Laguna College of Art and Design

Course Listings

Mechanics Based Game Analysis

Course ID: GA500
Course Credits: 3
Requirement: E
Course Description:
This course provides a comprehensive exploration of game design mechanics. It starts with a grounding in the game design fundamentals of flow, simplicity, and choice. It then expands into the full lexicon of game design techniques such as motivation, mystery box, interest curve, Zeigarnik effect, convexity, loss aversion, habit loops, Skinner boxes, and squares, circle, and triangles. Students will deconstruct existing games, design new games, and explore the art, science, and practice of game design mechanics.

Prototyping

Course ID: GA501
Course Credits: 3
Requirement: E
Course Description:
This course covers critical skills necessary to construct agile and iterative prototypes for the purpose of establishing credibility in chief mechanical concepts and technological approaches. Students will learn to create thorough requirements listings, construct and dissect systems, write technical literature, build architectural and-case diagrams, build simple prototypes using visual and non-visual scripting methodologies, and industry standard deployment practices. Students will be exposed to the technical process by which qualities that are deemed desirable and _fun? are iteratively procured, refined, and eventually transformed into full production-scale endeavors.

Game Production

Course ID: GA502
Course Credits: 2
Requirement: R
Course Description:
This course covers the processes and methodologies by which video game development studios operate. Students will learn the various stages of video games production and the steps required to develop the infrastructure to support a production pipeline. Focusing on agile and iterative techniques, students will be introduced to Scrum software processes, formulate sprints, establish milestone centric timelines, and build budget and effort forecasts and reports. This course will also introduce students to pipeline optimization techniques, third-party and outsourcing, and quality assurance integration.

Comparative Engine Technology

Course ID: GA503
Course Credits: 3
Requirement: R
Course Description:
This course is a comparative review of multiple game engines where the objective is to develop the skills necessary to evaluate the evolving software. The course is expected to cover run time, tool chain, and data pipelines to help fully understand how to utilize multiple engines. Game engines each have individual methods that make them optimal for specific situations. It is imperative that students learn to pick the engine that is best suited to the task at hand. Along with these tools, the course will incorporate the _hard? and _soft? limits in relation to resource distribution in hardware. Resources allocated within a game are not infinite, and it is up to the lead designer, along with the team as a whole, to properly distribute the assets available. An example of resource management includes memory allocation. The course will cover the necessary limitations due to technology, and the compromises necessary between the team leads. Technical knowledge dealing with extensibility and tools development will also figure prominently in the course. Extensibility and tools development both refer to extending the life of software through add-ons. These satisfy the demands of users without completely changing the basic structure of the software.

Meaningful Games

Course ID: GA504
Course Credits: 6
Requirement: R
Course Description:
This course combines game studies, philosophy and game design with the purpose of exploring what (video) games are and ways in which they can be meaningful. The course will be a 50/50 combination of theory and practice and will provide students with a stronger footing in the elaboration of their thesis proposition. The main goal for the theoretical side of the course is to provide a number of different perspectives regarding materializing meanings and messages in artifacts (regardless of their digital qualities) and what the role of the (game) designer is in this pursuit.

Game Audio

Course ID: GA506
Course Credits: 2
Requirement: R
Course Description:
This course will enable students to record, edit, and manipulate music, sound effects, and dialogue assets for a game engine. Digital audio software and workstations are used to familiarize students with the rudimentary skills of audio signal flow and the audio creative process. Students will import their finalized audio assets into a game engine using industry methods and suitable programming skills to implement the audio assets.

Specialized Programming

Course ID: GA507
Course Credits: 2
Requirement: E
Course Description:
Specialized programming will address the specific needs of the current cohort of MFA candidates and will be determined after the first year.

Thesis Development

Course ID: GA508
Course Credits: 2
Requirement: R
Course Description:
Through an in-depth focus on the masters of game design and their methodologies, techniques and process, students begin to formulate a vocabulary and a dialog to create a supportive document for their thesis game. Students in Art of Game Design create an innovative and theoretically informed body of work that is exhibited in a manner and context that supports its creative content. In the thesis, students will produce a written component that addresses the theoretical premise of the work.

Special Topics in Game Design

Course ID: GA509
Course Credits: 3
Requirement: E
Course Description:
This lecture course provides an open topic in the newest innovations in the field of game design.

Game Aesthetics and Sensory Perception

Course ID: GA511
Course Credits: 2
Requirement: E
Course Description:
This course examines the psychology of visual language and emotional perception. Spatial and visual imagery perception and psychology of creativity will also be studied.

Scale + Scope in Project Development

Course ID: GA512
Course Credits: 3
Requirement: E
Course Description:
In this course students will learn to spot when a project is getting away from the simple idea. Students will develop tools to help them stay on track and keep gameplay focused on the core experience.

Particle Systems + Advanced Lighting

Course ID: GA513
Course Credits: 3
Requirement: E
Course Description:
This course focuses on bringing the world to life with subtle movements and grand lighting. Students will examine how adding bits of dust and pollen into the air, leaves trickling from the trees and smoke billowing from the trenches are finishing touches that can really make a scene dynamic. Students will learn to add in the right mood and colors to give worlds a great living composition.

Tool Theory

Course ID: GA514
Course Credits: 3
Requirement: E
Course Description:
In this course, students will learn to use a variety of tools to help streamline their work. Consideration will be given to how to spot bottlenecks and identify the best solutions to keep on task.

Prototyping 1

Course ID: GA515
Course Credits: 2
Requirement: R
Course Description:
This class will cover critical skills necessary to construct agile and iterative prototypes for the purpose of establishing credibility in chief mechanical concepts and technological approaches. Students will learn to create thorough requirements listings, construct and dissect systems, write technical literature, build architectural and-case diagrams, build simple prototypes using visual and non-visual scripting methodologies, and industry standard deployment practices. Students will be exposed to the technical process by which qualities that are deemed desirable and _fun? are iteratively procured, refined, and eventually transformed into full production-scale endeavors.

Player Centric Design

Course ID: GA516
Course Credits: 2
Requirement: R
Course Description:
Players differ across many dimensions: demographics, personality, culture, interests, experiential preference, social proclivity, flow comprehension and technical sophistication. Successful live games are now lifestyle experiences that last years. As a result, _one size fits all? player bucketing by genre no longer works to adequately inform successful game designs. In this cross-disciplinary course, the instructors will explore the relationship between players and game design from a _player first? perspective. The course will focus on the intersection between player psychology and traditional mechanics and systems-based game design. Topics will include discussions on the _whole equation? of game design beginning with the way our brains work, transitioning to a deep dive on player types, genres and segmentation and include discussions on live game management and feature expansion, UX for different demographics, feature design as a vehicle for user acquisition and analytics beyond standard KPIs for understanding player behavior. The goal of the course is to give players an understanding of the _why? aspect of game design and enable them to create games that are designed from the beginning to delight their target audiences.

Prototyping II

Course ID: GA565
Course Credits: 2
Requirement: E
Course Description:
This class continues the process of analyzing and planning to bring theorized game design concepts to a testable and verifiable state through constructing prototypes.. Students will learn to create thorough requirements listings, construct and dissect systems, write technical literature, build architectural and-case diagrams, build simple prototypes using visual and non- visual scripting methodologies, and industry standard deployment practices. Students will be exposed to the technical process by which qualities that are deemed desirable and _fun? are iteratively procured, refined, and eventually transformed into full production-scale endeavors.

Production Studio 1

Course ID: GA605
Course Credits: 6
Requirement: R
Course Description:
Production studio 1 will connect the candidate with the undergrad pipeline to recruit their team and begin the production cycle. Candidates will begin the process of applying knowledge from their classes in management and production to begin the prototyping and pitch phase of their thesis games.

UI/UX Design for Unity

Course ID: GA606
Course Credits: 3
Requirement: R
Course Description:
In this course students will learn to balance what is on the screen so players feel empowered by information rather than burdened with it. Students will examine player interaction and learn techniques to create a bettere experience.

Advanced Game Development

Course ID: GA610
Course Credits: 2
Requirement: R
Course Description:
Advanced Game Project is a milestone reporting and trouble shooting session to support GA605. Meetings will be with the chair and the student's mentor. The deliverables for both classes created during fall semester are the foundation for materials to be polished in the spring semester. The main goal is to develop a playable demonstration of the core design and the approved scoped features for the game. This game should be installable, intuitive and functional so that a player can pick up and play. Meetings will help guide the student towards the creation of a cohesive thesis package. The chair/executive producer will receive from the designer; weekly team reports for each sprint.

Production Studio 2

Course ID: GA655
Course Credits: 6
Requirement: R
Course Description:
Final Production studio for completion and testing of game projects.