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Undergraduate Program | T452:Topical Seminar in Design & Production

T461 Advanced Games & Interactive Media
Instructor: Michael Chabin
MW 3:15 — 5:15

A game engine is a system for creating environments. Usually they have one or more linked programming languages, tools for creating a variety of objects, and a physics engine that allows those objects to interact as they might in the real (or not so real) world.

Game engines allow developers to create artificial spaces of arbitrary complexity. These spaces can be filled with trees, mountains, and lakes, and peopled with heroes and heroines and every kind of creature. They can support any number of sounds, from complex music and voice-overs, to simple sound effects, and locate those sounds in particular places. They can contain objects made in other systems like Photoshop or Cinema 4D. They can be governed by the same physical laws that govern the real world, or laws that have been modified to suit an imaginary universe. They can, and should, embody a deep kind of narrative. And, once all these elements are in place, they can be programmed with rules that transform the space into a game.

This course will explore the game engine Unity 3D.

The first half of the class will be devoted to building a game called Survival Island, using the text: Unity 3.x Game Development Essentials by Will Goldstone. Once that is complete, students will develop a specification for an original game, including a timeline and a detailed list of assets. The second half of the course will be devoted to building the specified games. Students can work alone or in teams.

This is not a programming class. All necessary code will be provided. However, it is an excellent opportunity to learn to program using Javascript and programmers will find they can do incredible things within Unity. It is not an art or creative writing or sound design class, though artists and story tellers and sound designers will discover in Unity a powerful new medium for expression.

Because this is a first course in Unity, almost anyone can take and benefit from it. The main prerequisites are that students should have ideas worth expressing and have the persistence and patience to explore a large and complex system.