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Game Design

Academics . Game Design . Courses

Game Design Courses

Concept Development I

Course No. ANIM 201  Credits: 3.0
Faculty Bill Appledorn | Matthew Sweeney | Timothy Switalski

A core requirement to learn digital painting
in motion, scene design, character
development, technical direction, and
related animation production pipeline
standards for developing animated stories,
shorts, films, and animated cinematography.
This course examines the media production
requirements for animation students in
applied professional studios. This course
serves to develop the animator’s core
mechanics and vocabulary in the broad
areas of animation integrated workflow
(story conception, storyboarding, animatics,
motion studies, character flow and design,
scene, set, and props (look artists),
technical direction, and summary of
post-production flow) to meet industry
expectations and professional output.
Offered spring.

Intro to 3D Modeling

Course No. ANIM 345  Credits: 3.0
Faculty Lisa Tan

The course is designed to cover concepts in
digital 3D organic and device model
construction, whereby the virtual models
designed are rendered and composited for
2D illustration purposes to solve specific
conceptual problems. The subject matter
within the Game Design curriculum reflects
the development of characters, game
environments and specific assets for game
development. Students outside the Game
Design Major, are required to work with
subjects appropriate to their major field of
study for concept development and for long
term portfolio objectives. Projects include
concepts and workflow for constructing a
virtual 3D surface by: (1) defining the visual
problem within a concept sketch in
pre-production, (2) utilizing specific
introductory modeling methods to build the
3D illustration components, (3) the use of
basic lighting and rendered materials, (4)
export methods into Adobe Photoshop for
augmentation, finishing and final illustration
techniques and layout. Projects require the
student to gain and improve upon
conceptual skills, problem-solving in
specific media situations (digital 2D & 3D)
and technical proficiency at an introductory
level in 3D modeling.

Intro to Game Design

Course No. GAME 215  Credits: 3.0

Introduction to Game Design take students on an exploration of Gaming Theory and its practice through the development of physical games. Investigation includes game metaphor, story, game mechanics, and chance factors. Students will also analyze games and gameplay including the aesthetics of games and the design of their instructions. In this project based course students will produce fully implemented board games and card games. Offered fall.

Introduction to Video Games

Course No. GAME 216  Credits: 3.0
Faculty Jared Bendis

Game design allows artists to create meaningful play and interactive experiences. This introductory course, explores games through the development and creation of 2D video games. The course aims to provide a critical vocabulary and historical context for analyzing games and gaming theory and focuses on the skills and techniques necessary to incorporate game design into an ongoing art practice. Offered spring.

Game Testing + Level Design

Course No. GAME 318  Credits: 3.0

Game Testing and Level Design will be covered as player elements, the game play experience, creating world levels, creating the game interface and creating the atmosphere. In addition, students will learn how to create Game Content for commercial game engines and learn how to set up origination skills for commercial game engines. Students will learn how to create texturing mapping, brushes, light maps etc. Offered fall.

Game Media Production I (EP)

Course No. GAME 320  Credits: 3.0

The course is a project driven course jointly offered between CIA and Case Western Reserve University. Students will form production teams and collaborate using their talents and expertise to develop a working prototype computer game: having an interactive and immersive experience. Students will take on roles of game producers, developers, programmers, and designers. You will learn to brainstorm, design documentation, assemble resources, create assets, implement the game design, and manage their individual tasks and collective project. The course introduces students to the contemporary challenges posed by the ever-changing technologies used to make and deliver video games on today’s sophisticated hardware. This course will bring together an interdisciplinary group of advanced undergraduate students to focus on the design and development of a complete, fully functioning computer game prototype. The student teams are given complete autonomy to design their own fully functional games from their original brainstormed concept and research to a playable finished prototype, i.e., from the initial idea through to the designed game brand. The student teams will experience the entire game development cycle as they execute their projects. An excerpt of example responsibilities include (but not limited to): creating a game idea, writing a story, developing the artwork, designing characters, implementing music and sound effects, programming and testing the game, and documenting the entire project with a formal “Design Document” and demonstration with oral presentation. Offered fall. Fulfills Engaged Practice requirement.

Game Media Production II

Course No. GAME 321  Credits: 3.0
Faculty Harrison Walsh

This course serves as a continuation of the fundamentals and theory application of game development. The course materials and projects will help students understand how to further develop game concepts, mechanics, interaction design, and prototype the game through the use of animation and simple interactivity. The course will require students to work individually to design game narratives, concepts, design documents (art assets, technical assets and sounds assets) and demonstrate the playability of the prototype game. The course exposes students to examples of the current work and research in game theory and narrative design, which are integral to development of successful polished games. Students will be exposed to industry-specific games with the requirement to test, analyze and review. These examples along with specific lecture topics and materials, will allow the student to understand how to continue to develop their own game projects by learning specific research methods for understanding content, players and engagement strategies. This course does not require programming skill or experience per se; however it is understood that the student usage of Unity (in the Game Development SP2014 course,) and/or UDK may be used for projects with limitations on coded interactions and time constraints. If you wish to create a digital game but do not have technical experience to achieve the full results, you will be required to show an animation of the game concept and prototype in action, with narrative, character/environmental style, GUI, HUD, scoring, mechanics, level design, and instructional prompts. Alternately, you may choose to work on a non-digital game, which notes a similar level of complexity. Please note that this course welcomes both digital and non-digital games, but that the requirements and milestones for each type of game will be somewhat different and require the development of design related documentation, assets and research. Offered spring.

Introduction to Game Development

Course No. GAME 322  Credits: 3.0
Faculty Anthony Calabro

The course is designed to teach students about the various elements of game development. Students will work to utilize modern tools to develop 2D/3D graphical assets into an interactive game engine through the use of programming. A focus will be applied to skill learning while additional topics and theory will be covered to provide a well-rounded experience.

Meet Your Faculty view all

Harrison Walsh stingray01.jpgfountain.jpg

Harrison Walsh


Harrison Walsh has been a member of the Cleveland Institute of Art's Game Design Department since 2013. He gra...more

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