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COMP3218 Game Design and Development

Module Overview

Games design and development is an increasingly important and sophisticated topic, that draws together many of the core aspects of Computer Science and Software Engineering. This course introduces students to the fundamentals of game design, gives them practical experience in developing games within an industry-leading contemporary games framework, and encourages students to consider the wider possibilities of digital entertainment through non-linear narratives and innovative gaming forms. The course is designed around three game development sprints. Each sprint is three weeks long and is focused around a particular aspect of games design (game mechanics, non-linear narratives, and innovative games) and is supported by lectures and workshops. In each sprint students will work in rotating pairs to produce a prototype of a game that they then present in a games expo in the third week. Each student with thus produce three game demos (with three other students) that will be submitted for assessment.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

This module aims to introduce students to the fundamentals of game design, to give them practical experience in developing games within an industry-leading contemporary games framework, and to encourage them to consider the wider possibilities of digital entertainment through non-linear narratives and innovative gaming forms.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Level design
  • Game difficulty and adaptivity
  • Mechanics, dynamics and systems
  • Game narratives
  • Innovative game technologies
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Use agile methodologies
  • Develop rapid prototypes
  • Work in small teams
  • Participate in an expo
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Implement a game design using modern game technologies (e.g. Unity 3D)
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Create a game design using the fundamentals of game design theory

Syllabus

Game Design Fundamentals: Level Design - Construction of Choice and Obstacles - Tutorial Systems Game Challenge Theory and Design - Difficulty vs Punishment and Accessibility vs Contest - Flow (Both Immersive and Adaptive Difficulty) Systems, Dynamics, and Mechanisms - The Mechanics, Dynamics, Aesthetics (MDA) model - Core Game Dynamics - Objectives and Motivation - Game Elements and Atoms - Rule Design - Game Complexity and Difficulty Game Narrative - Basic principles of non-linear narratives - Interactive narrative and the narrative paradox - Common forms of game narrative and the Heros Journey - Narrative structures for games Research and Digital Entertainment - Innovative forms of interaction and control - Location aware narrative - Adaptive games - Procedural generation

Special Features

You will make 3 small games, which is useful for your portfolio. You need a portfolio to get a job in the games industry. Game development is challenging, so be ready to work hard.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Type: Lecture Hours per semester: 12 Group Size: Description: 2 hours per week in Weeks 1, 2, 5, 6, 9 & 10 Type: Workshops in computer room Hours per semester: 12 Group Size: Description: Two-hour workshops in Weeks 2, 3, 6, 7, 10 & 11, to support Students in the development sprints and share knowledge Type: Assessment exhibition Hours per semester: 6 Group Size: Description: 3 two-hour exhibitions where the students present the output of their 3-week sprint to their peers and the module team

TypeHours
Lecture12
Supervised time in studio/workshop18
Preparation for scheduled sessions6
Wider reading or practice41
Completion of assessment task67
Follow-up work6
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Tracy Fullerton. Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games. 

Raph Koster. Theory of Fun for Game Design. 

Online Resource.

Staff requirements. Teaching staff with experience of game design, game development, narrative theory and game-related research areas (location-aware, adaptive, state of the art HCI).

Earnest Adams. Fundamentals of Game Design. 

Software requirements. 

Game Programming Gems.

Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman. Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals. 

Brenda, Schreiber, Ian Brathwaite. Challenges for Game Designers. 

Assessment

Assessment Strategy

Assessment will be through demonstration of games at an exposition, where the examiners will ask pre-determined questions to assess whether they have met the learning outcomes of that development sprint.

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Game sprint 33%
Game sprint 33%
Game sprint 34%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework assignment(s) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Prerequisites: COMP1206 or COMP3203

Costs

Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at www.calendar.soton.ac.uk.

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