Production

FIEA Video Game Production Courses

Semester 1

Production and Design I (DIG 5557)

  • Game Design I To provide the students with the basic building blocks, techniques, and methods of thinking that will enable them to methodologically approach game design. The class will focus on isolating various specific facets of games, designing towards those facets, and then practicing presentation skills that will allow the student to communicate ideas effectively in a professional environment. This will be a project-based experiential learning class. While learning methodologies for design, brainstorming, communication, scoping, and presentation, students will hone their creative skills through multiple targeted exercises. The final project will be a game design that will be pitched to the entire FIEA class for consideration as a real development project in a subsequent semester.
  • Technical Design I Tech Designers are implementers. Whether scripting gameplay, balancing systems, or adding interactivity to static worlds, a talented technical designer is always in demand since they combine the creativity of game designers with the coding skills of programmers. This first course in the discipline is an elective that builds a solid programming backbone in C#, using the Unity game engine. Aimed at the technically minded, but starting from ground zero, students without prior scripting experience can still succeed. Several small assignments accompany instruction covering programming fundamentals (variables, loops, conditionals) leading into objected-oriented programming. By the end of the class, students are able to contribute code on their projects and be conversant with programmers.

Production for Media (DIG 5529C; all students)

To provide a fundamental understanding of the entire game development process, from pre-production to scheduling, budgeting, production, alpha, staffing, planning, and essential documentation.  This cycle will view the development process across multiple delivery platforms.  The class will focus on giving the Game Development student the knowledge and experience to operate in a professional and realistic environment.

Rapid Prototype Production (DIG5548C; all students)

The course objective is to gain experience working in multidisciplinary teams.  Iteration is key as students master the life cycle of a project, collaborative brainstorming, how to learn new hardware/software platforms, and rapid prototyping through first-hand experience.  Over the course of the semester you will produce several game prototypes which demonstrate your creativity and production talents.  Most importantly, this course teaches you how to work in teams to achieve results far greater than the sum of the parts.  In order to further the team-building, trust, risk-taking, brainstorming, and creative collaboration goals of this course, improvisational acting techniques will also be explored in a separate lab. Project work dominates as students are divided into small inter-disciplinary teams to create several short productions.  Project groups are shuffled each round, exposing students to a broad mix of teammates.

Semester 2

Production and Design II (DIG 6558)

  • Technical Design II (All Producers Not In Level Design I) Building upon the programming foundation from Tech Design I, students add principles of software architecture and design patterns to their work. When is a function too long? Where should I prefer composition over inheritance? These kinds of software construction problems are tackled head on to foster better code reuse and flexibility. Tech Designers continue utilizing C# in Unity but advance to producing small prototypes on their own. When the course concludes, these students can work side-by-side with programmers to offer meaningful gameplay additions and revisions.
  • Level Design I (All Producers Not In Technical Design II) This course equips students with the skills of level design and editing. Both mechanics and aesthetics are stressed, including discussions of how to design for expansive open worlds. In addition to layout and flow, attention to strong narrative, backstory, and plot progression is also heavily encouraged. The primary objective is teach students how to envision a compelling world and bring it to life on their own.

Experimentation, Application, Innovation In Games-Game Lab (DIG 5856; all students)

Game Lab is the survey and development of games being used in non-traditional applications, such as medical simulation, education and research.  Each student will be required to prepare and deliver a presentation on a topic related to games being used in non-traditional applications.  Students will break into self-defined groups and create an interactive game for a non-traditional application.

Capstone Preproduction and Prototyping (DIG 6547C; all students)

The objective of this class is to show students how to progress from the prototype and plan that were made in the previous semester, into a finished product.  Classes will be entirely status updates, where students must present their progress each week, and receive feedback from faculty and other students.

This will be a project-based experiential learning class.  While learning to polish and refine their prototype concepts, students will be required to explore multiple sources for feedback, measuring the efficacy of their games, and reacting to this feedback on the fly by incorporating it into their scheduling.

Semester 3

Production and Design III – Media Distribution (DIG 6099)

  • Technical Design III Completing the series, we continue bolstering programming skills but also move beyond into other abilities Tech Designers can contribute. System design, game balance, and artificial intelligence are added since by now these students are capable of implementing these concepts on their own in code. Assignments are small game projects that stress the value of learning an additional programming language, how to implement a third party API, and working with other people’s code. At the end of this curriculum, our Technical Designers are trained to become indispensable team members capable of bringing their own ideas to life through gameplay.
  • Production III Students will grasp a thorough understanding of the game development industry from a marketing perspective, as well as develop additional tangible assets for their personal portfolios. Students will learn about marketing requirements by embarking upon the process of writing a marketing plan for their capstone projects. Students will learn basic level construction skill through lectures and creation of a personal level, as well as targeted advanced design through a game design documentation assignment.

Capstone Production (6718C; all students)

This is the second half of the capstone project (the first half was pre-production).  The objective of this class is to show students how to progress from the prototype and plan that were made in the previous semester, into a finished product.  Classes will be entirely status updates, where students must present their progress each week, and receive feedback from faculty and other students.

This will be a project-based experiential learning class.  While learning to polish and refine their prototype concepts, students will be required to explore multiple sources for feedback, measuring the efficacy of their games, and reacting to this feedback on the fly by incorporating it into their scheduling.

Semester 4

Game Design Practicum-Venture Trac (DIG 6947C; all students not on Interactive Entertainment Internship)

This class will simulate a start-up venture, whether it is a small team or a sole proprietorship. Provide an environment whereby students can learn through experimentation and feedback from peers and target market sampling. The final will include an investor business plan and product presentation. Course attendance will include lectures, presentations, workshops and reviews. Individual team meetings will be assigned with faculty and advisors.

This class will enable students to understand the many moving parts of a legal entity or business; whether the market and distribution complexities, software licensing choices, fixed assets, IP, contract and financial management. Assist students in building a discipline of continuous testing and improvement.

Interactive Entertainment Internship (DIG 6944C; all students not in Game Design Practicum)

Students can do a supervised internship in interactive entertainment industry in an approved work setting. Your actual work hours will be determined by your intern employment contract. At the conclusion of your internship, you will present a self-assessment of your work to your peers.

Summary
Production
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Production
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Full video game production courses and course descriptions. Courses include game design, level design, production management and technical production.
FIEA
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