Active Course — CTIN 499: Directing for Games and Interactive Media

This course introduces students to the role of the director across a variety of media with the goal on applying best practices to the direction of games and interactive media. The material is focused on games and interactive media, but also draws from a cross-disciplinary study of directorial techniques and practices from theater, film, performance art, architecture, music and fine arts. Students develop the skills of directorial perspective, selection and preparation of material, story and scene breakdown, thematic intent, project planning, team building and communication, situational decision-making, response to change. 

Active course – CTIN 541: Design for Interactive Media

This course introduces students to core skills in interactive design, including conceptualizing interactive systems, prototyping, playtesting and managing an iterative design process to meet specific and meaningful experience goals for users. The overarching themes of the class are: preparation, process, practice and partnership. A central purpose of this course is to give students the opportunity to explore various types of design strategies, to discover their own strengths and interests, and to provide them with a wide repertoire of techniques upon which to draw in the future.

FOrmer course – CTIN 491/CTIN 493: Advanced Game Projects

Currently taught by Danny Bilson, Scott Easley and Matt Whiting, I originally developed this this two-semester advanced project class in 2006. The course challenges students to use what they have learned in previous classes to design and execute a large-scale, innovative game project. The class introduces professional-level concepts in game design and development, such as competition for project greenlight, specialized team-building, advanced ideation, visual design and technical implementation, effective use of marketing & focus groups, advanced project planning and management, budgeting, actualization, usability, quality assurance and project polish and distribution.

Former course – CTCS 564: Seminar in Digital Game Studies

Currently taught by Kiki Benzon, I originally developed this graduate seminar in 2004 to explore the formal, aesthetic, and cultural aspects of digital games, the emerging critical discourse around the nature of meaningful gameplay, and the relationship of digital games to media such as television and film. Readings include recently released texts and articles which establish a basis from which to examine games as an artistic medium. Classic and cutting edge games are played both in and out of class of class to encourage wide-ranging literacy in various genres and historical periods of gameplay and to provide context for the critical discussion.

Former course – CTIN 309: Introduction to Interactive Entertainment

Currently taught by Jeff Watson, I originally developed this gateway course in 2002 to look at the way that digital games and interactive media are changing the way that we live, work and play. Students are encouraged to develop a critical view of games and interactive entertainment, looking at questions of engagement, authorship, narrative and the changing relationship between the makers and consumers of media. Exposure and interrogation of the nature of interactive entertainment, its history, properties, practices and potential with the goal of becoming more literate players, more empowered users and consumers, and more articulate designers of future interactive entertainment products.

Former course – CTIN 488: Game Design Workshop

Currently taught by Jane Pinkard, I originally developed this beginning game design course in 1999 to introduce students to the playcentric method of game design. The workshop focuses on understanding of game systems, analyzing and critique of mechanics, practice in design, prototyping and playtesting methods. Students learn the fundamentals of game design through the study of classic games in both traditional and electronic form, design their own games and playtest/critique fellow students’ games. This course is supported by the companion text book Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games.

Former course – CTIN 489/CTIN 484: Intermediate Game Design & Development

Currently taught by Margaret Moser and Peter Brinson, with whom, in 2006, I originally developed this follow up to the classes, CTIN 488 Game Design Workshop and CTIN 483 Programming for Interactivity. The course introduces students to more advanced concepts in game design and development such as ideation, digital prototyping, interface design, usability testing, level design, quality assurance, team work, project planning and management. The main emphasis of the class is on the conceptualization of innovative design goals and the execution of those goals in the form of a complete, polished intermediate game project.

Former course – CTIN 534: Experiments in Interactivity I

Currently taught by Andreas Kratky, this course is the first in a two-semester sequence which will introduce students to a variety of concepts in interactivity and teach creative techniques for conceptualizing and producing original interactive projects. The sequence approaches interactivity as a participatory art form, with the designer’s goal to provide a specific and meaningful experience for the users and to respond quickly and creatively to feedback during the design process. In the first semester, the exercises focus on low- and non-technical forms of interactivity, experimenting with games, improvisational theater, fine arts, toys, interactive narrative, and real and virtual play spaces.