Telecommunications | Interactive Storytelling & Computer Games
T580 | 14324 | Gillespie, T.


T580 Interactive Storytelling and Computer Game Design

This course is about human-media interaction: interactive
storytelling, computer game design and more. While many of the tools
used in this class are technical this is not a technical course. The
essence of this course is the most human of all, storytelling. Story
is what makes us tick, story reaches inside of us and reveals the
world through myth, metaphor, and archetype. If I start to
say, "Once upon a time it was late at night and a small child
trembled in the corner of a dark room as the door slowly creaked
open ..." you already know something bad is about to happen. You are
into the story. You are at the beginning and you want to know more
about the small child. What did the child do to be in such a
predicament. What happens next. How will the story be resolved. What
does the story mean. Joseph Campbell, the mythologist, suggested
that the cave wall paintings of Altamira and Lascaux were visual
story tools the elders used to initiate the young into the adulthood
and the meaning of life. Story is probably as old as humankind.
Interactive digital storytelling is just the most recent upgrade so
to speak.

Objectives

There are five simple objectives of this course:

To generate lots of ideas
To throw away most of these ideas and be left with 4-5 really good
ideas.
To work as groups to create something greater than any of us could
on our own, much as happens in theater, film, TV and/or music.
To figure out how to fund the development of our ideas.
To publicly demonstrate our ideas at the end of the term.
To keep working on our ideas.
By the end of the course the student will have an understanding of
game design informed by the practical experience of actually
creating a preliminary design specification and using rapid
prototype tools to develop a working model.

Assessment

Class participation and attendance. More than 2 absences and no
credit. 10%

1 DVD/CD/WWW/software/internet/game in-class presentation. All
reviews should describe the packaging, audience, how it works, the
addictive play action aka the heartbeat of the game, the interface,
the business model and your personal reaction to the product, what
you liked and what you didn't like and why. Presentation must be
accompanied by a written report which is more than a collection of
links or a Powerpoint outline. 10%

First 5 weeks: 5 index card ideas each week, white index card, 5" by
8" No names, back last 4 SS# digits. All ideas should be fleshed out
in a design diary which will be handed in at the end of the term.
The index card is a condensed version of the diary ideas. 20%

Quizzes on readings 10%

Week 6: Individual Media Proposal: 10 + pages and story boards
(Introduction, Product Overview, Opening Sequence, Graphics, Sound,
Play-action, Play- mechanics, Difficulty, Playability, and Play-
life, Special Features, Market Perspective, Summary) Bound &
beautiful. 20%

Week 10: Preliminary Group Media Proposal: story boards
(Introduction, Product Overview, Opening Sequence, Graphics, Sound,
Play-action, Play- mechanics, Difficulty, Playability, and Play-
life, Special Features, Market Perspective, Summary) Bound &
beautiful. 10%

Week 15: Group Design Spec :30 + pages illustrated with screens,
story boards, and run-time examples on CD or web as appropriate.
Also includes a 4-5 page grabber: illustrated and tight synopsis of
the project. Bound & beautiful. 20%

Week 16: Public presentation of group projects at the end of the
term.

All assignments must be turned in on time and completed before the
end of the term for a passing grade. 100% of the above assessment is
a B grade which means it is good. Excellence is an A grade and a
totally subjective judgement on my part of the quality of
participation in class; work done in class; work done outside of
class; and worked handed in.