DIRECTOR: G. Smith
ASSOCIATED FACULTY: E. Agu (CS), S. Barton (HUA), S. Bhada (ECE), F. Bianchi (HUA), R. Bigonah (HUA), R. Bohrer (CS), F. Chery (IMGD), M. Claypool (CS), J. deWinter (HUA), R. Dempski (CBC), R. DuPlessis (IMGD), A. Gonzalez (HUA), E. Gutierrez (HUA), M. Kagen (IMGD), L. Harrison (CS), N. Heffernan (CS), M. Keller (HUA), V.J. Manzo (HUA), E. Ottmar (SSPS), C. Roberts (CS), J. Rosenstock (HUA), J. Sanbonmatsu (HUA), B. Schneider (IMGD), E. Solovey (CS), R. Sutter (IMGD), Y. Telliel (HUA), W. Yarbrough (IMGD)
Program Educational Objectives
The educational objectives of the IMGD program are:
- To prepare students for technical and/or creative roles in the interactive media and game industries.
- To provide a solid base of IMGD-related technical and/or creative expertise, strong written and oral communication skills, and substantial experience in collaborating effectively in multidisciplinary teams.
- To cultivate an understanding of the social and ethical issues relevant to interactive media and games, together with a sense of personal responsibility and professionalism.
- To develop personal traits necessary for continuous career growth, including
- The ability to integrate theory and practice.
- The ability to think analytically and critically in order to define, analyze and solve technical and/or creative challenges.
- The ability to learn new skills in response to evolving technology and a dynamic professional environment.
The specific outcomes for the IMGD program are that all graduates will:
- Demonstrate practical skill and in-depth understanding of IMGD-related technologies, concepts, tools and aesthetics.
- Have a base of knowledge in computer science, mathematics and the natural/engineering sciences.
- Have a base of knowledge in IMGD-related design, audio, cultural narratives and visual arts.
- Be aware of social and philosophical issues pertaining to interactive media and games.
- Be able to creatively express and analyze artistic forms relative to IMGD.
- Communicate effectively orally, in writing, and in visual media.
- Successfully complete individual projects.
- Successfully complete a group project with students from other IMGD disciplines.
- Successfully complete team-based, full-term IMGD projects.
- Successfully complete a team-based, multi-term IMGD project.
Interactive Media & Game Development Major,Bachelor of Arts
Interactive Media & Game Development Technology Major,Bachelor of Science
This course will focus on making digital art functional in a video game environment. Students will learn the skills necessary to create and optimize their art assets through several creative and technical solutions that are all geared towards making high quality game art. This course will allow students to form a greater understanding of the bridge between pure art creation and interactive art implementation into a game engine. The course explores the many problems and technical restrictions one is faced with when trying to implement anything from animated characters to textures and focuses on how one can creatively apply technology to achieve high quality results. Topics covered include: creating complex character rigs, optimizing character meshes for rigging, shader creation, optimizing UV space and baking texture files and lighting.
Basic knowledge of 3D modeling, texturing and animation (IMGD 2101 and IMGD 2201 or equivalent).
3D modeling is concerned with how to render created forms in a virtual environment. This course covers 3D modeling applications in video game development, film production, product design and fine art. Topics may include creating and armature, modeling organic and hard surfaces and sculpting using traditional techniques applied to a 3D model. Students will create works suitable for presentation in professional quality portfolio.
AR 1100 and AR 1101.
2D Animation I teaches students how to draw, pose, breakdown and in-between characters for 2D animation, focusing on weight, balance, timing, and movement to achieve well-structured and fluid animation. Lectures and projects are conducted to train students in the twelve classical animation principles using digital 2D media. Projects and lectures are designed to practice the fundamentals of traditional frame-by-frame and hand-drawn character animation.
Basic knowledge of figure drawing (AR 2202) and digital art software (AR 1101) is recommended.
3D Animation I teaches students how to use 3D animation software to apply classical animation principles into 3D work. Lectures focus on creating organic and compelling character animation through body mechanics, weight, and dynamic posing in addition to exposing students to learning how to think about character acting and staging within a 3D environment.
Basic knowledge digital art software (AR 1101) is recommended.
Basic knowledge of animation (IMGD 2222/AR 2222).
This course covers painting techniques as applied to texturing a 3D asset or illustration/conceptual art. Topics include are color theory, study of form, lighting, applying traditional painting ideas to the digital format, character design, generation of ideas and a history of digital painting. Each class features a demonstration on the topic followed by individual critique and study. Students work towards a final project that may be suitable for an Art portfolio.
AR 1101 (Digital imaging and Computer Art); AR 2202 (Figure Drawing)
The objective of this course is to teach students how to create 3D environments and props for use in digital models, simulations, games, or animation. The course will examine different types of architecture used in 3D spaces. The students will learn how to create historical and fictional interior and exterior environments; to design, model, texture, and render in high details; and to import their creation into an engine for testing. Topics may include space, human scale, set design, surface texturing, and basic camera animation. Students may not receive credit for IMGD/AR 2740 and IMGD/AR 205X. This course will be offered in 2022-23, and in alternating years thereafter.
Basic 3D modeling skills (AR 1101)
This course will build upon the skills learned in 3D MODELING with studies in life drawing/anatomy study and application towards completed character models. Students will create high resolution sculpts for real time game environments and animation. Topics covered will be character design as it applies to 3D MODELING, creating realistic design sculpts and incorporating them into a game environment as well as the study of anatomy as it applies to organic modeling.
AR 1101, IMGD 2101/AR 2101, AR 2202
This course introduces students to techniques and processes for the creation of real-time, interactive works of art. Students learn to use electronic sensors and other tools for audio, graphics, and video processing, as well as design customized software interfaces to create interactive artworks that respond to users and their environment. The course also introduces students to the work of significant contemporary arts practitioners as well as their historical precedents, with a special emphasis on inter-media works that bridge visual art, music composition, and the performing arts. Topics may include electronic musical instruments and performance interfaces, computer vision, VJing, electronically-augmented dance, controller hacking, wired clothing, networked collaboration and mobile media, and algorithmic and generative art.
Animation (AR 2101/IMGD 2101 or equivalent), and exposure to digital audio or music and introductory programming.
This course offers in-depth analysis of the human figure in action. Motion is analyzed and studied through drawing and sketching of live models, video clips, performance and pantomime, studying not only the physical exterior but also how thoughts and emotion are expressed through gesture. Students will develop skill in figure posing and staging for applications in animation, storyboards, comics, and illustration.
This course will be offered in 2021-22, and in alternating years thereafter.
Observational and gesture drawing and color (AR 1101), experience drawing live model (AR 2202), composition skills and color (AR 2700/IMGD 2700).
This course will build upon the techniques learned in AR 2222/IMGD 2222. Students will learn to apply the animation principles to character animation. Students are taught how to tell a compelling, character-driven story through a focus on character acting techniques such as body language, lip syncing, facial animation, and micro expressions. Additional topics covered may include sprites for games, biped and quadruped animation, and 2D animation pipelines. Students will create animated sequences that are intended to serve a narrative structure for games and other media.
Knowledge of digital 2D animation techniques and classical animation principles (IMGD/AR 2222).
This course will build upon the techniques learned in IMGD/AR 2333. Students will learn to apply the animation principles with a focus on character acting and cinematic animation. Students are taught how to tell a compelling, character-driven story through a focus on acting techniques such as body language, lip syncing, facial animation, and micro expressions whilst incorporating digital cinematography techniques. Additional topics covered may include creating 3D simulations for hair and cloth, biped and quadruped animation, and 3D animation pipelines. Students will create animated sequences that are intended to serve a narrative structure for games and other media.
Knowledge of digital 3D animation techniques and classical animation principles (AR 2333/IMGD 2333).
This course covers drawing as it applies to concept art and illustration. The course begins with study of a human model and representational drawing. Following this, students work on drawing from the mind and applying the lessons learned from the figure drawing to creating concept art and illustration. Topics covered are shape recognition and recalling, inventing from the mind, creative starters, study of form and light, visual composition and developing a personal approach, working with individual strengths to create a compelling visual design. Students create a series of concept art exercises and apply these skills towards a personal project of their own.
AR 2202 (Figure Drawing); AR 2700/ IMGD 2700 (Digital Painting)
Algorithms and programming techniques from artificial intelligence (AI) are key contributors to the experience of modern computer games and interactive media, either by directly controlling a non-player character (NPC) or through more subtle manipulation of the environment. This course will focus on the practical AI programming techniques currently used in computer games for NPC navigation and decision-making, along with the design issues that arise when AI is applied in computer games, such as believability and real-time performance. The course will also briefly discuss future directions in applying AI to games and media. Students will be expected to complete significant software development projects using the studied techniques. This course will be offered in 2021-22, and in alternating years thereafter.
Object-oriented design concepts (CS 2102 or CS 2103), algorithms (CS 2223), and knowledge of technical game development (IMGD 3000 or IMGD 4000).
This course trains students to create accelerated simulations using Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) programming techniques, and to render the output of these simulations in aesthetically interesting ways. The aesthetic focus of the course is grounded by examining the histories of experimental animation, video synthesis, and the use of simulation in the digital arts. Students will evaluate the effectiveness of GPU-accelerated techniques for a variety of simulations and will create their own aesthetic explorations of appropriate simulations throughout the course.
This course introduces non-technical studies of computer-based interactive media and games. The course develops a vocabulary for discussing games and other interactive media, and tools for analyzing them. Students are expected to provide written critiques using the critical approaches presented in the course. The games and other interactive media critiqued may be commercially available or under development.
This course discusses the process of game development. It examines the roles of different participants in the development process and how the technical development and the artistic development proceed in tandem. Group work is emphasized, especially the importance of collaboration between technical and artistic efforts. Students are expected to participate in game development using appropriate game development tools. Some sections of this course may be offered as Writing Intensive (WI).
This course explores different types of story within gaming and other interactive media. It delineates between linear, branching, and emergent storytelling, identifies hybrids, and finds new modes of making compelling narrative. A variety of games are discussed, including early text-based adventures, role-playing games, shooters, and strategy games. Students will construct characters, situations, and narratives through game play and scripted cut scenes. Students will explore and use visual storytelling techniques.
This course provides students with a realistic assessment of the potential and problems related to interactive media and games, especially computer games, and their effects on society. Topics include individual and group behavior, diversity, human responsibility, ethical and legal issues, and intellectual property. The course examines the issues from various points of view, and discover the political, social, and economic agendas of the people or groups championing those points of view. Students will write papers, participate in discussions, and research related topics.
This course introduces students to some of the political and ethical dimensions of the new entertainment modalities. Students will explore such issues as representation and power (e.g., gaming and disability, and race stereotyping in games), the phenomenology of virtual reality, capitalism and the commodification of leisure, gender and sexual violence, and cyberspace and democracy. Students will also develop critical tools for evaluating the ethical and social content of their own and others’ games. In addition to writing several analytical papers on the critical theory of technology, students will be encouraged to work on game designs exploring philosophical or social themes. This course will be offered in 2021-22, and in alternating years thereafter.
This course serves as an introduction to game audio, where the basics of audio theory and production are discussed along with practical applications for use in game development. Topics may include music, sound effects, dialogue, soundscape design, digital signal processing, basic audio engine principles, and the aesthetic vs. technical considerations in game audio production. Lab exercises may include an introduction to audio editing and mixing, dynamics and effects processing, creating and timing sound effects to character animations, mixing for cinematics, and audio integration using a 3D engine. This course assumes no prior knowledge of audio production.
IMGD 1000 and IMGD 1001.
This course will introduce key narrative concepts and skills necessary to craft linear and branching experiences in games and interactive media. These lessons can be of fundamental value to all interactive media and any development role. Topics covered may include world-building, writing within intellectual property, lore creation, environmental storytelling, and quest design. Students will work in small groups throughout the course to provide feedback and practice reciprocal creative roles in narrative creation.
Students may not receive credit for both 2450 and IMGD/WR 3400.
Design and development fundamentals.
The objective of the course is to teach students how to design board strategy games. The design principles are transferable to other types of games, such as computer games. Game quality issues such as rules unambiguity, depth, complexity, branching width, balance, and historical content are examined. Basic elements and types of game rules, such as map gridding, restricted play choices, resource limitations, and depths of game economics are discussed. Central to the course is the game design project: students design, playtest, and develop their own game. One two-hour laboratory a week covers play, and playtesting, and supports the game design project. This course will be offered in 2022-23, and in alternating years thereafter.
Software engineering and art production are the means of digital game development, but the end is an experience. Game design is the process of creating, describing, implementing and iteratively refining that experience. This team-oriented, project-based course provides opportunities for students to develop hands-on expertise with digital game design through a combination of practical implementation, in-class critique and playtesting. A focus of the course is the functional expression of design through the use of game engine scripting. Students keep a weekly journal of their design experiences. A final exam tests their knowledge of design concepts and terminology.
Intermediate programming experience (such as from CS 2102, CS 2103, or CS 1004), Knowledge of game studies (IMGD 1000 or equivalent) and the game development process (IMGD 1001 or equivalent).
This course will cover basic concepts of probability and data analysis as they apply to the design and analysis of interactive media and games. Students will study appropriate use of probability distributions in the design of interactive experiences, and the use of data analysis methods to understand user behavior in games and other interactive experiences. Topics will include discrete and continuous probability distributions, programming techniques to produce samples from different distributions, descriptive statistics, exploratory data analysis and using existing tools to collect and analyze data from gameplay. This course counts toward the Quantitative Science component of the university-wide Mathematics and Science Requirement for IMGD majors only.
High school algebra
This course teaches technical Computer Science aspects of game development, with the focus of the course on low-level programming of a computer games. Topics include 2D and 3D game engines, simulation-type games, analog and digital controllers and other forms of tertiary input. Students will implement games or parts of games, including exploration of graphics, sound, and music as it affects game implementation.
Game Audio II serves as an intermediate level audio design course, where digital recording principles and techniques are studied along with their practical applications for use in game development. Students will also gain deeper insight into 2-D vs. 3-D audio propagation, as well as learn more complex techniques in digital editing, mixing, signal processing, mastering, and playback strategies. Lab exercises may include interactive dialogue scripting and recording; loop-based music production; custom sound effects creation and Foley design; and audio engine integration. A team project will be the creation of a comprehensive game sound effects library over the course of the term. This course will be offered in 2022-23, and in alternating years thereafter.
Game Audio (IMGD 2030)
This course focuses on the design and evaluation of novel user interfaces that provide greater input and output expressiveness than the keyboard, mouse, or game pad. The course covers the related applications of immersive gaming, teleoperated robotics, and mobile users. Input sensors, such as those providing motion, attitude, and pressure data, are used to explore novel input methods, and how they may be effectively used to design innovative experiences. Through a combination of lecture and hands-on work, students learn to build prototype systems and to critically evaluate different alternatives. Students are expected to program several alternative input/output systems as part of this course This course will be offered in 2022-23, and in alternating years thereafter.
IMGD 1001, and either CS 2301 or CS 2303
This writing-intensive course reinforces narrative skills to achieve proficiency in character creation and dialogue for interactive media, including a survey of character writing techniques across different media and an examination of what changes when interactivity is added. Coursework will involve major forms of game writing, suitable for inclusion in a portfolio. Topics covered may include character exposition, development of rich playable and non-playable characters, short voice-over audio, interactive dialogue and interactive character arcs, and game character design.
Students may not receive credit for both IMGD/WR 3450 and IMGD/WR 2400.
Previous experience with story structure and writing for interactive media, such as that provided by IMGD/WR 2450 (formerly numbered IMGD/WR 3400).
This course focuses on the unique problems presented to the artist when working in game development. Students will learn game art pipelines and how to prepare art assets for use in game engines. Topics may include modular level design, 3D architecture, texturing and shaders, high poly and low poly workflows, environments, lighting, particle effects, and character animation for games. Students will create original art for compelling game experiences by designing their own levels.
3D modeling (IMGD/AR 2101 and 3101), digital painting (IMGD/AR 2700), 3D animation (IMGD/AR 2333).
This team-oriented, project-based course will provide opportunities for students to deepen their experience and understanding of digital game design concepts through a combination of thorough design, practical implementation, playtesting and in-class game critique. Students will prepare and present design treatments, develop hands-on expertise with game scripting, and study methods of collecting and analyzing gameplay data. A final project and presentation will test their creativity and demonstrate their practical mastery of game design concepts. Data Analysis for Game Development.
IMGD 2900: Digital Game Design I, and basic knowledge of statistical data analysis such as that provided by IMGD 2905:
This course focuses on the application of advanced Computer Science topics as they impact game development. Networking and distributed systems issues are addressed, including scalability and latency compensation techniques, for designing games for a online multi-player environments. AI, graphics and physics techniques specific to game development are discussed. Students will implement games or parts of games that apply advanced Computer Science topics.
This course provides students the opportunity to gain hands-on proficiency with the complete audio development pipeline for interactive applications, from concept and asset creation to post-production and integration. Topics may include custom recording techniques; procedural audio generation; audio object states and conditions; asset management; automated effects processing; and spatial presentation of audio in stereo, surround and mixed/virtual reality formats.
Prior experience with editing and mixing techniques on a digital audio workstation (such as provided by IMGD 2030), together with experience in studio and field recording of audio and voices (such as provided by IMGD 3030).
Arranged by individual faculty with special expertise, this course explores emerging and experimental topics that are not covered by the regular IMGD offerings. Content and format varies to suit the interests and needs of the faculty and students. Specific course descriptions are disseminated by IMGD program in advance of the offering. This course may be repeated for different topic offerings.
Varies depending on topic.
This course will familiarize students with the history of the development, deployment, commercialization, and evolution of immersive and active media. The lesson plan will cover a broad range of enabling technologies, such as geometric perspective drawing, pre-20th-century panoramic displays, photography and the stereoscope, sound recording and reproduction, motion pictures, radio and television, the planetarium, immersive and 3-dimensional cinema, and special attraction venues, with a particular focus on digital games. Current trends and future directions will also be considered. Students will attend seminars and lectures, read and discuss texts on media history and aesthetics, and write an original research paper. Midterm and final exams test students’ knowledge and understanding of important events and developments. A student may not receive credit for both IMGD 4200 and IMGD 3200. This course will be offered in 2021-22, and in alternating years thereafter.
IMGD 1000, and either IMGD 2000 or IMGD 2001.
This course will introduce students to the principles of motion capture as applied to the production of digital games and cinema. Topics will include the study of different forms of mocap technology, the design of efficient animation pipelines, techniques for combining keyed and mocap animation, and real-time capture into game engines. Students will gain experience in directing actors, blending hand-keyed animations, applying the laws of physics to motion data sets, building tools and troubleshooting captured data. Students cannot receive credit for both IMGD 4403 and IMGD 440X. This course will be offered in 2021-22, and in alternating years thereafter.
Students should have knowledge of basic 3D animation principles and software such as is provided by IMGD/AR 2333: 3D Animation I. They should also have knowledge of structural anatomy and kinematics such as is provided by IMGD 2048: Technical Art and Character Rigging.
This course focuses on the integration and organization of the various artistic elements used in game development. The course examines user interaction, interface design, and existing paradigms in current games. Students will combine elements of level design, animation, music, sound, and writing to create an aesthetically appealing game.
IMGD 1002, IMGD 3500, MU 1611.
This course explores the application of the technologies and design principles of interactive media and game development beyond traditional entertainment. The purpose of such applications is typically to change people’s behaviors, knowledge and/or attitudes in diverse areas including health care, training, education, simulation, politics, marketing and art. Students read about, experiment with, compare and discuss examples, as well as the underlying philosophies and issues specific to this genre, such as domain analysis and rigorous evaluation. Students in groups also research a new application and produce a detailed design document and mock-up. Advanced programming skill is not required, but a background in game design is strongly recommended. This course will be offered in 2021-22, and in alternating years thereafter.
IMGD 1001 and either IMGD 2000 or IMGD 2001.
This course provides an in-depth examination of storytelling as it is currently done in 2D and 3D games through a study of quests and construction of gaming spaces. Level designers turn stories into games through building virtual spaces and populating them with non-player characters who have their own objectives. Cinematics are used to extend the narrative space. The course requires students to build multiple virtual spaces that have a history and a population with present needs. Students need to work out plotting through the logic of a quest, build several areas that supports that logic and create cinematics to extend their narrative space. Students may not receive credit for both IMGD 4700 and IMGD 403X. This course will be offered in 2022-23, and in alternating years thereafter.
IMGD 1002, or equivalent knowledge.
This studio course will provide students an opportunity to collaborate on the creation of an original game project, with an emphasis on the importance of scoping and a thorough, well-documented design. Students will form project teams, create a team Web site, and design, implement and test their project using industry-standard tools and methods. This course will be offered in 2021-22, and in alternating years thereafter.
IMGD 3900 (Digital Game Design II)
This course will familiarize students with the history of the development, deployment, commercialization, and evolution of immersive and active media. The lesson plan will cover a broad range of enabling technologies, such as geometric perspective drawing, pre-20th-century panoramic displays, photography and the stereoscope, sound recording and reproduction, motion pictures, radio and television, the planetarium, immersive and 3-dimensional cinema, and special attraction venues, with a particular focus on digital games. Current trends and future directions will also be considered. Students will attend seminars and lectures, read and discuss texts on media history and aesthetics, and write an original research paper. Midterm and final exams test students’ knowledge and understanding of important events and developments. A student may not receive credit for both IMGD 3200 and IMGD 4200.
An understanding of dominant themes and genres in video games