Syllabus

INTM-SHU 280
Topics in New Media & Entertainment
Video Games

Syllabus Version: 1.0
Number: INTM-SHU 280
Class Hours per Week: 2.5
Credits: 4
Semester: Fall 2016
Room Number: 823D
Website: http://ima.nyu.sh/video-games/
Notes: http://owenroberts.github.io/videogames
Documentation Blog: http://ima.nyu.sh/documentation/

Instructor: Owen Roberts
Email: obr208@nyu.edu
Section: 001
Meeting Times: Mon, Wed 4.15 PM – 5.30 PM
Lab Hours: Thu 3.15 PM – 4.30 PM in Room 503
Office Hours: 11am-2pm Tuesdays, Room 939

Notes: Course Repeatable for Credit. This course satisfies following: IMA:new media & entertainment/interactive art & entertainment and Skill Development(13-14) This course is reserved for IMA majors and it will be open to everyone beginning on April 18. This course focuses on video game design and development using Blender, a multi-purpose 3D computer graphics tool, and Unity, a popular 3D game engine.

Description

Students will learn the basics of 3D modeling, animation, lighting, materials and shaders, as well as the asset pipeline for Blender in the first ­7 weeks. Students will apply these skills to create a 3D animation project for the midterm. The second half of the class focuses on scripting and game development using Unity. Students will produce an interactive 3D game for their final projects. Class time will be split between discussions of video games and related media (including game history, mainstream and indie games, art games, and other interactive projects), presentation and critique of student work, as well as demonstrations using Blender and Unity.

Classroom Conduct

Classes begin promptly at the scheduled start time. Please arrive early so as not to be late. This class will be highly participatory with lectures being very conversational. You are invited and expected to contribute to in-class discussions.

Recreational use of phones, music players, video game systems and other portable electronic devices is forbidden. Laptops are allowed for note taking, in class work, as well as relevant research only. Activities not related to the class, such as recreational browsing of the internet, including all social media websites, email and instant messaging, game playing, and work for other classes, will not be permitted. Such activities are disrespectful to the instructor and distracting to others. Your laptop should always be closed whenever a fellow student is presenting.

Learning Objectives

At the completion of this course students will be able to demonstrate basic understanding of:

3d modeling and animation
Video game design, history and theory
Asset management for 3d media
3d materials, lights and shaders
Scripting for interaction and games in C# and JavaScript
Video game genres and platforms

Grading

Grades will be determined based on the following breakdown:

25% Attendance & Participation
25% Exercises & Reading Responses
20% Midterm Project
30% Final Project

Attendance & Participation

Attendance in all class sessions is mandatory. Unexcused absences or lateness will adversely affect your grade. NYU policy does permit members of any religious group to absent themselves from classes without penalty when required for compliance with their religious obligations. If you are going to miss a class, it is your responsibility to make up the material you miss. Please let the instructor know ahead of time so that he/she can help you determine how to make up the material.

Your participation in this class is essential. Not only does it allow the instructor to gauge your interests and get to know you as an individual, but it also allows the instructor to assess your understanding of important concepts. It also provides the instructor with an opportunity to learn from your work. As a result, attendance and participation make up a meaningful percentage of your grade. Unexcused absence in more than three classes and / or labs will result in a failing grade.

Assignments and Readings

Each week will alternate between assignments and reading responses. Assignments are defined in the weekly schedule and vary weekly depending on the topics covered in class. All exercises are required, and should be documented on the documentation blog. Undocumented work will not be considered complete.  Reading responses should be written on the documentation blog.

Midterm Project

The midterm project will be a 3d animation presented as a video rendered from Blender or an interactive work in Unity. The midterm will demonstrate the basic concepts of modeling, lighting, materials and animation using Blender. The material from the midterm can but is not required to be used as the basis for the final interactive project. Midterm projects will be completed individually.

Final Project

The final project will a 3d video game. Each game will demonstrate use of the Blender to Unity 3d asset pipeline and scripting concepts for interaction. Games will be comprised visual, interactive, narrative and audio design.

The final project will begin with a conceptual proposal to be carried out over the last four to five weeks of class. Each stage of the process described in the proposal must be documented on the documentation blog.

Final projects may be completed individually or in groups of two.

Readings

Readings in the course will consist primarily of video tutorials for Blender and Unity as well as assignments to play various games. Some additional articles on games and game theory may be added throughout the semester.

Game Presentations

One student will present a game during each week of the semester.  This can be a favorite game, a least-favorite game, or just an interesting game.  Game should be something that other students can play before class, so freeware, public domain or easily shareable.  Following a short presentation there will be a discussion.

Software

Blender3D
Unity3D
Text editor (MonoDevelop or Sublime)
Photoshop
Audacity
Others TBA

Weekly Schedule

Week 1
Introduction to Blender3D
Game genres
Week 2
3D Modeling
Brief history of games
Week 3
Introduction to Blender to Unity Asset Pipeline
Art and games
Week 4
Materials, lighting and shaders
Week 5
Animation with keyframes
Building game worlds
Week 6
More animation
Week 7
Midterm animation due
Week 8
Introduction to Unity3D
Interaction
Week 9
Scripting for Unity3D
Emergence and Progression
Week 10
Sound for Unity3D
Narrative
Week 11
Physics
Week 12 – 13
Final project workshop
Week 14
Final projects due