426 Spring 2008 Class Schedule & Logistics
Version: January 17, 2008
- Guest speaker: Susan Gold
- Chairperson, IGDA Education SIG
- Susan is chair of the IGDA Education SIG and serves as an
academic consultant for GarageGames. Susan's work with the SIG has
created many new tools for instructors in game education. Her current
focus is in organizing a knowledge base and resources for educators as
well as creating curricular models for the varying academic programs. A
key focus for Susan is in developing game industry relations to help
build academic resources and recommendations in education. Susan is an
artist, teacher, and activist with a specialization in digital art, new
media and videogames. She speaks around the world on the IGDA
curriculum framework and need for collaboration learning strategies in
the classroom. Her artwork and writing have been featured in numerous
galleries and museums. As an educator, Susan has helped shape a niche
program in entertainment technology. Susan sits on the ACM SIGGRAPH
Education Committee and the IEEE WG16.3 Committee on Theoretical
Foundation of Entertainment Computing in addition to numerous
university advisory boards.
- Read this important article by Randy Pauch (at
Carnegie Mellon University) on his experience as an academic at
- July 6, 2003 Pew Internet &
American Life Report by Steve
Jones: "Let the games begin
- Gaming technology and entertainment among college
- A local copy here.
- Also Entertainment Software
Association's (ESA) latest gaming trends: here
- Class Team formation
to choose your game engine.
- Class brainstorm discussions
Game Brainstorms and introduce Game Engines.
- Illinois Institute of Art (Lindsay Grace)
- Students form a mini game company consisting of 3 students in a
- There are individual roles for each group member, you should pay
attention to these roles when you recruit your team members:
- Technical director - works with programmer and artist to
integrate game code with game art; maintains web documentation on game
progress; leads final game demonstration and ensures group dynamics run
smoothly. Usually there is a separate project manager that fulfills
this role but you are a startup company so you are expected to wear
more than one hat.
- Game developer - focuses on developing most of the code for
- Artist - focuses on creating and/or collecting media (3D
models, sound effects, music) for game elements and contributing
necessary code for enabling the use of the media- e.g. functions to
play back sounds.
- If someone in a group drops the class then the remaining 2
students will have to share the load.
- If both members of the group drop the class then the remaining
student will join another group.
- If you have a dispute in your group, try to resolve it amongst
yourselves. You are your own game company so as "employees" YOU have to
deal with these kinds of issues on your own. A useful
"management" tip - if there is a problem, bring it
early rather than later- before the problem festers. In the middle of the semester and at the
end of the semester you will fill
out a form to
evaluate your other team members. I will use this to decide how to
assign grades to each person in the team. I will know if you are not
pulling your own weight.
Brainstorm Presentations: In 5 minutes
your game concept showing the class your final storyboards. Post these
storyboards on the web. We will be using a web browser to bring each of
the storyboard pages up.
Presentations: In 10 minutes talk about why you chose the game
engine and show me it is working with the Wii controller.
Mid-semester Game Progress
Report: Give a 15
demonstration and presentation on the status of your game.
need to ensure the day before your
presentation that everything is working perfectly on the
system you are going to demonstrate on. You will NOT
be allowed to install or fiddle with your demo during your
demonstration time. For all presentations make sure that:
- You end your presentation on time. I will
kick you off if you go over time.
- You have readable slides with large
fonts and a readable color scheme.
- Your thoughts are well organized.
- The Demo Works!
FINAL Demonstration: Most of
your grade for the class hinges on this.
20 minutes per group.
- Final presentation and demo
- Game play
- The game engine and tools you used.
- How the AI and the graphical/audio effects are
- Especially highlight any capabilities that you
thought were particularly impressive. e.g. a clever AI scheme, a visual
effect, a sound effect.
- Features of the game that you put in because you
it would make the game fun.
- Concepts that you learned from the lectures that you
applied or attempted to apply to your game. For example:
- From the game programming lecture have you used a
finite state machine for your game?
- From the Game Design lecture on "What Do Players
Expect" what categories have you tried to incorporate in your game?
e.g. Players expect a consistent world.
- From the Sound and Psychoacoustics lecture, what
characteristics of sound have you tried to incorporate? e.g. Sounds set
a pace to the game.
- From the Perception lecture, what aspects of the
human perceptual system have you attempted to take into account? e.g. I
have created low detailed health bars in the corners of the screen
where your peripheral vision does not have the resolution to resolve
the detail during an intense game experience.
- Tradeoffs that you had to make in the game and what
ultimately led you to the final decision.
- How would you have approached the development of the
game if you had the chance to do it all over again.
- How has this experience affected the way you think
- Completed web site that includes:
- Gameplay design document.
- Screenshots of sketches.
- Screenshots of the actual game screens.
- Screen capture of the game in play. Use a program like
Fraps (www.fraps.com) to do the capture.
- Explanation of all design tradeoffs that you had to
make- ie what you originally envisioned vs what you accomplished.
- Explanation of the overall software design- including
structures, finite state machines, pseudo-code algorithms for the
graphics, AI, sound, main game engine.
- Explanations of how specific visual and audio effects
- Downloadable ZIP file containing an executeable that
a standalone game.
- Downloadable ZIP file containing the source code and
and music files.
- All the above in 1 giant ZIP file placed at ftp.evl.uic.edu/pub/INcoming/cs426
- Email me when the giant ZIP file is put there.
assignment turn-in policy
- None. Every class project in the last several
years have said that the number one thing they could have done better
was to manage their schedules. Groups that were able to keep to their
timelines usually got an A. Groups that didn't, were usually developing
code for several days without any sleep right up to the deadline only
to get a B, or worse, a C in the class. So whatever motivates you to
keep on time, DO IT. This something you will face in the real world
(both industry and academia), and especially in the game industry- so
better get used to it now.
- None. Final grades will be determined by what you have been
to achieve through the class and mainly the quality and quantity of
work you are able to demonstrate at the end of the semester when
compared with your peers. Basically I rank the game groups and give the
top 3 groups As, the next 3 groups Bs, and the last 4 groups Cs or
Ds. This is assuming that all your personnel evaluations show
that everyone is doing their job.
Class Web Site