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ATEC 3351.

Computer Game Development
University of Texas at Dallas School of Arts and Humanities Fall 2005

Instructor: Number: Title: Time: Location: Description: This course is intended to expose students to a real life business exercise in the computer simulation and game development industry. Using the interdisciplinary skills of writing, art, programming and engineering, students will have an opportunity to create a game concept, then working in a team develop a game design proposal, create a short demonstration of the team’s game concept and make a presentation to industry leaders in a “green light meeting”. Each assignment during the 15 week course will act as milestone deliverables that in conjunction with the class sessions will provide the students with the tools required to complete a successful project. This class is a unique experience giving student lead teams of artist, programmers, writers, and designers opportunity to develop a game or simulation idea from scratch into a potential software product. In the 2003-2004 school year of three semester’s, 80 students in 15 teams created and presented to industry leaders over 8 commercially viable projects. Previous projects include a puzzle game s, cell phone game s, role play games, educational game, and a first person shooter. The course is taught by a 19 year veteran of the interactive entertainment software industry. Topics will include industry overview, developing game concepts, design documents, business planning, team building, starting your own development company and how to get your first job. In addition to the course instructor there will be guest lectures from the local and national industry leaders and practitioners who will add to the real life experience. John Fowler, BFA, EMBA ATEC 3351.502 Computer Game Development Monday 3:30 pm to 6: 15 pm HRA 1.102


The course is designed to give you everything you need to succeed in class. The demonstration games can be developed in C++, Java and Flash. Please keep it simple this is not a programming course. There are a couple of game engines you can download from a few developer sites. Previous projects have been done using Flash, Open GL, Java, Unreal Tournament Mod tools and Visual Studio C++. The all important part: This class is about creating games and learning about the effort and skills necessary to do it successfully. It does not require vast programming skills or art skills. It does require an ability to open your mind to new ideas, work in and contribute to a team effort, and have fun doing it. The pervious class groups learned a lot and many of students had a smile on their face and sense of accomplishment after their green light meeting. You can too!!! Prerequisite: Experience with a computer programming language, 3D art creation with Maya or 3D Max, some basic animation skills, 2D art design with Illustrator and Photoshop, and writing skills.

There are eight deliverables required to complete the course. Each of the deliverables is a step or milestone in the process of game development and will enable you to successful complete your final project. From time to time homework assignments will be required to supplement in class lectures and learning. All deliverables are expected to be handed in on time is hardcopy and softcopy formats. Case Prep— read, do analyzes, and be prepared to discuss the assigned cases. This is an individual assignment. The assignment can be discussed in your team but participation is individual. You will be required to turn in a matrix format that will be discussed in class. Individual Game Concept Document—using techniques discussed in class each student will create a 2-3 page game concept document based on a game or simulation idea that interests them. Team Game Concept Document—team members will select from their individual game concept documents a game or simulation project to develop. Using techniques discussed in class they will modify the original document and submit it with a milestone


(project development schedule). A team may with approval elect to develop a team project that is different from concepts submitted by the individuals in the team. Required Milestones 1&2—milestones one and two are required reporting points during the semester to measure each team’s progress. This is a one page document that states what has been accomplished, were the project is behind, difficulties that the team may be having, and statement of lessoned learned. This project will also include the original schedule of milestones for comparison purposes. Project Beta Review—this is six to seven PowerPoint slides that outline your project progress with samples of concept art, screen shot of game play, user interface and a slide on the lessons you have learned. Team Game Design Proposals—teams will be assigned based on abilities and interest of students in the class. Each team member will submit and present their game concept to their team members for consideration. The team wills select a game project from the individual game concept developed by team members or may elect to develop a new concept they develop as a team. This proposal will form the basis for a short presentation of their game idea and demo in the green light meeting. Team Game Demo—each team will work together to design, produce and program a short demo of their game design for consideration during the green light meeting. This assignment is due along with the team presentation on December 1, 2004. The assignments will be loaded on a demo computer for the green light meeting. Green Light Meeting Presentation—this is the final exam. This is an opportunity for students to present their ideas to a panel of industry developers, publishers and buyers who decide what game products they will develop, publish and purchase. This presentation will take place in the School of management Building room 1.508 at from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm on April 27, 2005.

Good Game Bad Game Analysis EA Case Review and Prep Game Concept Document Final team concept document Film Making Case Review and Prep Required Milestone #1 Case Prep Stainless Steel Required Milestone #2 Beta Review and Presentation Game Design Proposal and Demo Due Date: 9/12/05 Due Date: 9/19/05 Due Date: 9/19/05 Due Date: 9/26/05 Due Date 9/26/05 Due Date 10/3/05 Due Date 10/10/05 Due Date 11/7/05 Due Date 11/21/05 Due Date 11/28/05 Percentage of Grade: 5% Percentage of Grade: 5% Percentage of Grade: 5% Percentage of Grade: 5% Percentage of Grade: 5% Percentage of Grade: 10% Percentage of Grade: 5% Percentage of Grade: 10% Percentage of Grade: 10% Percentage of Grade: 30%


Green Light Meeting Participation

Due Date 12/05/05

Percentage of Grade: 10% Percentage of Grade: 10%

I will be grading your deliverables based on design, marketability, quality of art, and strength of game concept document, completeness of your game development proposal, demo, and presentation. It is important to participate in classroom discussion and with your team, complete your assignments on time, and your project’s quality. Peer-Review has been added this school year. Each student will receive a peerevaluation form during the last class session. They will be asked to evaluate their fellow teammates. The purpose of peer-evaluation is two fold. One is to ensure that everyone participate on an equal basis in each team. The second is to ensure that everyone deliver their work product to the team. The peer-review is for information purposes providing the instructor with an insight into the team. It may or may not have an impact on individual grades. Additionally Assignments are due the day of class. I will accept hard copies of all assignments and would like soft copies of the presentation and game demo. Late assignments will be penalized one letter grade each week that they are overdue unless excused. In the real world they are going to charge you or it may cost you thousands of dollars per day for missing deadlines, so it is a good time to discipline yourself to on time delivery. Participation is based on showing up, contributing to your team and in classroom discussions.

Following the lead to the Registrars office all communication in this class will be via the students’ UTD EMAIL ACCOUNT. This will ensure that each student will receive email communication about class assignments, teacher feedback and changes in schedule. Starting on Friday January 14, 2005 this course will be set up on WebCT with each team having its own private work area. Students and the instructor will use WebCT for posting of class slides, materials and instructional chat sessions when required.


Class begins at 7:00 pm sharp and will run until 9:45 pm. Class sessions are roughly divided into three sessions with a short break between sessions. There will be time in most classes for teams to breakout in order to discuss and work their projects in class. I will have guest speakers at some of the classes who will impart valuable information that will help you develop your ideas and demonstrations. Final presentation will be made to a green light committee of game developers, industry professionals and fellow students from previous game development classes.

Instructor Name: Office Hours: Office Location: Mail Stop: Office Phone: E-Mail: John Fowler By appointment School of Management Building Executive Education Center Room 1.915 SM10 972-883-4697

Experience: I am a practitioner I am an 18 year veteran of the game industry and have held positions of increasing roles of responsibility for three major publishers. I have been responsible for video game sales calling on major retailers, managed multiple million dollar marketing budgets, managed marketing creative teams and launched several major video game titles. I have been CEO and founder of my own development company with five completed and published projects. (I will share many lessons learned with you in this class.) I have been involved with UTD School of Management the past ten years. I am currently working in the School of Management, Executive Education Department. I have taught graduate level project management and been the Director of the UTD EMBA program. I earned an EMBA in 1996 from UTD and I have a BFA from Manhattanville College.


Name: Office Hours: Office Location: Cell Phone: E-Mail: (1mb Limit)

Simon Hurley By appointment Off Campus 214-668-6849

Originally from the UK, Simon grew up in America and graduated from Florida State University (where playing and building levels for Doom nearly derailed his GPA). After graduate school, he spent several years as a corporate manager, a technical recruiter, and contract project manager, and worked for He was hired by Gearbox Software, where he now serves a dual role in human resources and production. Simon has guest lectured at The Guildhall, University of Texas at Dallas, and the Computer Game Conference.

During Class
There will be two breaks during the class, but in an emergency use your own discretion. Please do not cruise the internet or play games during the class unless it is to add something to the discussion. Guests are welcome. Please set all phones, pagers, and PDAs, to quiet mode. Making or answering calls in class are intrusive interruptions for me and your classmates. Please no calls or leaving during class to take a call.

School Closings
If the University closes, that information is immediately posted to the home page at The major radio and TV stations will also receive the and broadcast the information.

Disability Services facilitates the delivery of academic accommodations for students with disabilities. All new and returning students needing this service should contact Kerry Tate at 972-883-2098 before classes begin each semester, and should provide that office with a copy of their class schedule once registration is complete.


Scholastic Honesty
The university has policies and procedures regarding scholastic dishonesty. Detailed information is available at: All students are expected to maintain a high level of responsibility with respect to academic honesty. Students who violate university rules on scholastic dishonesty are subject to disciplinary penalties, including the possibility of failure in the course and/or dismissal from the university. Since such dishonesty harms the individual, all students and the integrity of the university, policies on scholastic dishonesty will be strictly enforced.
Disclaimer This syllabus is subject to change ----------------------------------------------------------------------