Course Description --- Intro to CS: Game Design
This is class been purposefully designed to be open and fully accessible to all students. No computer science background or experience is needed, whatsoever. In fact, it is my express desire to get a good mix of students from all disciplines in order to get numerous perspectives in the many disciplines that go into computer game design (i.e. not just computer science, but also art, writing, drama, business, philosophy, physics, engineering, etc.).
Since the dawn of digital computers, people have been using computers as a means for playing games. Some engineers and physicists recognized early on that the computing capabilities of computers were not limited to expediting mathematical computations and scientific research, but could also be used to challenge the human mind. While the early puzzles and reasoning games they developed were regarded as the frivolous pursuits of eccentric scientists, over the last 50 years these "eccentric scientists" have embraced any available means in their pursuit of ever newer, more popular, challenging, realistic, novel, etc., computer games. The result is a multi-billion dollar a year industry that recently achieved the highest grossing sales in a 24-hour period from a single entertainment event (i.e. the release of Grand Theft Auto IV).
Goals and Structure of the Course:
The computer game industry, in it's constant race to achieve the newest, best game, has become an immensely multi-disciplinary field. Computer game design and development spans a multitude of industries, including not only computer science, but also art, writing, drama, business, philosophy, history, physics, computer engineering, and a host of others.
First and foremost, I am targeting the students having FUN while learning more about computer games and game design and development. A number of the homeworks will even (in one fashion or another) require students to play computer games. I also hope to encourage game swapping among students so that they can try other games or game genres that they may not have tried before.
The class will be divided into two parts (which will be inter-mixed). The first will focus on an introduction to the computer gaming industry, including the history, game genres and markets, player motivation, principles of game design, and the full game development process.
The second part of the course will involve the design and implementation of computer games. Implementation of computer games will be done using a popular computer gaming engine (Torque or GameMaker). Students will initially learn by examples following the implementation steps for demo games, and then develop their own games as a final project in the course.