Laguna College of Art and Design

Course Listings

Prototyping 1

Course ID: GA501
Course Credits: 2
Requirement: R
Course Description:
s course 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. 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 will expose students to a wide range of processes?and methodologies?by which game development studios operate in a Production Capacity. Students will study different game production methodologies by implementing and using these methodologies?directly in their projects both real and fictional. Students will be expected to use modern software to create task lists, risk management analysis, user stories, create and execute sprints, create and understand budgets as well as forecasts and reports. Students will be participating in honing both the hard and soft skills of Game Production.?

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 delve into working hands on, within the engine, to develop the skills necessary to evaluate the evolving software. The class is expected to cover run time, tool chain, and data pipelines to help fully understand and utilize multiple engines within the in-class projects. 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 each project. Along with learning to master 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 and game design with the purpose of exploring what (video) games are and ways in which they can be socially, as well as personally, meaningful as tools for expression and persuasion. Through the iterative production and critical evaluation of board-game and card-game prototypes, the main goal for the course is to provide a number of different perspectives as to how games can be artefacts designed to transform players, explain notions, and engage in socio-cultural discourse. Although it chiefly addresses practical competencies such as concept development, prototyping, and documentation, part of the didactical offer of this module involves engaging with texts and notions coming from the academic fields of game studies and design studies.

Specialized Programming

Course ID: GA507
Course Credits: 2
Requirement: R
Course Description:
This studio course works concurrently with Prototyping (GA 501) to address the specific programming needs for the creation of a successful prototype for the initial stage of the final thesis project. To give the student a general overview of programming applications, we will begin in Unity with C#, and move on into UI functionality, logic loops in existing scenes, saving and loading custom data, and the creation of physics simulations. Having completed the mini projects, students will then load into their existing thesis project to enhance the functionality. Through the creation of a game in class and building out their thesis game at large, students will learn the basics of programming while gaining the knowledge of customization for their games.

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.

Player Centric Design

Course ID: GA517
Course Credits: 3
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 studio course, the instructors will guide students in projects that reveal the relationship between players and game design from a ?player first? perspective. The course will focus on the intersection between player psychology and traditional playable mechanics and systems-based game design. Projects will include explorations 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 project based 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. We will achieve our end goal through the creation of multiple mini game projects and/or deconstructing existing games. The goal of the course is to give students 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.

Game Design

Course ID: GA518
Course Credits: 3
Requirement: R
Course Description:
This class is a hands-on 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 a full lexicon of game design mechanics 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, reconstruct game designs, and then most importantly, iterate on the designs and processes to create new games. Together we explore the art, science, and practice of game design mechanics, creating a physical board game with cards and virtual mini games. We will continue until you are able to confidently say, ?I am a game designer.?

Survey of Monetization Practices

Course ID: GA521
Course Credits: 3
Requirement: R
Course Description:
This course will consist of the study and implementation of modern-day video game monetization practices across mobile, PC, and console platforms. Students will learn how top developers and publishers are implementing and executing successful monetization models in premium, games as a service, and F2P business models. This course will focus primarily on design-centric monetization best practices, but also cover topics such as crowd-funding, advertising, and more traditional publisher/developer business practices. This course will be divided up into 3 major pillars of Acquisition, Retention, and Monetization. Throughout the class, students will participate in critical analysis of a wide range of successful monetization models used in top-performing games such as Fortnite, Apex Legends, and World of Warcraft, then learn how to work these same monetization practices into their own thesis projects in a way that best suits the game design in an organic and non-intrusive way.

Production Studio 1

Course ID: GA605
Course Credits: 5
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

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 better experience.

Advanced Game Development

Course ID: GA610
Course Credits: 2
Requirement: R
Course Description:
Advanced Game Project is a milestone reporting and troubleshooting 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: 5
Requirement: R
Course Description:
Final Production studio for completion and testing of game projects.

Graduate Teaching Internship

Course ID: INT601
Course Credits: 3
Requirement: E
Course Description:
Students in this course undertake a teaching assignment under the supervision of a faculty member.

Graduate Field Internship

Course ID: INT602
Course Credits: 3
Requirement: E
Course Description:
Students in this course undertake an industry assignment under the supervision of a faculty member within the industry.

Game Narrative

Course ID: LA501
Course Credits: 3
Requirement: R
Course Description:
A lecture course discussing the theory, skills, history, and philosophy of game narrative. The course focuses upon demonstrating connectivity between game design as a practice and storytelling as a practice, as well as exposing why all games necessarily tell stories, even if they are not explicitly narrative. At the core of the taught materials, theories from aesthetics and philosophy of art are combined with practical experience from the challenges of game writing to present a unique and thorough foundation to writing for digital entertainment and art.

Thesis Development

Course ID: LA508
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.

Management Psychology

Course ID: LA521
Course Credits: 2
Requirement: R
Course Description:
This course will be a survey and analysis into the various forms of how monetization is utilized within the game industry. Students can expect to learn how game developers implement monetization strategies surrounding crowd funding, in game advertising, Free to Play models, and more traditional publisher / developer business models. This course will be divided up into three sections. Firstly, a critical analysis of a wide range of successful monetization models in gaming such as Candy Crush, Guild Wars 2, Clash of Clans, etc. Secondly is creating a monetization plan for a game you are/will be creating planning out data tracking, marketing, pitch documents, etc., Thirdly a proof of concept of an approved plan in development using third party tools, marketing materials, or any form of media pertinent to student?s development project.

Management + Marketing

Course ID: LA603
Course Credits: 2
Requirement: R
Course Description:
This class will cover the business of publisher and game developer relations and how to manage and cultivate them to form lasting and productive partnerships. Students will get first hand insights into the realities of the business side of the video game industry from approval processes to funding projects. The course covers how to manage work relationships with publisher contacts, producers, art directors, and marketing departments. Students will also learn how to manage game development teams through milestone scheduling, setting realistic time estimations for tasks, and agile methodologies to keep developers accountable and prepared for the inevitable rapid schedule changes in production.

The Business of Game

Course ID: LA605
Course Credits: 2
Requirement: E
Course Description:
The Business of Game course focuses on the fundamentals of building a game company. From setting up your business to budgeting, leadership and developing successful entrepreneurial tactics, this course builds on the core functions. This course also outlines strategies for starting and building a business that bridges the talents of creative, technical and entertainment expertise.

Thesis Project Directed Study 1

Course ID: LA608
Course Credits: 4
Requirement: R
Course Description:
Thesis Development is an in-depth focus on the masters of game design and their methodologies, techniques, and processes. Students will formulate a vocabulary and a dialog with which they will begin to create a supportive document for their thesis game. In Art of Game Design, students create an innovative and theoretically informed body of work that is exhibited in a manner and context that supports its creative content. Building upon the foundations established during GA508, students in Thesis Project Directed Study 1 will continue developing a written component that addresses the theoretical premise of their work alongside their business and marketing plans, as well as a thorough and polished game design document (GDD).

Thesis Project Directed Study 2

Course ID: LA708
Course Credits: 4
Pre-Requisite: LA608
Requirement: R
Course Description:
Thesis Directed Study is an in-depth focus on the masters of game design and their methodologies, techniques, and processes. In Thesis Directed Study 2, students will work with thesis advisors to narrow their projects? scope and direct their game projects towards manageable scale with direction in special areas of interest that will enhance and drive their project towards a unique and creative solution. Building upon the working drafts crafted during GA608, students in Thesis Directed Study 2 will complete the formal written component of their thesis that addresses the theoretical premise of their work alongside their business and marketing plans, as well as a thorough and polished game design document (GDD).