Course Information Undergraduate prospectus

Games Incubator

Course summary

Course code: DESI1212
Level: 6
Credits: 30
School: Architecture, Computing and Hums
Department: Creative Profess and Digital Art
Course Coordinator(s): Ryan Flynn

Specification

Aims

This course provides students with a thorough exploration of the production of video games. They will look at advanced graphical techniques, including shaders and other techniques that blend the artistic/design led area with the technical. Students will explore issues around the design and production of a video game from start to finish and as such they will work in an environment that is as close to industry as possible, by being organised into product teams and having a full management process in place to deliver a fully working game prototype (ideally published/publishable to an app store such as Google Play or the Apple App Store) by the end of the course.

The course reflects the multidisciplinary nature of the industry and, as such, is accommodating to students from a number of different backgrounds; there will be a strong art and design thematic element through the course but this will inform and support other decisions and processes, rather than being the sole focus of the course. Finally, the course will embed professional practice for small team working in the creative and technical industries (hence the name “incubator”), meaning that students will be able to draw from the course to inform their professional development in areas such as freelancing, setting up their own businesses, and collaborative and remote working.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course a student will be able to:

1 Evaluate appropriate software techniques and products for producing complex 2D and/or 3D games
2 Construct a working game prototype
3 Assess advanced tools and techniques used in specific roles within the game production process
4 Employ advanced tools and techniques in the design, development and process management of games
5 Appraise, using appropriate context, the outcome of their work
6 Demonstrate the origins of their ideas by referencing sources used in their work

Indicative content

This course will cover a range of subject areas, including but not limited to:
Advanced topics in the graphical construction of digital games (e.g. shaders, mapping techniques);
Graphics APIs & SDKs;
3D Engine creation and theory;
Level design and development using industry standard tools;
Design and development of re-usable game assets and templates;
3D game development using custom built tools and engines;
Implications of historical, current and emerging issues in the development of digital games such as legal, political, social and ethical issues surrounding games content; graphical content and complexity; always-on play; cost of entry and exclusion of the real world for the virtual.

Teaching and learning activity

This course is to be delivered via several complementary activities: lectures, tutorials, masterclasses, seminars, practical work and directed unsupervised learning. The rationale for this mix of activities is to give the students an interesting and varied learning experience combining theory and analysis backed up by practical development where appropriate. Students will be supported in this approach in a number of different ways. The key idea is to make the experience as close as possible to industry working practice.

Alongside the formal contact hours students will have extra resource in the form of electronic recording of teaching materials (such as some lectures), podcasts of important exercises, regular additional help sessions (LABS+) and feedback and support from the teaching team over a range of communication routes (including but not limited to Twitter, eMail, Skype, Phone and IM).

Assessment

Methods of SUMMATIVE Assessment: Coursework 1
Outcome(s) assessed by summative assessment (Please use the numbers above to refer to these): 1, 3, 6
Grading Mode: Numeric
Weighting: 20%
Pass Mark: 40%
Word Length: 2-3000
Outline Details: A research and evaluative essay on tools and techniques required for working in a specific role within a games production team, leading on to an Individual Learning Plan that outlines the student’s specialist field

Methods of SUMMATIVE Assessment: Coursework 2
Outcome(s) assessed by summative assessment (Please use the numbers above to refer to these): 2, 4, 5, 6
Grading Mode: Numeric
Weighting: 80%
Pass Mark: 40%
Outline Details: Creation of a game using the Individual Learning Plan as a means of assessment.

Nature of FORMATIVE assessment supporting student learning: There will be regular crit sessions; Term 1 will be individual based and Term 2 group based due to the nature of the work.