Game Design


 Term 1 Course Description



T 1 Cinematics

This course explores the importance of Cinematics in games. Throughout the course, students will learn the essentials in camera directions, editing, sound design and the creative art of Machinima. They will storyboard and learn the basics of storytelling and lighting. Through introducing major characters, pivotal plot points, intros, conclusions and anticipation of upcoming action in a game; students will fully understand what works best in Cinematics.


T1 Game Art 1

Art skills are required for building great game experiences. From Minecraft to Battlefield 3, art brings game concepts to life!In Game Art 1, students will explore the fundamentals of 2D and 3D asset creation in Maya and Photoshop, the dominant industry standard software. Students will learn best practices and time saving techniques they can apply in their own games. They will also learn and apply fundamental principles behind all 2D image and 3D polygon graphics, regardless of platform, game engine, or creative software.By the end of Game Art 1, students will be comfortable with the core Photoshop and Maya toolsets used in game art creation, and will have made several game-ready assets, giving a strong overview of the game art creative process. Game Art 1 will significantly enhance the quality of students’ game art projects and portfolios.


T1 Game Production

Interactive entertainment software is one of the more intense and creative forms of software development. This course covers the fundamental concepts and processes involved with the various stages of creating high quality entertainment software titles. The course will consist of presentations followed by discussion, and in-class exercises.


T1 Game Theory Analog

This course will delve into the myriad of issues governing the design of analog and digital game experiences. Students will initially examine a history of analog gameplay and trace the development of complex systems that have their origins in simple puzzles. From this point, students will be exposed to the fundamentals of interaction design before considering how gameplay principles have been applied to the modern video game. Finally, the course will conclude with discussion of advanced game theory concepts – such as Van Neumann’s minimax theory – and an exploration of hybrid game experiences.Game Theory Practical follows the flow of the Lecture class with analog practices of the concepts learned. Each class gives students the chance to play a different board game, relate the theory learned to the principles, mechanics, and experiences yielded from the game. Based on theories discussed in class, the students will be given the opportunity to alter the rules of games to achieve certain design goals. Time will also be spent play-testing the student created analog games designed throughout the term, allowing them to see what problems may occur and tweak their game rules to adapt to their findings before final presentation.


T1 Level Design 1

Level Design is where “the rubber meets the road” in Game Design. It’s where gameplay, art, audio, code and narrative all come together to create the player’s experience. In this course students will learn not only the basics of Level Design Theory, but also what it means to be a Level Designer in the games industry today.Students will learn how Level Design Theory can apply to many different genres of games. To be able to recognize the tricks and tools in a Level Designer’s arsenal to better shape an exciting game-play experience, no matter what the game. Students will learn about the development cycle, production tools, and the many documents level designers use. Students will create an array of layout plans for their own levels, as well as pitches and level design documents.


T1 Pre-Production Techniques

This course will introduce students to the Pre-Production Process in Games development. The Pre-Production Process is one of the most vital steps in the creation of new intellectual property. Whether in film, television, or videogames, this process is the visionary step that will maps out the building blocks of a future project. Throughout the duration of this course, students will learn how to utilize the fundamental tools necessary for brainstorming, rapid visualization, and creative design as it applies to the games industry. Students will be exposed to a high-paced process that borrows from many different disciplines. Students will also be invited to create beyond these boundaries, using any previsualization tool with which they are comfortable. As the preproduction process requires multiple disciplines, students will learn to communicate and delegate within a creative team structure that invites individual strengths to contribute to a greater goal. The course will consist of hands-on demonstrations, lectures, in-class exercises and out-of-class assignments, with three major assignments as their guide.


T1 Programming

An integrated programming language as part of a game development environment is an essential tool for many aspects of game design. Prototyping, tuning, game logic and decision making are all more efficient when the language used is accessible to designers, producers, artists - the non-technical members of a game team.The course begins with the fundamentals of basic programming, and progresses to define and solve various game related problems such as keeping track of player statistics, defining game rules, loops, functions, object orientated programming, and much more.The course format will consist of in-class demonstrations and exercises followed up with out of class assignments.


T1 Role-Playing Lab

Dungeons & Dragons, while being a controversial piece of gaming history, is also revered as one of the most versatile and influential game/player interaction systems ever created. Role-Playing Lab grants students time to play and design games within this interactive storytelling system, exposing them to a uniquely immersive game infrastructure. Through this experimentation, students will experience how the quality of player experience is manipulated via moderate application of non-linear narratives, pacing, character development, and conventional storytelling – all of which are notoriously challenging components of video game design.The course is arranged in such a fashion that the students will experience the rules progressively. They will start playing right away and begin with the basics of character creation, coming across a new set of mechanics in every class.
Through a session-based levelling-up mechanic, students will evaluate and discuss the balance between the different classes and abilities, the value of alternatives and variation in events and encounters. They will also identify the importance of meaningful usage of skills and the impact of player rewards.


T1 Storytelling

Focusing on classic story design used in contemporary media, this course will examine how the mythological motifs of the past are used in the creation of compelling stories for today’s audiences. Through a series of lectures and practical exercises that will bring other mediums into the world of game design, students will be exposed to the writings of, among others, Joseph Campbell, Robert McKee, and Christopher Vogler. Assignments will focus on adapting these classic principles into game-based storytelling.



Term 2 Course Description



T2 Critical Analysis

The ability to critically analyze one’s work or the work of one’s peers and competitors is one of the most important skills a designer can have. Whether internal studio work or the competition, the designer is often tasked with effectively analyzing and communicating to the development team. Game analysis is one of the most powerful tools a designer has – with it, the designer can build a library of inspiration and ideas to draw upon for the development of new games.In this class, students will be given the tools and knowledge necessary to identify and analyze the complex systems involved in games, and to assess whether those systems have been successfully applied to the game as a whole. Students will look at game analysis in many forms, breaking games down into key components and distilling them for use in future projects. Careful attention will be paid to how individual game elements combine to create a cohesive player experience.


T2 Game Art 2

 With the success of games like Angry bird, Tiny Towers and Cut the rope, sprite based games are as popular as their 3D counterparts and the driving force behind games on the current mobile devices. In Game Art 2 we take a deeper look into the tools and techniques used to create sprites, how to animate them and how to incorporate them into the growing field of 2.5D games. We also continue our work into creating game ready 3D models, creating efficient UV mapping co-ordinates, while using Photoshop to create detailed colour, specular, ambient and normal texture maps that we can apply to these models. We conclude this course with a final project that test the students’ abilities to work under industry conditions whilst utilizing the tools and techniques they have learnt in this course.


T2 Game Theory Digital

Digital Game Theory will introduce the students to the history and principals of video games. They will examine the types of people who play games, and analyze, in detail, games from each of the genres. Understanding these aspects of videogames will allow students to analyze the positives and negatives of existing games, and use those as a guide for their game design decisions.The course will include lectures, concept assignments,hands-on game play, additional research, and a presentation.The practical portion of the course will consist of workshop time, where the students will focus in and play games, followed by discussions on the topics of the specific class in relation to those games played, then finish with a second workshop that will hone the knowledge gained to the personal creations of the students.


T2 Game Mechanics

Game Mechanics are the building blocks that make up game-play. Understanding these elements and being able to design them effectively is the primary task of the game designer. In class we will be looking at the various aspects of game mechanics; what they are, how they can be formed, how they interact with each other, and various topics relating to the application of game mechanics.The students will take part in many in class discussions and hands on assignments in order to solidify an understanding and explore the possibilities of game mechanics. Students will also be expected to complete several take home assignments which will be presented and discussed in class.


T2 Level Design 2

As in level design 1, students will learn the common procedures for building a good level for their games. Students will cover creating paper designs of levels, and how to translate those ideas into objects and architecture. By the end of the term students will have an understanding of how to create interactive environments for their video games and more importantly how to make their levels fun. Students will continue working from a popular game engine to create unique levels of their own. This course may tie directly to the Industry project, which is a centerpiece of the student’s portfolio.


T2 Team Management

The success of any game is not just dependant on strong publishing and great design; it takes a team of experts across multiple disciplines with extremely varied backgrounds. This course provides programmers with an understanding of how these teams come together and what keeps them performing at the level necessary to build A titles. It also covers the key leadership skills fundamental to facilitating a high performing team.


T2 Unity 1

In Unity 1, students are introduced to the Unity game engine. Students will apply and expand their C# programming skills by creating scripts that control objects inside of a game engine, resulting in a small playable game demo with graphics.The course format continues with in-class demonstrations and exercises and out of class assignments.


T2 2D Gaming Project

Create an original 2D game in a team-based environment. Explore the Unity game engine’s 2D features and techniques that will empower you to realize your vision. Gain valuable game development experience through overcoming team conflicts, meeting milestones and submitting major deliverables. You will define your own role on the team by taking ownership of various aspects of game production, i.e. programming, art, audio engineering and project management. The course concludes with a final presentation of your game to the entire Game Design student body and staff.



Term 3 Course Description


T3 3D Modeling 1

This introductory course focuses on the modeling and texturing skills required to build simple environments and hard surfaces. Using MAYA students begin by modelling simple objects. After practicing these techniques they move on to design and build an environment. Z brush Maya & Photoshop efficient workflow will be introduced to further detail models and textures. Students will be assessed on a continuous basis in class and on a completed final assignment. The lessons will consist of demonstrations followed hands-on workshop sessions. This course provides the foundation for 3D Modelling 2 that follow in future terms.



T3 Creative Writing

This course builds on the foundation established in “storytelling” and continues to provide emerging game designers with the tools to understand the various dynamics that interact within a story such as characters, theme, setting and point of view. Understanding structure and the core elements of storytelling is essential to developing your skills as a game designer. Through lectures, exercises, film and game clips, you will learn to create believable stories and complex characters. In addition, this course explores the various genre styles within linear and non-linear storytelling.


T3 Detailed Design(Documents)

Detailed Design Docs will take the students design document skills started in “Game Theory (Digital), and expand on them with a course mostly focused on document creation and editing. The students will start by creating an assortment of concept documents, and selecting one concept to apply to a detailed design document for the duration of the course. Class time will start with an overview of specific design mechanics and document areas, the remainder of the class time will be spent with mentored documentation time creating a concepts and detailed design docs. The created design documents will form the foundation for the Industry projects the following term.


T3 Environment & Lighting

In this seven session course, students will be introduced to the most fundamental elements of lighting and will learn to apply these crucial lighting principles into students' game projects. With a strong focus on the artistic and technical aspects of game lighting, plus hands-on lighting techniques practiced in each class; this course will significantly enhance the quality of students’ game art project/portfolio.


T3 Game Interface Design

This course examines the evolution of game interfaces and develops a vocabulary for discussing them. Students explore a variety of popular industry tools used for developing game front-ends. The course concludes with a practical exercise to create fully featured interface screens using a pre-defined design process.A number of practical issues, techniques, and skills will be presented and applied, including idea generation, Photoshop tips and tricks, game interface analysis, graphic design principles and application, industry professionalism, real-world constraints, graphics output for Unreal and Unity. Students will design and prepare art for their own Game Interfaces and will be involved in classroom critiques and discussions. The homework is directly related to the course-long assignment and also ties into the Game Design Document and Technical Design Document assignments. It is required that students stay on schedule with their projects.The format of the class will be a combination of lectures, in-class discussions, exercises, and project/lab time.


T3 Level Design 3

As in Level Design 2, students will learn the procedures for planning and constructing levels for games. Students will learn tools and practice using these tools in an engine to create interesting gameplay scenarios. Analysis of team dynamics and individual player goals will also help students construct meaningful choices in gameplay.By the end of the term, students will be able to systematically deconstruct gameplay within their levels to improve their designs.


T3 Mission Design

Mission Design includes a subset of Level Design, there are certain tools available to one that aren’t available to the other. This course will focus on all things Mission Design and how to get the most out of your missions. Students will learn the development cycle for modern Mission Design and what it means to be a Mission Designer in the games industry.Students will design a series of interconnecting missions set in a world of their own design. They will consider pacing, variation, and player agency to better shape an exciting game-play experience.Students will learn about the development cycle involved in mission design including detailed mission design
documentation. Developing an idea from the concept phase through to detailed documentation and mapping, including beat charts, reward structures and combat encounters.


T3 Mobile & Social Design

Mobile and handheld gaming, the incorporation of social networking, and connectivity are areas showing the most activity in the game industry today. It is therefore vital that game designers understand the platforms, technologies and opportunities. In this course students analyze and discuss the key elements of designing mobile/handheld games. Social Through lectures, game and film clips, and practical real-time exercises, students will learn the fundamental structures and emotion enhancing tools to immerse a player in an interactive environment.


Term 4 Course Description 


T4 Level Design Pipeline

In this course students will learn common practices to build a game level from scratch. The class will address the variety of disciplines a level designer might be responsible for, including analyzing gameplay, creating placeholder art, utilizing a modular workflow, adding basic lighting and scripting gameplay events. This class also emphasizes keeping unity projects clean and organized.To further add to the student’s understanding of Unity, this class will introduce students to particles and post processing. An introduction to procedural content will also be covered.By the end of the term, students will have practical experience creating assets and constructing level. This knowledge will be directly applicable to their industry projects.


T4 Online/Multiplayer Game Design

This course will delve into the issues governing the design of Online and Multiplayer game experiences. Students will initially examine what features make a game into a compelling Online or Multiplayer experience. From this point, students will be exposed to the fundamentals of online/multiplayer design before deciding what elements they need to consider when designing their own Online/Multiplayer game, focusing on engaging players, and making them want to stay.


T4 Project Design 

In Term 5 and 6, students will design and build an Industry style project using tools and techniques that they have learned in Terms 1-4. Students will plan out their projects, what tools they will use to build them, and create a visual design. The size and scope of these deliverables requires tremendous dedication and effort, and efficient execution and ongoing team and project management.Term 4’s Project Design course is a major portion of planning for the Projects. The classes will consist of mentored time to focus on team building, design documents, visual designs and technical design planning. The foundation for a Project Plan and schedule will also be created concurrently in the Term 4 ‘Project Management’ course and allow students to begin development of their Projects at the start of Term 5.


T4 Project Management

Project Management for Game Designers establishes core foundation skills in the area of project management. Students will develop an understanding of project planning, execution and closure, and the project life cycle in the field of game development. Class time will focus on project management theory and in-class, mentored practical assignments in areas such as work breakdown, estimation and scheduling, risk management, project resources, quality, and project costs. Emphasis will be placed on developing a project plan and schedule for current game design assignments.


T4 Technical Preproduction

This Course will Explore the technical workflow required to establish the framework upon which games are structured. Students will evaluate engines and game technology, determine a technical implementation plan, and create a technical Design Document for their final project. Students will learn how to use industry standard version control software and use it throughout their final project development. Students will also develop and present working prototypes for three key features of their games.


T4 Unity 2

This course continues the students learning in how to use Unity to develop 3D games. Course content will focus on specific aspects of the Unity engine, including common scripting tasks such as character navigation, animation, physics, and importing and modifying art assets such as models, textures, and materials. This course will be of particular benefit to students using Unity for their final project, though is of interest to all students in the Code Stream.



Term 5 Course Description


T5 Business of Games

The development of games is not only about creativity, technical, and artistic elements; it also has diverse business aspects. This course provides students with a grounding in the key areas of business associated with game development.The course will have a heavy emphasis on Independent game development, specifically how the students can leverage their final project as an Indie product.


T5 Project Development 

In Term 5 and 6, students will design and build an Industry style project using tools and techniques that they have learned in Terms 1-4. Students will plan their projects, decide what tools they will use to build them, put together a project plan, and build and monitor their progress based on milestone deliverables. The size and scope of these deliverables requires tremendous dedication, effort, efficient execution, and ongoing project management.Project Development allows students to work solo or in groups to develop their project. Set blocks are designated as Mentored time. During mentored blocks Industry based instructors and advisors from different skill sets will be in the classroom to evaluate student work, discuss difficulties, advise or help with technical or artistic elements, and monitor students progress towards major deliverables and milestones.These deliverables include all goals as set out in the project design course, and will be presented to the class and instructors for Green Light approval. Once the project is underway, its progress will be evaluated on an ongoing basis for course correction, scaling, scoping or other required changes up to its completion in Term 6. Final deliverable will include a playable game, design document, project plan, as well as a 30 second trailer and screen shots.


T5 Quality Assurance

The successful shipping of a game relies on many parties including Production, Development, and QA coming together. This course establishes core foundation skills in the area of Quality Assurance for games. The course provides game designers with an appreciation of how these teams work together and covers key components of QA including test plan creation, bug reporting, bug finding and project management.



Term 6 Course Description


T6 Employment Prep

The Employment Preparation course enhances the employability skills of the participants. This course will prepare students to read and respond effectively to job adverts. Students will learn how to identify transferable skills to write good and effective resumes and cover letters. Students will also practice and perfect job interview techniques. This course is interactive and will facilitate networking opportunities. Students will work on individual projects and participate in open discussion and practical group activities especially role plays.On completion of this course, the students willhave been provided with the best approach and the tools to effectively create, pursue and develop employment opportunities. Students will leave with appropriate company/job-specific cover letters, resumes and networking/interview skills that will maximise their chances for the job they want. The course will also provide opportunities for students to develop appropriate skills to hold down a job and develop their career with good self management in relation to work. Issues such as professional communication and negotiation skills will be addressed here.


T6 Portfolio Development


Portfolio Production provides game designers with a practical introduction to HTML, Adobe Dreamweaver and AdobeMuse. These tools enable students to present their portfolio pieces online for access by potential employers. The course also demonstrates how to post a website to the provided VFS web space or any other server location.A key component in portfolios is the use of video. This course will also prepare students to create professional video files for the presentation for the Final Game Project and their individual portfolio websites. Students will follow the process from planning and storyboarding the videos, to collecting assets, editing,applying effects, and outputting the videos for the project website and their final portfolio presentation. The sessions consist of a combination of lectures, in-class discussions, exercises, and project lab time. There will be open lab time for students to develop their online portfolios. Mentoring will also be available at this time. To continue developing their online portfolios, students spend time outside of class and after completing the course working on this project.The major deliverables for this course are an Industry Game Trailer, Demo Reel, and an online portfolio containing integrated video.


T6 Post Mortem Analysis

Post Mortem establishes core foundation skills in the area of conducting a project post mortem. In this course students learn how to plan and conduct a post mortem. They learn the key inputs and outputs of a post mortem and discover how future game development projects can use the derived information.This course includes lectures and a mentored practical assignment using the student’s industry project.