Students need to be prepared for a rapidly changing industry. When student arms themselves with the theory and ability to adapt to new tools they can succeed where others will stumble. At the University of Connecticut, I am concentrating on the development of the Digital Media and Design Game Design concentration curriculum from the ground up. Game Design is a very new field, with most game design schools and majors opening their doors within the last ten years. My focus is to create effective instructional material that gives students a broad understanding of how to develop games while fostering student creativity to compete in a changing industry.

Game Development learning occurs through the development of games through fast iteration and through consistent work critique by peers and consumers. Through personal relationships and tactful critiques, I make it clear that their success widely rests on the student’s shoulders. I implement the majority of my courses through group work and experiential learning. Students engage in hands-on classroom learning and are expected to ask questions and work on problems in real time. In the classroom, I guide my students through breaking down problems and creating solutions.

One of the most valuable skills is to be flexible with what technologies you use to implement a game design. For instance I expose students to multiple toolsets including pen and paper, board games, C++, and other less traditional toolsets like twitter. Students also engage in class group discussion which not only fosters the critical evaluation of games, but also nurtures communication and friendship between students. Finally, students must develop projects in a public setting using online forums to get real time feedback from other developers.

My goal is empower every student to be maker. Games are a huge field and they are utilized for many different purposes. Part of my job is to draw out students strengths so that they can make work that can impact their own communities and serve their own interests. Student creativity is one of the most valuable elements within a games program. Ideally, every student that works through my courses should be able to make a game that contributes to the overall discussion about the place of games in the world.

Most importantly my job is to adapt to the students. Not every person communicates or absorbs information in the same way. I have learned this over many years developing projects with programmers, artists, and executives. Our job is to get that information across through any means necessary whether we use targeted readings or a pantomime performance. My passion is reaching out to expand someone’s mind to give them better perspective and I share a little bit of myself each time I am successful.

Intro to Game Scripting

Students are introduced to the fundamentals of gameplay scripting utilizing a current game engine. At the end of this course students will have a basic understanding of scripting concepts, and constructs like numbers, strings, assignment, loops, functions, arrays, and available engine commands.

Intro to Digital Game Design

An introduction to the principles of game design and development. Explore the history of the industry, investigate story and game mechanics, develop creativity skill, and design and develop and educational video game and working prototype as part of a final project.

3D Virtual World & Simulations

Applying the basic fundamentals of game mechanics to develop an educational video game or simulation inside a 3D virtual world. Explore current virtual worlds, learn basic scripting and modeling techniques, and use the principal of role-playing video games to teach a learning objective for a K-12 classroom.

Game Production

This course provides a practical investigation into the successful management of video game projects. Students in the course will be required to develop budgets and asset management plans, and evaluate risk of game development options. As part of the design process, participants will explore relationship management and team management, investigate the business aspect of the video game industry, and deliver a series documents as part of the development of a video game project. Students who excel in this course will gain the tools to help them succeed as game producers, team leaders, and small business owners.

Interactive Storytelling

Introduction to the principles of story development for video games.

Explore what elements constitute a story and what functions these have in the development of a game. Investigate character generation as the design and develop a role-playing fantasy video game.

Advanced Digital Game Design & Development

Advanced study and application of digital game design and development, programming, 3D game environments, game testing, human computer interaction, quality assurance, publishing.

Game System Design

Students participate in the design of game systems, economies, and integrating their designs within the rulesets of existing tabletop and digital games.

Multiplayer Game Development

Students in the multiplayer game design course examine an array of gameplay interactions and how different types of interactions create a different experience for players. Students create a multiplayer map based in a relevant game engine that adheres or modifies the core mechanics to create a new game experience.

Disruptive Technologies

Students in this course will explore new or novel interactive technologies, creating rapid fire prototypes utilizing experimental hardware and software. These skills enable students to develop interactive art installations, museum exhibits, and unique gameplay scenarios.