Welcome to Video Game Design

If you have never played a video game, where have you been? Left behind on the Moon after the first landing and only found your way back to Earth just now? Seriously, if you want to find out how video games are developed, if you want to appreciate the diversity of skills that goes into making a captivating game, and if you want to ponder how video games have changed society, this is the place to be! Let the games begin!


Catalog Description: A broad survey course in video game design (as opposed to mathematical game theory), covering artistic, technical, as well as sociological aspects of video games. Students will learn about the history of video games, archetypal game styles, computer graphics and programming, user interface and interaction design, graphical design, spatial and object design, character animation, basic game physics, plot and character development, as well as psychological and sociological impact of games. Students will design and implement an experimental video game in interdisciplinary teams of 3–4 students as part of a semester-long project.

Corequisite: You must enroll in both 601.255: Introduction to Video Game Design and 601.256: Introduction to Video Game Design Lab. There are no exceptions!

Prerequisite(s): Hard to pin down exactly, but students are expected to be at least sophomores; students (presumably from WSE) taking on engineering roles should have taken 601.220: Intermediate Programming and 601.226: Data Structures; students (presumably from KSAS/MICA) taking on art/design roles should have taken at least one (but preferably two or more) multimedia-related courses.

Policies: Please read the general course policies and take them to heart. Additional policies specific to this course may be posted at a later date.

Piazza: We use Piazza for class discussion and course announcements. Make sure you're signed up!


Lecture: Monday, Wednesday, 4:30 pm – 5:45 pm
Location: 17 Gilman Hall

Lab: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Location: 107 Malone Hall


  • Assignments (about 13): 65%
  • Presentations (about 3): 20%
  • Peer Review (about 3): 15%

Presentations (Tentative)

  • Alpha Presentation: Wednesday, October 4, 2017, 4:30 pm – 5:45 pm
  • Beta Presentation: Wednesday, November 8, 2017, 4:30 pm – 5:45 pm
  • Gold Presentation: Friday, December 15, 2017, 9:00 am – noon


  1. Develop a software system in small teams.
  2. Design and implement a complete video game.
  3. Plan, manage, and document a software development project.
  4. Present status updates, project overviews, technical topics.