teaching machines

Honors 304.503 Lecture -1 – Short course description

This class will unite the disciplines of creative writing, design, music, and computer science into the craft of game development. Students will cluster into small 4- or 5-person game development startup companies. In the fall semester these companies will design and develop some small games using Inform and the Unity game engine. They will also draft a design and construct a prototype for a larger 3-D game.

Training will be given on project management and game engine tools, but we will build extensively off the skills students bring from their home disciplines. Ideally, students will come with skills from the four discipline areas. Students with other majors are certainly welcome but they will need to work hard to contribute to the development of their games and the success of their companies. In the event that a team is lacking a skill in one of the core areas of game development, students of other majors will need to assume the missing role. The nursing student will have to train in the art of computer science, the political scientist will have to learn to compose electronic music, and so on.

In the spring semester, we will switch to a studio format for the course. Teams will work intensively together to produce a functional game by the end of the semester. We will have regular critiques and instructor-team meetings.

Grading will be based on both instructor criteria and peer evaluation. Putting together a game in a short time period is a tall order, and all team members need to be fully present and participating in both semesters.

This class is about making games, not playing them. Students are expected to be comfortable with risks, open-ended problems, imagination, and research. Students should expect all the personnel and communication issues that accompany teamwork.

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