COMP23: GAME DESIGN

"The worst thing a kid can say about homework is that it is too hard. The worst thing a kid can say about a game is it's too easy." -- Henry Jenkins

"Usually, the best ideas come from having to fix a really hard problem."
--Jesse Schell

"The great challenge for us today... is to integrate games more closely into our everyday lives, and to embrace them as a platform for collaborating on our most important [personal and] planetary efforts."
--Jane McGonigal

"What part of my game is fun? Why? What would make it more fun?"
--Jesse Schell

Final Project Game Trailer Sample from Fall 2017 Class:

See past games by Tufts student teams

Download Syllabus
Submit all assignments digitally on our PIAZZA FORUM (Email teacher for invite)

Instructor: Jason Wiser    
TAs: Stephanie Wilson, Eleanor Elkus,
and Gavin McCarthy-Bui
Please email us all with questions
as soon as they arise!

Spring 2024, January 23 - May 7
Tuesdays, 6pm-9pm
Joyce Cummings Center room 180
DESCRIPTION: This team-based course covers a software development cycle through game design, prototyping, production, and marketing. The Final Project is a completed digital game created in Unity.
Content related to the theme of Games For Change is encouraged. The game can utilize 2D or 3D art and interface production pipelines.

NOTE #1: The most critical skill for product design is listening: to your colleague, testers, and your intuition.

NOTE #2: Email the teacher and TAs quickly and often, so we can help you find resources for solutions!

NOTE #3: Every software production team needs to regularly assess what features are critical and what can be cut to meet production deadlines. Always work on the highest priority items and bravely cut features.
  WEEKLY BREAKDOWN:
TABLETOP GAMES:  01   |   02  |   03   |   04   |   05   |   06
FINAL:  07   |   08   |   09   |   10   |   11   |   12   |   13   |   14   |   Final

Require Materials/ Docs   |   Projects Breakdown   | Online ClassPast Projects
INTRO TO THE UNITY GAME ENGINE:
See this Unity Learning page
for 2D and 3D Game Dev tutorials.
Also see our GitHub Desktop page.

Here are our 3 Main Unity Games Tutorials:
And our Game Art Tutorial: Pixel Art, Tilemapping, Character Animation:
Weekly Materials appear below. Press the header to expand:
LECTURE: Introduction to course, projects, teamwork expectations.
Discussions: What is a game? How do we approach design?
Player Verbs an behaviors. Game Flow and Fiero.
Design Method 1: Designing Playful Experiences within constraints.
EXERCISE:
     Teams: Discuss and design tabletop game interactions inspired by provided mechanics.
     Demo: PlayingCards.io for multiplayer tabletop games.
     TUTORIAL #1: Unity Interface and C# Scripting: Intro to the Interface, creating a script, console, GameObjects and Components



DESIGN NOTES:
When designing the homework games, consider ways to enhance PLAYER CHOICE and opportunities to feel progress with each move.
Avoid mechanics with turn loss-- they break the flow.
Don't allow dice to run the game, only to modify player choices.
If players can get cards or tokens let them choose how and when to use them (by having multiple at a time, and multiple uses).
If players move pieces across a board consider ways to make every move feel productive (flow) and awesome (fiero): big moves and action choices!

How do we help a game take just 10-15 minutes?
Make players more powerful!
Try cutting in half the cost to act and doubling the result.



Build tabletop games online with PLAYINGCARDS.IO

Getting Started with PlayingCards.io to make an original "Tabletop" game: cards, tokens, spinner, custom boards.
Export .PCIO files to save / import the game.


Some Custom Board Options:
     
Import process for PlayingCards.io


UNITY NOTE: To set your own scripting tool for Unity: open Unity and go to Edit > Preferences > External Tools, hit Browse, find your scripting tool under Programs and select the EXE / application.

WEEK 1 MATERIALS:
PowerPoint #1

Please try to follow this
Team Communication Checklist

"TABLETOP" GAME MECHANICS
Explore this 1 page list of Game Mechanics
Review this enormous list on BGG (or 1-doc version).
Consider these improv games played over a call


HOMEWORK #1:
TEAM 1a:
As a team, design a 2-5 player game intended to be played in PlayingCards.io, or a physical protoype.
Play it yourself multiple times and revise rules for more "Flow" and "Fiero," and to be sure it can be played in 10-15 minutes.
Type up the rules (be concise) and include photos of Set-Up and Gameplay.
Post the DOC and .PCIO file to Piazza hw1team, at least 24 hours before class. Include team member names in DOC and post.

Individually:
a) Reading #1: Jesse Schell's Art of Game Design, chapter on mechanics (any edition. In 2nd, this is ch 12).

b) Get Software, 3-Button Mouse, and Texts:

Sign up for a free Unity ID.
Download the Unity Hub (but not the newest Editor).
Get Unity Editor from the Archive (2022.2.21) by clicking the blue button: Unity Hub
Scripting IDE of choice. See options here.
Adobe Photoshop (discounted license for Tufts students, or free 1 week trial, or use PhotoPea.com)
Get a 3-BUTTON MOUSE, bring to every class!
BOOK 1: Jesse Schell's "Art of Game Design"
BOOK 2: Dr Jane McGonnigal's "Reality is Broken"

c) Tutorial #1: A short intro to C# coding in Unity:
By week 2:
Go as far as you can, post a screenshot to Canvas.
By week 3: Complete the working tree-catch game, post a screenshot to Canvas
MEET A DESIGNER:
    Brenda Romero (Wizadry 8, Train): Game to Understand
LECTURE: Testing Methods, Radical Revision, and 2D asset creaton
Consider how to encourage specific player behavior
Designing for collaborative gameplay.
Design Method 2: Testing Methods: Focus Testing for player observation and non-interference. Class playtesting practice. Evaluating and incorporating user testing.
Design Method 3: Radical Revision.
EXERCISE:
        Play each other’s games, fill-out testing doc, meet to plan revision.
        TUTORIAL #2: Intro to Photoshop for games: Use Photoshop or PhotoPea.com to create 2D assets.


2D IMAGES FOR PHOTOSHOP:
Dull Photo
Flesh parts



Radical Revision Homework Constraints:
After identifing just one mechanic from the first game to use in the next (usually, what your playtesters most enjoyed), try using ONE of the following design constraints in your thinking:
    Newly Cooperative: Was your game competitive the first week? Consider a cooperative redesign this week. Typically, players vs a "clock": How far can they get before the cards run out, the island sinks, they all become werewolves, etc?

One-Room: Set the entire game in a very limited space: a cubicle farm, a backyard garden, a kitchen, an air traffic control room, etc.

3D: For object movement, add a vertical dimension to the horizontal board: Ladders, airships, upper floors, astral plane, etc.

Army: Did your first game give each player a single piece to manage? Try giving the player multiple pieces!
WEEK 2 MATERIALS:
PowerPoint #2
Focus Testing

PLAYINGCARDS.IO
Customizing PlayingCards.io to make a revised game.
Sample cards: back | front1 | front2 | front3 | front4
Learn the basics of Photoshop for 2D art assets (40 minute video tutorial). You can also use PhotoPea.com (free Photoshop emulator)

HOMEWORK #2:
TEAM 1b
:
Create a new game
based on Playtesting:
Attempt “Radical Revision” to design a new game around one mechanic players most enjoyed in your first game, and one new design constraint:
"Newly Cooperative", "One-Room", "3D", or "Army".
Playtest, revise for more "Flow" and "Fiero."
Type up the new rules, including new photos and a paragraph explaining your radical revision, including which single new design constraint you chose to use.
Post to Piazza hw2team, >24 hours before class.

Individually:
a) Reading #2: Schell Chapter on Game Balance
(any edition. In 2nd, this is ch 13, 35pp)

b) Tutorial #2: Create custom Photoshop card art for PlayingCards.io. No quality expectation: just show the pipeline from Photoshop to the game. Upload both the card PNG and a screenshot in game to Canvas.

c) Complete Tutorial #1, intro Unity and C# scripting:

Please always bring a 3-button mouse to class!
MEET A DESIGNER:
    Radical revision as "Follow the Fun"
    "Extra Credits": Fail Faster
    Greg Costikyan: Uncertainty in Games
LECTURE: Working with Unity 3D
Design Method 4: How do we design games which are new but recognizable? Designing for Disruption.
Design Method 5: How to design a game inspired by the routines of a workplace? Designing mechanics from established systems.
EXERCISES:
        TUTORIAL #3: Intro to Unity3D. Students follow this tutorial
        Disruption: Design at least one significant mechanic change on an existing board, card, or dice game to create a new game (with a new story / theme). Consider radical changes:

PAST STUDENT PROJECT #3 SAMPLES:
(All concepts are property of the creators)
Spring 2018: Sand Wizard of Catan

Spring 2015: [Campaign Trail | B[Ticket to Westeros]   [Treason]  [Fickle Checkers] [Last Airbender 3000]   [Royal Runaway]

FUN: McSweeny story on fixing Candyland
        Team 2b (in class): New teams meet to discuss Workplace games.

Samples of past student Workplace-inspired tabletop games


UNITY 3D LESSON RESOURCES:
    Unity: Intro to 3D
    Unity Package: First Person Controller
    Three MP3 Sound FX
    See these notes on Unity Coding Practices
      (towards bottom of this page)



WEEK 3 MATERIALS:
PowerPoint #3

HOMEWORK #3:
TEAM 2a:
Research, discuss, and design a “Workplace” Game. Playtest and revise multiple times for more "Flow" and "Fiero." Type the rules (be concise), include photos of Set-Up and gameplay. Build in PlayingCards.io, playtest, revise, and be ready to play in class!
Post DOC and .PCIO file to Piazza hw3team, at least 24 hours before class.

Individually:
a) Get Blender and GitHub Desktop App, and please bring a 3-button mouse to class!

b) Tutorial #3: Unity 3D Sequence Choice:
Choice 1:
Complete the tutorials in this Intro to 3D Unity Game, and post screenshots to Canvas.
 
                                    OR:
Choice 2: Roll-A-Ball! Follow this short, two hour tutorial sequence to learn the basics of Unity for 3D games, and post a screenshot of your finished work to Canvas. (NOTE: If ball does not move, set speed =10)
                                    OR:
Choice 3:Follow a tutorial of similar length that you find online to create Unity 3D functionality, and post both screenshot and URL to Canvas.
MEET A DESIGNER:
    Matt Leacock (Pandemic, Forbidden Island) and Rob Daviau (Legacy): Making of Pandemic Legacy
    "Extra Credits": Playing Games as a Designer Part 1 and Part 2
    Designing Game Rules: 6 tips and GeekNights, Pax South 2016
LECTURE: Designing for Players: Affordances, Signifiers, Feedback.
Player Needs: Mastery, Autonomy, Community, Sensation
Starting a team Unity project: GitHub and choosing mechanics for a digital game.
EXERCISES:
        TUTORIAL #4: Creating 3D game-ready assets in Blender
        Making Prefabs for team work.
        Affordances and Signifiers in Portal (intro sequence)

DESIGNING FOR PLAYERS (Audience):
      Sample 1: GoW Lancer and breakdown
      Extra Credits: How Design Teaches Us Without Words
      Razbuten: How are games for those who doesn't play games
Signifiers:
What shapes, textures, and sounds do we see that imply the history of a thing or place, and what we can expect to find there?
Affordances: What do we (the player) think we are supposed to DO based on the design of the thing or space?
Feedback: How does the game uphold or contradict our expectations?
Prioritize: Organizing your backlog and production schedule around "User Stories"


Blender for 3D:
Basic Navigation
Game Assets

Intro 3D For Unity
Key 3D tools
Intro Blender (60 min)



Want to learn more 3D tools?:
Intro 3D Modeling in Maya (30 minute on mesh modeling)
Character Development:

  Rough forms, Adding Details, and Hair etc
  Unwrapping and Texturing
  Joint Rigging and Skinning for Animation
UNITY vs 3D UNITS:
Unity and Blender both use meters (Characters = 2-meters tall). Autodesk Maya uses centimeters by default (can change to meters in Maya General Settings, or scale in Unity).

WEEK 4 MATERIALS:
PowerPoint #4

USING GITHUB
Please read: Using Github Desktop Effectively.
A Git Repository for Unity needs a GitIgnore script at top, to make sure Git does not deal with extra Unity files. Use this Unity GitIgnore.
Please avoid GitHub's Revert or Undo. Speak to the teacher if you are concerned about a GitHub conflict.

HOMEWORK #4:
TEAM 2b:
Design a digital game inspired by your Workplace game, emphasis on movement. Implement as much of the game in Unity as you can this week!:
Please use GitHub for collaboration.
Make sure all of your team has Unity 2022.2.21
Decide if your project will be 3D or 2D based on which is a better fit for your mechanics.
Decide if the digital version of your game will be multi-player or single.
Be sure to communicate about scene ownership.
Use prefabs to share work tasks!
Attend labs for help, research using online tutorials, like this basic Unity Drag and Drop script.
Your priorities this week are to set up the project with GitHub, type a Backlog (prioritized to-do list) of features you want to include, communicate daily with your team about progress, and attempt to get as much of that list in the game as you can. Prioritize "User Stories" (user-facing functionality, not under-the-hood operation).


Post to Piazza hw4team, at least 24 hours before class. Be ready to play in class!

Individually:
a) Reading #3: Dr Jane McGonigal's "Reality is Broken" Part 2: Reinventing Reality (pp119-215)

b) Tutorial #4: Create a 3D model using Blender:
Object tower (lesson 1) OR textured tree (lesson 9).
No quality expectation: just show the pipeline from Blender into Unity. Upload screenshots of the object both in Blender and in Unity to Canvas.
MEET A DESIGNER:
    Bio of Lucas Pope, creator of Paper's Please
    John Romero (Doom): The Early Days of id Software
      (NOTE: I disagree with some principle here, such as skipping prototyping)
    "Extra Credits": Affordances Part 1 and Part 2

LECTURE: Alternate Reality Games
Playtesting Unity games and feedback.
Design Method 7: How can games improve our world? Alternative Reality Games (ARGs) and designing to solve human suffering.
EXERCISES:
        Using the Unity Canvas for HUD / Feedback
        Team 2b (in class): identify suffering, design a ruleset for an ARG.

Process for making an ARG:
1. Identify a source of misery.
2. List the misery's mechanics.
3. List real-world solutions for the misery-- behaviors people might do if they were not too busy, distracted, or embarrassed.
4. Focus on one tangible behavioral solution at a time, and consider game mechanics that could encourage that behavior. Iterate: What can make those mechanics more meaningful, and more specific to the behavioral solution desired?
PAST STUDENT ARG SAMPLES:
(All concepts property of creators) [Dining Discomfort] [Shovel Wars] [Crunch Time] [Ready Set Cook] [End of the Line] [Procrastination] [Dog Walk Bingo] [Exercise Demons] [Water Buffalo]



MIDTERM UNITY PROJECT: Want help creating a PauseMenu, GameHandler,
player or NPC character, or other Unity basics?

Try our class big collection of Action game tutorials / scripts.
While these tutorials discuss 2D projects, most scripts can be applied to 3D projects as well. Just be sure to change functions like OnCollisionEnter2D(Collision2D other) to OnCollisionEnter(Collision other), and variables like Rigidbody2D to Rigidbody, etc.




WEEK 5 MATERIALS:
PowerPoint #5
Unity Animation with Code: Tweening

PROJECT TOOLS IN UNITY:
Unity HUD: Canvas Tools and Scripting
Unity Tilemapping for paintable 2D backgrounds
Destructible / Paintable Tilemaps: Open [2f]
Unity Controller Inputs and Building an Executable

Unity Notes on ShaderScripts.
Unity Code Animation: Tweening and Canvas UI
Unity Physics notes
Unity AI notes: Vector3.Distance, Attack, Patrol
Pause Menu Tutorial

HOMEWORK #5:
TEAM 2d:
Progress your Workplace game prototype in Unity: how far can you get in functionality by next week?
Focus on user functionality and get as far as you can as a team. All teammates make prefabs except for the scene-holder. Communicate so you do not work on the same asset wityhout pushing/pulling!
Include a GameHandler prefab with ESC-quit option and Export a WebGL build and upload to itch.io.
Post the URL and a screenshot to Piazza hw5team before class.
Please make a lot of mistakes in Unity, and contact us for help!

Individually:
PPR #1: Type up your FIRST PERSONAL PROJECT REPORT: what you took on, what you completed, who helped you, who you helped, URLs for any tutorials.
Post to Canvas.

PLEASE NOTE: Not finishing all you agreed to do will NOT affect your grade; I am looking to see you contribute significantly to production each week, to communicate frequently with your teammates, and for you to document what went well for you and what issues you encountered.
MEET A DESIGNER:
    Robin Hunicke (Journey, Boom Blox, Luna): We Care a Lot - Making Games with Value
    Robin Hunicke and Keita Takahashi: Introducing Wattam
    Keita Takahashi: Introducing Katamari Damacy
LECTURE: AR and VR pipelines and projects using the Unity.
Notes on Physics in Unity
Discussion of "Service Niche" Games
EXERCISE:
        Design Method 6: Teams brainstorm digital game concepts for specific populations, disabilities, child developmental stages, literacy, immigration, targeted health or educational needs. Also, consider mechanics derived from "real-world" sports and hobbies!

ADDING SOUND EFFECTS TO YOUR GAME




AUGMENTED REALITY
AR in Unity using Vuforia

VR VIVE RESOURCES:
  • Sample 3D Room Files: Maya, FBXs, PNGs.
  • Class Tutorial on the Unity-Vive Pipeline: Getting Started, Using the Interaction System, Pick-Up-and-Throw, Teleportation, Target Practice, Door Hinge.
  • Target Practice Ding Audio and Script.

    More VIVE LEARNING: Intro VIVE and Advanced VIVE

    MORE AR/VR WITH UNITY
    (Platform specific: download SDKs, sometimes Java)
  • VR: Facebook's OCCULUS RIFT: GearVR Tutorial
  • AR, for older devices: Qualcomm Vuforia (current gen)
  • AR, new: Google ARcode (S8+) and Apple ARkit (iPhone 8+)








  • WEEK 6 MATERIALS:
    PowerPoint #6


    HOMEWORK #6:
    TEAM 2e:
    Complete your Workplace Unity game prototype:
    Get as far as you can as a team, each member taking on equal work and making every effort to complete their tasks (ask for help early and often!).
    All teammates make Prefabs, and communicate to be sure you are not working on the same scenes!
    Please include a GameHandler Prefab and a Pause Menu with a Quit button (at least an ESC-quit option), and Export a WebGL build and upload to itch.io.
    Post the URL and a screenshot to Piazza hw6team before class.

    Individually
    a)
    MIDTERM PEER EVALUATIONS
    (Give each teammate a unique integer for points. Save as a .DOC or .TXT, rename with your name and game name, and post to Canvas next week):
    3 members | 4 members | 5 members | 6 members

    b) FINAL PROJECT GAME IDEA
    Post to Piazza "final_game_ideas" a brief description of a final project digital game concept. Include a title, genre, and what is unique or interesting to you about this idea.
    For example: "'Red or Blue' is a 2D platformer where the player is a bullied teenager with the power to switch the lighting red or blue, making escape platforms appear of the opposite color." (from Fall 2017 class)

    c) Reading #4: Schell Prototyping chapter (pages 75-95, on "Iteration").
    SPRING 2024 TA PRESENTATIONS
    Gavin McCarthy-Bui:
    PHYSICS!
    Presentation slides
    Demo Unity Package


    Stephanie Wilson:
    SHADERS!
    Presentation slides
    Demo Unity Package

    Eleanor Elkus:
    UI and TWEENING!
    Presentation slides
    Demo Unity Package


    MEET A DESIGNER:
        Kim Swift: Our Journey From Narbacular Drop To Portal
    LECTURE: Final Project Brainstorming and Team Formation
    Inspiration Sources: Disrupting Movement and Unique Visuals
    Dynamic Team Creation workshop based on roles and brainstormed design.
    EXERCISES:
            Students brainstorm designs based on theme.
            Students present concepts, and choose projects and teams.



    Notes for Multi-Player Games: Has your team decided to make a multi-player game? In most cases, this means each team-member needs a couple of XBox controllers for work from home: wired USB, to work on laptops (Have a Mac? You will also need an adaptor for your USB-C ports).



    THINK BEFORE YOU CODE: "PAPER" PROTOTYPING:
                STEP 1: A Paper Prototype starts with a "Risk Question," the more specific the better. What is a mechanic in your game that you are wondering how players will understand or use, or how it might interact with other systems you are planning?

    STEP 2: The next stage is to imagine solutions: ideas for how things could work, to answer the Risk Questions. For example of the many ways a flying mechanic could be implemented-- jetpack, propellers, drift and yaw vs kryptonian precision, etc, which one/s do you want to try?

    STEP 3: The next stage is to test the solutions. These tests are non-digital prototypes; you want to make and test them as fast as possible. You want to "Fail Faster" through lots of early ideas to get to the good designs! Watch this intro to Prototyping game elements for ideas.

    STEP 4: The last stage is to evaluate the results of the paper prototype playtest and draw conclusions! Is this mechanic a good idea? In a game studio, we can save months and enormous amounts of money with these early protoypes, to avoid going down wrong paths!



    WEEK 7 MATERIALS:
    PowerPoint #7
    Including notes on Paper Prototyping, Agile User Stories, and Design Documents.

    INSPIRATION:
    Watch these videos to help think of paper prototypes:
    Intro to Prototyping game elements
    Extra Credits' excellent "Fail Faster" video

    PRODUCTION:
    Read this doc: Game Development Roles
    Good Game Producer
    Valve Handbook
    Game Art Bible Guidelines



    HOMEWORK #7:
    TEAM 3 (Final teams!):
    Meet outside of class at least twice to:
    Brainstorm user functionality and create Playable "Paper" Prototypes in PlayingCards.io or a physical scenario, to playtest and revise your core game mechanics.
    Consider player User Stories to decide core functionality!
    Draft your initial Design Document (include a few URLs with tutorials on implementing features specific to your game).
    Set up free online team resources:
        A Google Doc for your Designs, Backlog, Ref-links.
        A Discord channel for team communication.
        A Trello account for task-tracking.
        Your GitHub Unity project, 2D/3D, with our GitIgnore.
    Post your team DOCs, .PCIO, and links to Piazza hw7team before class

    NOTE:
    Do not worry about populating a Production Schedule / Backlog this week (Prioritized List of User Story functionality and when you hope to have them done, based on course schedule).
    Focus on design, on player verbs: what do you want your player/s to be able to DO in your game? What will be innovative in the mechanics?
    MEET A DESIGNER:
        Warren Specter (Deus Ex, Epic Mickey, System Shock) and Doug Church: Practical Game Design
        Warren Specter Deus Ex Postmortem and Dream Projects
        "Extra Credits": Making Your First Game: Minimum Viable Product
    LECTURE: "Paper Protoypes" playtesting!
    Team Communication and Production planning.
    Intro to 3D Animation for Game Assets, and exporting to Unity3D.
    Real-time asset Polycount and texture constraints.
    EXERCISES:
            Teams playtest Paper Prototypes, meet to plan production.
            Follow 3D "Tree" (modeling) and "Duck" (animation) tutorials.


    KEY EXPECTATIONS FOR TEAMWORK:
    To be good teammates, you are expected to:
    Check all agreed communication channels daily.
    Respond to all contact asap, at least within a day, and be patient listening and explaining what you mean to each other.
    Set meeting times/places by end of class, and make every effort to be timely for every meeting. Communicate time conflicts as early as possible.
    Use professional language: do not use any language that is demeaning or hateful towards any group, including in regards to gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, religion, ability, or nation of origin.
    Meet Deadlines: submit work every week at the agreed time to the agreed place, and communicate production problems as early in the week as they occur, so that these problems can be solved BEFORE the materials are due. Always ask us for help as soon as possible!
    Practice good transactional communication: When sending files, explain what you are sending. When receiving files, check them and confirm you got them and they are what you expected.
    Work with your team to solve problems: divide work evenly, communicate issues, help each other, and don't try to take on everything.


    AUDIO 1: Work with a Composer:
    Next meeting we will learn more about Game Audio!
    All audio in your game must be created by your team or a friend (or a composer from Berklee).
    If asking someone to make the audio, give them guidance by answering these questions:

    Type 1-3 sentence about the game: What does the player do? How is the game supposed to feel?

    What instruments have you imagined? Is your game story or aesthetic rooted in a place or time that could influence instrument choice?

    What pacing do you want?: Slow / exploring? Quick and intense?

    If possible, include URLs to songs / compositions that are in the direction you are seeking.




    WEEK 8 MATERIALS:
    PowerPoint #8

    UNITY ANIMATION TUTORIALS:

    3D Animation Tutorial
    Unity 3D Animation Tutorial
    2D Animation Tutorial
    Intro to 2D and 3D Art Pipeline notes
    Click to view tree, duck, dino PNGs:
    Sample Duck FBX


    HOMEWORK #8:
    Teams:
    DISCUSS your paper prototypes and Revise Design Documents for more meaningful player choice.

    SET-UP GitHub repository with our GitIgnore. Decide naming system and document Backlog, tech issues, and Asset Pipeline.

    DECIDE what core functionality of your game you will attempt to get working in Unity this week. Focus on "User Stories". Discuss and divide Unity production work evenly.

    PLAN AUDIO: Want a composer to work with you? Answer the "Work with a composer" list, email teacher.

    WORK IN UNITY this week to pull together an initial DIGITAL PROTOTYPE of basic interactions and core game features! Use only simple placeholder art and audio, created by team members.
    Post webGL Builds to itch.io, link in Piazza hw8team.

    CODING:
    Please start with these tutorials for setting-up key game functionality, like a GameHandler, Pause Menu, enemy patrols, etc.

    ARTING:
    Please start with files and steps in this 2D Tutorial
    or this 3D Tutorial.
    Pay close attention to file dimensions and resolution!

    Individually:
    PERSONAL REPORT #2:
    Submit typed page to Canvas: What you agreed to produce, what you accomplished. Who helped you and who you helped. List of research links read or watched. Include related screenshots.
    MEET A DESIGNER:
        Will Wright (Sims, Spore): Lessons in Game Design
    [Spring Break March 18-22. Teacher is away at GDC]
    LECTURE: Team exercises: Character Health and ARG2
    Software Development Cycle and GitHub.
    Game Audio Considerations.
    EXERCISE:
            Teams share prototypes and meet to plan production.
            Follow Audio Unity tutorial
    AFTER CLASS 3D LECTURE: Animation and Unity: Mecanim.

    Game Testing
    Color Scripts
    Intro to 2D and 3D Art Pipeline notes
    Making Pixel Art and Animation with Pyxel Edit


    AUDIO 2: DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS:
    Ambient Sounds & Triggered Sound Effects (SFX)
    Random Audio Clips
    Footsteps: raw, trimmed, individual
    Record Foley work to lay tracks in Audacity
    Getting Creative with Foley Sounds
    Unity trick to vary repeating sounds (footsteps).
    Music Composition: 1   |   2   |   Piano

    Dynamic Audio: Try Wwise, FMOD, Elias (get) / Fabric (get) for music / SFX (1 | 2 | 3).


    MUSIC CREATION APPS
    Petaporon multi-instrument piano sequencer
    Basic Piano app to record ambient notes

    WEEK 9 MATERIALS:
    PowerPoint #9


    UNITY ANIMATION:
    Unity Animation Mecanim Pipeline | .DOC
    Get Meeple FBX and Knight or Zombie texture
    Meeple Maya work and Template

    HOMEWORK #9:
    Teams:
    Revise your Prototype to add more of your "Verbs" (user functionality) and Player Feedback (ways the game can respond to player actions and indicate progress).
    Test clarity with >2 new players (observe and revise).
    Post webGL Builds to itch.io, link in Piazza hw9team.

    Individually:
    a)
    PERSONAL REPORT #3:
    What you agreed to produce this week and what you completed. Who helped you and who you helped. List of research links read/watched. Related screenshots.
    Post to Canvas.

    b) Tutorial #5: SFX:
    Choose, record, and edit a sound effect for game.
    Use the WAV format for Unity (convert with web tools).
    Import into Unity and post to Canvas.
    MEET A DESIGNER:
        Marty O'Donnell: Music Composition for Halo / Bungie
        Eric Lang (Blood Rage, Duelyst): Designer vs Designer Panel and CMON Interview
    LECTURE: Exporting Animation to Unity: Animation Controller, Mecanim, Unity State Machines, scripting animated character moves.
      Micro Level Design to create the illusion of variety and difficulty.
      Creating good flow through Base Speed spacing of elements.
      Macro Level Design to create an emotional learning arc.
    EXERCISE:
         Level Design 1: Macro and Micro level design using BLB.
         Animation in Unity: Mecanim State Machines. Unity Particles.
         Teams meet, discuss and plan project revisions.

    MICRO LEVEL DESIGN:
    Base Speed: How far we can jump, if holding down the right-arrow key (in BLB, this is 9 spaces).
    Rhythms: alternating challenges (jump over ground hole, wall, stairs, through holes in walls, off leap-of-faith jumps, etc, all in "Base Speed"= 9spaces per platform/challenge).

    Melodies: ABABC where the rhythm is interrupted by a new challenge (hole, wall, hole, wall, hole, stairs)

    Harmonies: Combine a series of the same basic Melody 3 times in a row, with the challenges appearing to get progressively more difficult (wider holes and smaller platforms) while maintaining "Base Speed" (still 9 spaces per platform/challenge).
    For example: in the first "Melody" the jump-holes can be 2-wide with platforms 7-wide, and in the second Melody the holes can be to 4-wide with platforms at 5, and in the final Melody in the set the holes can be 6 and platforms only 3. This results in a huge change in APPARENT difficulty, with no change in actual jumps (since it is all based on a 9-space jump in BLB).

    TIMING NOTE: A full "Harmony" (3 Melodies) takes about 5 seconds to traverse at Base Speed (continuous run-jump)


    MACRO LEVEL DESIGN
    Build multiple Harmonies into a longer experience (1-3 minutes) with gradually increasing difficulty:
    1. Set-Up: No death. Get player used to movement, like running and jumping. Include at least one harmony.
    2. Hook: No death. Introduce the key mechanic of this level.
    3. Development: The player learns to use the mechanic in increasingly difficult (and possibly deadly) encounters and challenges.
    4. Climax ("the Turn"): The most challenging and deadly encounter! A chance for the player to test the skills and patterns they have learned.
    5. Resolution: A short distance of simple running and jumping (a melody or harmony), perhaps more rewards, leading to the end of the level (flag, door, etc). No death: a chance to reflect on the awesomeness just experienced.

    ADDITIONAL NOTES:
    Consider Affordances that show where players could go (like the lack of options at the start of Portal), and Signifiers to show where players SHOULD go (like stars at the peak of each important jump).
    Also, look for ways to increase apparent difficulty without changing actual difficulty.

    WEEK 10 MATERIALS:
    PowerPoint #10


    2D LEVEL DESIGN #1: BLB
    Let's explore designing for Rhythm and Harmony:
    Download DigiPen's Basic Level Builder
    PC version
    Mac version (Mac version requires changing permissions)

    Instructions for Saving, Sharing, and Opening BLB.
    PC: Find Basic Level Builder folder in Documents >
    MAC: Search for Basic Level Builder folder, or look under Users > YourName >

    BEWARE: BLB unfortunately treats each block as unique in memory. Avoid crazy large areas of collider "mountain" that eat memory (or crazy numbers of boosters).
    Also note overuse of moving platforms can cause crashes on player death.

    Please also check out:  Ken Bowen Sidescroller Notes 

    GAME FEEL: CLARITY AND FEEDBACK:
    Consider ways to give the player feedback on their actions with GameFeel: color changes, particles, squash/stretch, recoil, screenshake, sounds, etc.
    See our Game Feel tutorials.
    How will your game communicate player state like health, collected items, map progress, current tool, speed? UI HUD elements, or a Diagetic (immersive) solution?
    Unity Particles: Use Particle emitters to create effects like energy, weather, water, or impacts
    Unity Shader Graphs: Unity has a helpful, node-based toolset for creating surface VFX on objects, characters, and environments.

    HOMEWORK #10:
    Teams:
    Revise Prototype for key player verbs and feedback: UI and Game Feel.
    Test Clarity: at least 2 new players.
    Post webGL Builds to itch.io, link in Piazza hw10team.

    Individually:
    a) PERSONAL REPORT #4:
    What you took on, what you completed. Who helped you and who you helped. List of research links read/watched. Related screenshots. Post to Canvas.

    b) Tutorial #6: BLB: Create a platformer level using the Basic Level Builder, and try to include Micro and Macro level design principles. Post to Canvas.
    MEET A DESIGNER:
        Richard Bartle: Player Type Theory: Uses and Abuses
        "Extra Credits" take: Bartles' Taxonomy and MMO Balancing
    LECTURE: Level Design Talk 2: Rational Game Design
      Using the Rational Game Design 3-chart system to understand
         what Player Skills are being tested at any point in a game level.
      Understanding how skill tests can stack to make unexpectedly
         hard challenges.
      Creating complex, repeating enemies and changing the
         experience of an enemy through Level Design
         (design space and player position to limit skill tests in each level).
    EXERCISES:
         Applying RGD to provided "pattern" scenarios in level design.
         Teams meet to discuss and plan project revisions.


    Please Read these excellent Level Design articles:
    "Where the Rubber hits the Road" by Jay Wilbur
    "No More Wrong Turns" by Martin Nerurkar


    Rational Game Design Notes
    Rational Game Design Article


    WEEK 11 MATERIALS:
    PowerPoint #11: Rational Game Design
    RGD Failure Case: Avatar Dog Sequence

    HOMEWORK #11:
    Teams:
    Revise digital prototype for more levels:
      Make your Canvas, GameHandler, and other key
         repeating elements into Prefabs.
      Game Tutorial Levels: Introduce player abilities one
         at a time in early levels as a series of progressively
         more complex and challenging experiences.
         Focus on Player Skills tested in each challenge.
      Test game clarity and fun with >2 new players.
      Post webGL Builds to itch.io, and URL in Piazza hw11team.

    Individually:
    MID-PROJECT PEER EVALUATIONS
    (Give each teammate a unique integer for points.
    Save as a .DOC or .TXT, rename with your name and game name, and Post to Canvas):
    3 members   |   4 members   |   5 members   |   6 members   |   7 members
    MEET A DESIGNER:
        Ken Levine (Bioshock): Narrative Legos   |   Career Interview 2017
        Peter Molyneux (Fable, Black and White) The Rebirth Of Design
    LECTURE: Level Design 3: Encounter Building
      Encounter Design and Multiple Player Personas.
      In-Class Assessment of Functional Pitch Prototypes:
         Is the game fun? Is it a gloriously catastrophic flop?
         What radical steps can be taken to have a fun game by end of term?
      User Interface Design considerations.
    EXERCISE:
         Level Design for encounter arc and multiple player personas.
         Game testing. Meet as teams to plan next production stages.




    What do your players want?
    Design for your target audience: Player Personas, rich feedback.
    This short SNL skit exemplifies designer/player intention conflict.


    See these articles on Lighting Design and Implementation:
    "Functional Lighting"
    "Level Design Lighting Theory"
    "Lighting in Unity3D"






    WEEK 12 MATERIALS:
    PowerPoint #12: Lighting and Encounter Building
    Design for Improvisation: Uncharted 2

    Lighting and Post-Processing Resources
    Lighting makes a big difference in the feel of a game. Solid black shadows can feel outdated and uninviting.

      Intro to LightMaps (15 min vid)
      Intro to Global Illumination (10 min vid)
      Intro to Light Probes for both baking lights and shadows for both static and dynamic objects (10 min vid)
      Try this tutorial on Post-Processing for better 2D lighting using URP (Universal Render Pipeline)

    HOMEWORK #12:
    Teams:
    Revise Game based on testing assessment.
      Add more Levels: tutorial and increasing challenges.
      Add Audio: Music and SFX.
      Set volume in Pause Menu
      Add Art: Scene, Player / Object Animation, and UI.
      Test game fun with at least two new players.
      Post webGL Builds to itch.io, URL in Piazza hw12team.

    Individually:
    PERSONAL REPORT #5:
    What you took on, what you completed. Who helped you and who you helped. List of research links read/watched. Related screenshots.
    Post to Canvas.
    MEET A DESIGNER:
        Jonathan Blow:Prototyping for Indies and How To Design Deep Games (Braid, The Witness)
        IGN Game Changer interview
    LECTURE: Marketing 1, Player Feedback and Game Feel
    1. Adding Better Feedback: Game Feel techniques and brainstorming

    2. Designing UI / UX elements

    3. Marketing #1: How to identify press, contests, conferences and other entities for targeted marketing plan.
    Types of marketing materials and expected elements of each: website, gameplay trailer, press release narrative and icon.
    Factoring audience into the design of marketing materials. How can the intended user of the website influence the design and presentation? Managing a Conference table to support press and customer experience. The all-important follow-up.

    4. Team-Peer Playtesting Sessions


    Student Sample 1:
    Red vs Blue
    website and game trailer:



    Student Sample 2:
    Midnight Cleaning Company
    website and game trailer



    Adding Marketing:
    Marketing Color Choices
    Marketing Color Theory

    Press Releases:
    Industry example and review: Dejobaan Games
    Sample student project: Cat-astrophe



    WEEK 13 MATERIALS:
    PowerPoint #13

    Adding Game Feel:
    Unity Tools like Screen shake, color change, etc
    A tour of common Game Feel Techniques.
    Mark Brown's intro video on Game Feel
    Juice it or Lose it (Breakout Game Feel demo)
    Game feel case study/interview: Celeste
    Make better buttons (1 min)
    Game Feel by Steve Swink (great text, Ch 1)

    Game User Interface Design:
    Get inspired: Massive archive of Game UI samples
    Intro to Game UI
    Intro to Game User Experience (UX)
    Games That Can be Understood at a Glance
        by Zach Gage: article and video
    List of Best Practices
    Use cases: Good and Bad Game UI
    Design process, including influences

    HOMEWORK #13:
    Teams:
    Revise game for more levels, with attention to difficulty curve and tutorializing. If your game is hard for you, it is too hard for your players!
    Add more art, audio, and levels.
    Prepare 1st draft Marketing Materials: Gameplay Trailer, Game Icon, Wix Website design showing trailer, game link, screenshots, description, and team pics.
    Post webGL build to itch.io, post link and drafts of marketing materials to Piazza hw9team.

    Individually:
    Typed PERSONAL REPORT #6: What you took on, what you completed. Who helped you and who you helped. Links you used. Related screenshots.

    Typed PLAYTEST REPORT:
    Please observe a new player trying your game for the first time, and report on what you learned!
    Post both to Canvas.
    MEET A DESIGNER:
        Sid Meier and Bruce Shelley: Classic Game Postmortem: Sid Meier's Civilization.
        IGN Game Changer interview
    LECTURE: Playtesting Sessions and Development Time, Marketing #2 and Materials Feedback.

    LIST OF FINAL DELIVERABLES:

    1. YOUR TEAM GAME!
    Playable on at least two machines (on one for VR games).
    Please include:
    Title Logo on MainMenu
    End Screens (win/lose/etc)
    Legible interface, with support graphics (framed in rectangles, with a buffer to the screen-sides)
    Art and Audio populated
    A pause menu in every scene to control audio volume and quit.
    Bugs fixed to the best of your ability (through much playtesting).

    2. OTHER DOCS:
    Final Peer/Self/Course Eval (please fill out completely)
    Playtest Report (please observe a playtest with at least one new player to make revisions, submit notes).
    Event write-up (extra credit).

    3. MARKETTING MATERIALS:
    Website with:
    Game Logo
    Gameplay Trailer
    3-6 Game Screenshots
    Team Pics, Bios, and Portfolio links
    Game Description (Press Release)
    Play and Download Links


    PRESENTATIONS:
    1 minute per person:
    What you created on the project
    What you learned
    What you enjoyed working with this team

    In person, optional:
    Printed game instructions for your table.


    REMEMBER: If you make downloadable builds instead of a webGL, the Mac one will be a single .APP file, but the PC build generates a Data folder, an EXE, and a .DLL, all of which needs to be put into a folder that is then .ZIP-ed and posted to the team itch.io for download.


    WEEK 14 MATERIALS:
    PowerPoint #14


    TRAILER EXAMPLES:
    Past Student projects:
    Beetle Royale (spring 2020)

    Industry Cinematic Trailers:
    (Adventure) World of Warcraft Shadowlands
    Team Fortress 2: Expiration Date
    Star wars Knights of the Old Republic
    (Horror) Dead Island Announcement
    (Horror) Metro, Last Light Mobius Trailer

    HOMEWORK #14:
    Teams:
    Submit Final Prototypes:
    Populate final levels/polish final assets.
    For non-VR games, show on at least 2-4 computers, and provide concise, play instructions (printed, pictures optional).
    Revise marketing materials: Website with Game Logo, Gameplay Trailer, Screenshots of key moments, Description, Team Bios/Pic, download links for PC and Mac.

    Individually:
    Prepare your 1-minute presentation:
    (a) Your role on the game (what you are most proud of having created), (b) what you learned working on this project, (c) What you enjoyed working with this team.

    ALSO: Fill out forms for FINAL PEER EVALUATION, including Self, TAs, and Course notes. Give each teammate a unique integer for points. Save as a .DOC or .TXT, rename with your name and game name. Post to Canvas day after final class:
    3-Members   |   4-Members   |   5-Members   |   6-Members   |   7-Members
    MEET A DESIGNER:
        Chris Crawford (founder of Game Developer's Conference):
          1992 Dragon Speech and 1989 Whip Speech

        Mark Brown's Game Maker's Toolkit: How to Pace a Game Trailer
    Time to celebrate your creations!
    Please post your final builds by the night before, Monday May 6!

    5:30pm - 9pm
    5:30pm-6pm: Start Playing
    6pm-7pm: Official Playtesting!
    7pm-8:45pm: Team Presentations!
    8:45pm-9pm: Final Farewell!




    You are encouraged to meet once with your team after the final presentations to make any final revisions and fixes before your game is added to the course archive!


    Want to take your passion for games further?
    Learn more here!
    Schedule subject to change per class needs. Please coordinate with teammates
    AND instructor if you will be absent to confirm assignments.


     
      REQUIRED TEXTS:
    The Art of Game Design:
    A Book of Lenses

    by Jesse Schell

    (1st reading assigned week #1)

    OTHER SUGGESTED READING:
    A Game Design Vocabulary by Anna Anthropy and Naomi Clark

    Reality is Broken
    by Jane McGonigal

    (Reading assigned week #2)

    Game Feel by Steve Swink

    COURSE SOFTWARE/HARDWARE:
    Download and install:
    (1) Game Engine: Unity3D: 2022.2.21
    (April 22, 2022 build in the archive)
    :
    Download Unity Hub and our Engine version from the archive. Run the program, create a free account.
    Also choose a free scripting IDE.
    The teacher likes Note++ (PC) or Atom (Mac). Or VS can download with Unity.
    (Needed week 1)

    (2) 2D Software: Adobe Photoshop: textures, background art, tilesets and sprites. Monthly subscription of just PS is $10/month. Or, get a free 7-day trial
    (Needed week 3)

    (3) 3D Software: Blender.
    Open source, forever free.
    (needed week 4)

    (4) Collaboration: GitHub Desktop App: Each team should use GitHub to collaborate on their Unity game. This app allows for easy file management.
    (Needed week 4)

    (5) Tabletop: PlayingCards.io: We will use this excellent, free tool to collaborate and playtest your tabletop games online!

    (6) Audio: Audacity: Audio editing for sound FX and voice recordings.


    IMPORTANT HARDWARE:
    Please bring a 3-BUTTON MOUSE to all classes! (Needed week 1)


    OPTIONAL ART TOOLS:
    a) Digital drawing tablets/pens are available in Halligan for takeout, or get your own Wacom Intuos tablet (basic model $70).

    b) Pyxel Edit: For 2D Sprite Animation, consider learning this elegant tileset tool ($9 one-time purchase). See these notes by Ralfi Salhoun.


    Want to learn AUTODESK MAYA instead of BLENDER?:
    Autodesk Maya Is the most commonly used 3D art/animation software. It is free for one year with student .EDU email and proof of enrollment. Works on both Mac and PC. Register and stay logged in the open Autodesk site for the download AND installation process. Intro 3D Modeling (30 minute on mesh modeling)
    CHARACTER MODELING: Amelia Erhart:
        Rough Forms (35 minutes)
        Body/Head Details (45 minutes)
        Hair/Accessories (40 minutes)
        Unwrapping/Texturing (60 minutes)
    CHARACTER RIGGING:
        Basic: Joints   Advanced: IK/Controls | Feet/Hands | Face/Eyes | Constraints

      REQUIRED DOCUMENTS:

    DESIGN DOCUMENTS:
    Weeks 1-7: Instructions

     
    PERSONAL REPORTS:
    Weeks 8-14: PPR Instructions
    PPR Template

    PLAYTEST REPORT:
    Week 13: Observe at least one new player trying your game. Consider revisions for clarity and to encourage desired behavior.
    Instructions   |   example questions

     
    OPTIONAL NETWORKING EVENTS:
    Attend at least 1 event online this term
    to learn about the game industry.
    Submit a Write-up


    TABLETOP GAMES:
    Keep your design docs concise: One page of text! See this example by N. Greenberg:



    Class Photo & Poster
    from the first class, 2015
    (19 of the 30 students):

     

    MORE GAME DESIGN LEARNING RESOURCES AND MEDIA:
    Tufts Game Design Club
    MORE SUGGESTED READINGS:
    Game Design Narrative Architecture by Henry Jenkins
    Digital Games History by J. Kirriemuir
    Why We Play Games by N. Lazzaro
    Level-Design.org: Articles

    Gamasutra read game dev articles by Game Industry Pros!

    GDC Vault: Watch free video talks by industry professionals from past Game Developer Conferences.

    Indie Developer Survival Skills
    GDC talk by Jake Birkett


    Learn about modern card games and board games through entertaining playtest videos
    featuring Hollywood celeb geeks.

    Game Developers of Color:
    Jerry Lawson celebration
    Game Devs of Color Expo / Talks
    Indie games created by POC 2022

    Design Theory and Reviews
    in fast-paced videos

    Celebrations of developers and Gaming culture:

    Ian Schreiber "Why You Hate Your Design Work
    And What You Can Do About It)
    "
    "Indie Game the Movie"
    Trailer   |   Film ($6)
    Podcast on Games Culture: Robert Ashley's
    A Life Well Wasted
    1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7
    Discussions on the dark side of "Gamer" culture:
    "This is Phil Fish" a video essay by Innuendo Studios Feminist Frequency Tropes vs Women by Anita Sarkeesian
    GamerGate Analysis:
    Essays by Innuendo Studios:
    1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
    GamerGate in 2016-2017:
    Samantha Bee
     
    GAME STORYTELLING:
    If you want to explore branching narrative in its purest form, take a look at Interactive Fiction:
    Read Lost Pig
    Learn about IF on Zarf's Page
    3 Articles: Explainer | Choice of Games | Branching Narrative
    Finally, try TWINE: Learn and Create!
    Rise of the Videogame Zinesters by Anna Anthropy

     
    Projects
    There are three smaller paper game projects, a Midterm "practice" digital game, and and a Final digital game prototype.
    For each smaller game you will form a new team for two weeks.
    "Mechanics-Based Game" Team A, due week 2
    "Radical Revision" Team A, due week 3
    "Workplace Games," Tabletop Team B, due week 4
    "Workplace Games," Unity Team B, due weeks 5-7

    Final Project: Digital Game Prototype
    For the final project you will work with the same final team for two months, starting week 7. Together you will design and create a prototype of a digital game using the Unity game engine (Note: all listed dates subject to change).
    Design and Preproduction due weeks 8-9
    Initial Prototype Production due weeks 10-12
    Revised Prototype
    and Initial Marketing Materials
    due weeks 13-14
    Final Prototype Project
    and Marketing Materials
    due Final Meeting

    SEVEN TUTORIALS:
    There are six required tutorials to support your tech learnign in this course. Fopr exach, please submit screenshots showing completeion, all in a single Classwork thread on the course forum.
    Intro Unity 2D / C# due week 2
    Photoshop "Card" due week 3
    Intro Unity 3D due week 4
    Blender Tree due week 5
    TA Unity Tech Demo due week 7
    Audio SFX Clip due week 9
    BLB Level due week 11

    DOCUMENT SUBMISSION
    Please post all TEAM assignments using the course PIAZZA SITE forum (starting week #2, email the teacher for an invite).
    This includes Game Build Links, Design Documents, your team ARG, and your ideas for Final Project pitches.

    Please post SOLO work to the course CANVAS.
    This includes 7 Tutorials, 6 Personal Progress Reports, 3 Peer Evaluations, Playtesting Report, and the optional Industry Event Write-up.

    Critiques
    This course includes in-class and emailed feedback. In-class feedback is on playable prototypes after in-class playtesting. Emailed feedback will occur after more in-depth playtesting outside of class.

    Most projects will be evaluated for the following:
    • CLARITY: Are the instructions, mechanics, and visuals concise and easy to understand? In the digital games, are player abilities and goals progresively on-ramped?
    • INNOVATION: What new/ exciting/ challenging gameplay mechanics are included to stimulate interest?
    • IMMERSION: Is the story compelling (setting, action framing, art, and music)?
    • FLOW: Does the player feel constantly productive, able to act and have those actions matter every turn? (Sense of agency, able to advance their agenda). In the final game, we are also looking for a reasionable difficulty curve to support medium-skilled players.
    • FIERO: Multiple big victory moments for players? (sense of achievement, especially against the odds)
    Please Note: this scale is to evaluate the strength of the games, but your grade for each project is as much for your collaboration with each other and experimentation and risk-taking in your design and development as its success as a game.

    All games before week 7 are pass-fail; Make the game (as fun as you can) with all of your team's participation and you get full credit.

    TEAMWORK
    All students are expected to enter into teamwork in good faith, with every intention of the following:
        Communicate with teammates daily
        Attend all classes
        Attend at least 1 out-of-class team meeting a week
        Submit significant progress to the team project every week
    The Peer Evaluations help to support this expectation.
    Please listen to each other, be kind, and communicate problems to the teacher for help.

    Grading
    30% - Class Participation (attendance, in-class work, and professional manner. Participation in at least 3 labs and attendance at one or more Games Industry event).
    30% - Weekly Homeworks (team and individual submissions. PPRs, Tutorials. You are expected to contribute production assets to your team games EVERY week).
    20% - Peer Evaluations (weeks 12 and at Final Presentations).
    20% - Final Game Presentations (A final Unity Game Prototype and related marketing materials at end of term are required to complete the course).

     
    ONLINE COMMUNICATION POLICY

    ONLINE CLASS LINK
    A Zoom link is emailed to all students enrolled in the course. We will use this same link for office hour meetings with the teacher and TAs.
    Please Note:
  • Please only join this link for class if you have a medical emergency and you havw arranged it with the teacher that day.
  • Zoom will record classes automatically. The teacher can make these available as needed.

    When not on break, you are asked to be at a laptop, desktop, phone, or tablet with your cameras on, if at all possible.
    Please allow your focus to be on the class in progress by closing email, social media, entertainment, or other classes.

    VIRTUAL BACKGROUNDS: Using a virtual background is fine. I recommend the Studio Ghibli collection
    Subtly animated backgrounds are fine as well. Please avoid dramatically animated backgrounds that could be a distraction.
    Naturally, please choose visuals appropriate to a professional artistic setting (this may seem obvious to many of you, but I have had some unfortunate surprises show up).

    Please be on mute when you are not speaking, so background noises do not disrupt the audio.
    Unmute (press spacebar) to speak. Relevant questions, statements, links, etc. can also be typed in the chat.
    Please contribute to the class discussions in a professional manner. Please frame feedback positively and constructively, be mindful to not insult others, and do your best to avoid exclusionary language.
  •  
    FINAL PROJECTS FROM PAST SEMESTERS OF TUFTS GAME DESIGN:
     
     
    SPRING 2024

    Your games
    will go here!
     
     
    FALL 2023

    SPRING 2023

    FALL 2022


    SPRING 2022

    FALL 2021
    SPRING 2021

    FALL 2020

    SPRING 2020

    FALL 2019

    SPRING 2019
    FALL 2018

    SPRING 2018

    FALL 2017

    FALL 2016

    SPRING 2015

     
    TAKE YOUR GAMES FURTHER AFTER THE COURSE IS DONE!

    Learn about Game Industry job opportunties: GrackleHQ.com
    Boston area Game Studios (incomplete list), world GameDev Map
    Some of the projects created in this course each term could be continued and shown to the public at festivals.

    Showing your game at a festival can be a rewarding experience! Learning to speak about your creation with others can be enormously valuable, and watching strangers enjoy your creation is very exciting.

    Not every project should be continued, and your teachers are ultimately not the ones to decide this for you. If you are passionate about your project, you should consider continuing it.

    That said, if your teachers find the gamplay and immersive design particularly unique and compelling, we hope you will consider taking it further!

    How to submit to contests, festivals, and publishers!
    Most require a pitch video that succinctly and appealingly communicates the key mechanics and story premise of your game
  • A comprehensive doc about showing your game at Festivals, Expos, and Conventions by Ian Schreiber
  • More notes on how to pitch your game
  • More notes on making a great Pitch Video

    TABLETOP GAMES:
    Register with Board Game Geek, and search the forums for festivals and contests like GenCon (Indiana), PAX UNplugged (Philadelphia), and Spiel Essen (Germany).
    Board Game Geek's Big List of Tabletop Conferences.

    When your game has been thoroughly tested, consider submitting it to publishers (pitch, sell sheet, rulebook, prototype).
    See advice from Cardboard Edison, the BGDF, and these Facebook forums 1 | 2 | 3.
  • FESTIVALS AROUND BOSTON:
    MassDigi: (submit Jan/Feb, pitch Digital Games contest early March, winners get summer dev support). Also, internships.
    Boston Festival of Indie Games: ("BFIG" apply March/April, event in Sept). Apply to Tabletop or Digital!
    Connecticut Festival of Indie Games: (CT FIG) Apply to Tabletop or Digital!
    Penny Arcade Expo East
    ("PAX East", Spring. Submit to Showcase. Tickets sell out quickly in November, but are always available mornings in front of the conference from those who over-purchased).

    Consider applying to groups like the Indie Megabooth for more affordable tables and supportive community at larger conferences.


    FESTIVALS OUTSIDE OF BOSTON:
    SAAM ARCADE: Gaming competition through the Smithsonian.
    SXSW Gaming Festival: Gaming expo in a popular arts fest.
    Independent Game Festival: (IGF, apply in Fall for big indie games contest, announced at Game Developers Conference in SF in March).
    Games for Change: Serious games conference-- educational games and games for societal impact.
    IndieCade: Celebrates independent games from around the globe, October in LA.

    There are so many festivals and contests for indie games, and many new ones are created each year; look for events that are good fits for YOUR game!


    Last modified January 2024

    Course content and materials on this page © 2015-2024
    Projects © 2015-2024 staff and students of COMP150, COMP50, and COMP23