Course:Honors 304.503 - Digital Game Development
Fall 2012 through Spring 2013
Description and objectives: In this two-semester course we will develop digital games. Student-teams will synthesize their experiences in storytelling, design, music, and technology to construct a fully-functioning digital game by year's end. The first semester will consist of weekly lectures and labs, and the second semester will take on a studio format, with dedicated time to collaborate, critique, and consult with the instructor.

Upon successfully completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Construct interactive worlds using the several game creation tools.
  • Embrace the technical and the aesthetic, two skills that must unite to develop games.
Instructor:Chris Johnson (
Office hours:M 3-4:30 PM, W 2-3:30 PM in Phillips 134
Lecture:WF 1-1:50 PM
Schneider 217
Lab:M 1-2:50 PM
Phillips 115
Exams:Final - ?
Textbook:The Art of Game Design (1st edition)
by Jesse Schell
ISBN: 978-0123694966
Grading: Your instructor is experimenting with ways to eliminate the terrible work he must grade. So, you will be guinea pigs in a slightly strange alpha-maturity grading system.

Grades are assigned based on an achievement system. You, the student, pick the grade you want and complete the necessary tasks to achieve it. The possible achievements are:

  • Dentist, who gets others to open their jaws. Requirements: Turn in 90% of quarter-sheets, from which discussions flow.
  • Literati, who drink words like water. Requirements: Read a book on something game-development related. Confine your thoughts to 1000 words in a blog post.
  • Puzzle piece, who completes a picture with their neighbors. Requirements: >= 75% satisfaction from peers.
  • Tutor, who trains up their pupils. Requirements: craft three media-rich blog tutorials on some uncovered game development topic. (See your instructor to see what's not covered!)
  • Completionist, who leaves no path untrodden. Requirements: complete the requirements of all group assignments by their deadlines.
  • Sooee, who calls things for supper. Requirements: identify and recruit a game developer to bring to campus.
  • Gamifier, who gamifies. Requirements: submit a certificate of completion of Coursera's online Gamification course.
  • Witness, who is grilled with questions and supplies answers. Requirements: Write 3 500-word responses to questions other students have posed in the Q&O Gallery.
For an A, complete at least 5 achievements. B, 4. C, 3. D, 2. F, 1 or 0.
Communication: Your instructor is finite and values focus. Please keep these points in mind when needing to communicate with him:
  • Honor your instructor's closed door. Please visit only during posted office hours. Do not drop by at other times without having scheduled a time via email at least one day before the meeting.
  • Post questions to the discussion board. Use email only when sharing personal information.
  • Your instructor does not respond to email after 5 PM or on weekends. Plan accordingly.
Good studentship: Follow these principles to maximize your learning and grade:
  • A good education requires both good teaching and good learning. It takes hard work from both instructor and student.
  • Early is better than on time.
  • Plan for homework to take longer than you think.
  • Do your own coding. Discussion of problems is allowed, but using another's code, sharing your code with others, or soliciting solutions from others will earn you a report of academic misconduct and lower your grade. You don't want to live in a world serviced by people who did such things to squeak by, so don't do them yourself.
  • Grades are calculated according to your achievement, not your circumstances.
Accommodations: Any student who has a disability and is in need of classroom accommodations, please contact the instructor and the Services for Students with Disabilities Office in Old Library 2136 at the beginning of the semester.
Easter egg: This is not an Easter egg.