester 1
20 credits
200 hours learning hours

to introduce students to the fundamental processes of game playing, game design and game production.
through practical and theoretical work the student will explore their own orientation towards game play and develop their ability to deconstruct, analyse and discuss, using the languages of game play analysis, their own responses to games.
from playing and analysing games they will develop their own opinions on the elements that compose a ‘good’ game and use these to devise, design, prototype and test a new game

support and guidance
tutorial support is available during the workshop sessions on a weekly basis. You can also contact tutors by email and phone at other times. Technical support is provided by course teams and through http://kcdigitalarts.com

module leader

andy bossom > andybossom@yahoo.co.uk

aims and outcomes

aims

  • to facilitate an understanding of the functional and aesthetic requirements of games in general and games in new media in particular.
  • to facilitate an understanding of the practical and commercial requirements of game production.
  • to facilitate the development of a socio-historical framework within which the student can discuss the nature of game playing
outcomes
upon completion of this module, the student will be able to:
  • demonstrate a critically reflective approach to game playing both subjectively and objectively
  • demonstrate their ability to develop games using a minimum of materials
  • present a design proposal for a game of their own invention
  • devise, design, develop prototype and test a game
  • demonstrate an understanding of the technical requirements of the production of a fully realized game.

Demonstrate an appreciation of the social and historical importance of games.

module content

Initial design work will be restricted to simple drawing materials in order to focus attention on fundamental concepts and away from the distractions of technology. After the initial designs are assessed a range of media, both new and old, will be considered as candidate platforms for prototyping and production. A range of digital games will be studied to provide insights into contemporary game playing genres and the commercial aspects of game production.

The lectures will be of two broad types considering either the practical, functional and commercial aspects of game design and production or the social, political, historical and aesthetic contexts of game playing. This balance will provide the student with both practical, vocational training and with the contextual discussion that will facilitate understanding and creativity. Throughout the module the playing of games will be arranged to demonstrate principles and technologies.

Workshops will be divided into smaller ‘working’ groups of up to 4 students. Each group will be expected to name itself and give it’s self an identity as a ‘games design co-operation’. Groups will remain the same throughout the module. Groups will engage in seminar discussion and peer feedback about games, game design, assignment submissions and all other aspects of the module.

Assignment 1 is an individual submission. Each member of the group will present a concept and treatment for a game to the other members of the group. The group will evaluate the individual game proposals to decide whether or not it is the game that their group will develop for assignment 2. The group will select one of their members game proposal for further development for assignment 2.

Students who wish to leave their group and produce an individual submission for assignment 2 should chose an aspect of their game (agreed with tutor) and develop it for assignment 2 submission or develop a ‘game art’ artefact. Guidelines for group and individual assignment 2 submissions are provided below.

use in conjunction with the  course calendar

  1. Week 1 – Introduction to the Module
    introduction to the module Assignment 1 briefing + history of conventional games
  2. Week 2 – The History of Gaming and The History of Computer Games
    history of computer games and looking at the concept of Game Art & the future of computer games.
  3. Week 3 – Designing a Game: The Game Design Document
    what is involved in designing a game and the components that make up the G.D.D – Game Design Document.
  4. Week 4 – The Future of Computer Games
    current issues in the games industry as well as where it’s heading.
  5. Week 5 – Games Development and Assignment 2 Briefing
    what’s involved in developing a game from design to prototype to release. The second assignment will also be briefed in the lecture.
  6. Week 6 – The Social and Contextual Issues of Computer Games
    relationship between society and computer games.
  7. Week 7 – Game Programming
    the role of programming in the games industry.
  8. Week 8 – workshop
  9. Week 9 – Character Design
    computer game characters.
  10. Week 10 – Arena/Level Design
    design of computer game arenas.
  11. Week 11 – Sound and Music
    computer game music and sound effects.
  12. Week 12 – Quality Assurance (Games Testing)
    the role of Quality Assurance and it’s importance.
  13. Week 13
    workshops
  14. Week 14
    presentation

learning resources

  • The Complete Guide to Game Development, Art & Design by Ste Curran, David McCarthy, Simon Byron
    (ISBN-10: 1904705480, iLex)
  • The Art of Game Characters by Dave Morris
    (ISBN-10: 1904705332, iLex)
  • 3D Game Textures: Create Professional Game Art Using Photoshop by Luke Ahern
    (ISBN-10: 0240807685, Focal Press)

learning activities

Material will be delivered via the internet/intranet, supported by a tutor who will be present at all timetabled sessions. The tutor may address the whole group, or go round helping individual students, as appropriate. You will also be encouraged to support each other. A series of exercises will be provided for you to work through, leading up to the portfolio/assignment to be submitted at the end of the module.

assignment 1

This will be discussed in week 1 and completed week 6
PRESENTATIONS IN WORKSHOPS IN WEEK 6

This will count for 40% of the module marks
Each student will give a 5 minute presentation of a concept and treatment for a new game. This will be in “multimedia” appropriate to the presentation.(HTML, Flash, Director, Sketches, printed text). Documentation material eg multimedia presentation, diagrams, text documents etc used during the presentation to be handed into academic office on CD rom.
This should:

  1. Clearly outline game concept and treatment
  2. Clearly explain rules / objectives
  3. Visually or textually describe an example scenario
  4. Provide sketches of avatars / characters / arenas
  5. Provide sketches / illustrations for graphics, cut scenes, full motion video, in-game graphic
  6. Provide a brief explaination of game AI
  7. Present ideas for music / in game sounds / sound effects

You must also submit an electronic workbook

The Electronic Workbook
The electronic workbook should record, document and reflect upon all the work you do on the module. It should include the work you do in the sessions, in your own time and your research around the area. It can include things that didn’t work and avenues you have abandoned alongside your progress to the final outcome.
A blog is an ideal vehicle to record this. if you use one blog across all modules be sure to use categories to separate the modules out.
There should be evidence of 13 hours work per week for each module (6.5 for web design skills, pixel based imaging, visual studies and multimedia scripting and authoring)

grading criteria 1

  1. Concept
    Clarity of idea, Imagination, innovation, originality, understanding of key issues of gameplay design and interaction
  2. Research & Development
    Awareness of appropriate social & historical issues in games design, appropriate titles that are precedents in games industry, awareness of relevant technological developments, feasiblity considerations, marketing issues.
  3. Presentation
    Clarity in articulating concepts, research and developments. Structure, planning and time management leading up to and within presentation.
  4. Documentation
    Clarity, quality and appropriateness of multimedia, flowcharts, diagrams, images, text, etc used in the presentation

Each criteria represents 25% of the mark for Assignment 1.
Assignment 1 is 40% of the module overall.

bandings

  • 80-100%
    The work is original and the presentation is professional in all aspects
  • 70-80%
    The presentation is outstanding in its conceptualization, and is perceptive, articulate and imaginative. It will make full use of presentation media and they will communicate intent and understanding at a high level. The presentation will be excellent. The presentation will show a complete understanding of what makes a good game. The presentation will make full use of the appropriate medium.
  • 60-69%
    The presentation will be perceptive, articulate and imaginative. You will make full use of media and they will communicate intent and understanding. The presentation will be clear and concise. The presentation will demonstrate a less thorough understanding of what is needed. Overall a successful presentation which fulfils it’s aims very well and with clarity. It is cohesive in structure and contains many of the qualities of a first but without the excitement or innovation.
  • 50-59%
    The presentation will be adequate in appearance. MultiMedia will be clear but not thorough. Overall a fairly successful presentation but there may be problems that lead to confusion in parts. The work will be conventional in nature and demonstrate adequate research.
  • 40-49%
    This presentation is online but suffers from some presentation problems, lacks structure and is often confused. It demonstrates only a limited ability to select, structure and prioritise information. It will include only some relevant material.
  • Fail – 39% or less
    This presentation fails to communicate coherently, perhaps through a mixture of lack of effort, poor organisation and inattention to detail. It shows crucial omissions in content, or meaning has disappeared in a welter of irrelevant material. Research is largely irrelevant. Presentation is virtually non-existent.

assignment 2

deadline for all work is January 22nd 2009 4pm to andy bossom

CHOICE A > group presentation of a prototype game level with functionality and a design document

This prototype should:

  1. Clearly demonstrate gameplay
  2. Clearly demonstrate rules / objectives
  3. Clearly demonstrate an example scenario
  4. Clearly demostrate player interaction with avatars / characters / arenas
  5. Demonstrate graphics, cut scenes, full motion video, in-game graphics
  6. Demonstrate basic aspects of game AI
  7. Demonstrate samples of music / interaction with in game sounds and sound effects

Each member of the group must clearly define his or her role and responsiblity in the production of the prototype and evidence this by submitting a design document that details their input into the prototype production.
The presentation will contextualise the game within the games industry.

CHOICE B > An individual presentation of your game

Your presentation should concentrate on one of the aspects outlined below.This should be developed from your assignment 1 game concept and treatment.
You may select one of the following to develop

  1. Character design, animation and interaction
    This development will demonstrate the avatar, the opponents and any other games characters. It will also demonstrate all interaction between the character and the gameplay. For example. moving, picking up objects, moving objects, fighting with other characters, player interaction.
  2. Arena Design
    This development will demonstrate include every element of the arena world. Environments, landscapes, mazes, tunnels, levels, objects. This development will demonstrate the virtual world of the game environment, how the game characters interact with it and how the player sees it.
  3. Interaction logic, AI and databasing
    This development will demonstrate the underlying structure of the game, how it is organised, what player data is cataloged, what game data is cataloged, how information is stored and retrieved. This development will demonstrate issues of single / multiplayer, highscores and other behind the scenes information systems processing.
  4. Game Graphics and Design
    This development should consider the graphics of the game, it will demonstrate the intro screens and the narrative or storyline and how these influence the players experience of the game. This will demonstrate the in-game graphics, cutscenes, FMV and other non-playable aspects of the visual gaming experience.

Presentation Details
Your presentation should also provide an outline of: Arena Design, Character Design, In Game Graphics, Sound and basic AI / Interaction design to provide context for the aspect that you are developing.

You must also submit an electronic workbook

The Electronic Workbook
The electronic workbook should record, document and reflect upon all the work you do on the module. It should include the work you do in the sessions, in your own time and your research around the area. It can include things that didn’t work and avenues you have abandoned alongside your progress to the final outcome.
A blog is an ideal vehicle to record this. if you use one blog across all modules be sure to use categories to separate the modules out.

grading criteria 2

  1. Concept
    Clarity of ideas, Imagination, innovation, originality, understanding of key issues of gameplay design and interaction
  2. Research
    Awareness of appropriate social & historical issues in games design, appropriate titles that are precedents in games industry, awareness of relevant technological developments, feasiblity considerations, marketing issues.
  3. Development
    Technological and conceptual development of game aspects relevant to choice made. For example, development in Choice B; An Individual presentation concentrating on Character Design, Animation and Interaction would assess how your character design developed from sketches to digital character to interactive functioning character, what technological innovations or developments you might have used / made.
  4. Presentation
    Clarity in articulating concepts, research and developments. Structure, planning and time management leading up to and within presentation.
  5. Documentation
    Clarity, quality and appropriateness of multimedia, flowcharts, diagrams, images, text, etc used in the presentation

Each critera represents 20% of the overall mark for Assignment 2.

Assignment 2 is 60% of the module overall.

bandings

  • 80-100%
    The work is original and the presentation is professional in all aspects
  • 70-80%
    The presentation is outstanding in its conceptualization, and is perceptive, articulate and imaginative. It will make full use of presentation media and they will communicate intent and understanding at a high level. The presentation will be excellent. The presentation will show a complete understanding of what makes a good game. The presentation will make full use of the appropriate medium.
  • 60-69%
    The presentation will be perceptive, articulate and imaginative. You will make full use of media and they will communicate intent and understanding. The presentation will be clear and concise. The presentation will demonstrate a less thorough understanding of what is needed. Overall a successful presentation which fulfils it’s aims very well and with clarity. It is cohesive in structure and contains many of the qualities of a first but without the excitement or innovation.
  • 50-59%
    The presentation will be adequate in appearance. MultiMedia will be clear but not thorough. Overall a fairly successful presentation but there may be problems that lead to confusion in parts. The work will be conventional in nature and demonstrate adequate research.
  • 40-49%
    This presentation is online but suffers from some presentation problems, lacks structure and is often confused. It demonstrates only a limited understanding of the subject

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