Interdisciplinary Studies

Computer Game Development Courses

Curriculum

The certificate begins with CMPUT 250. It is designed for second-year students, and serves as the entry point for the certificate. It is focused on interdisciplinary teamwork and provides a broad view of all aspects of game development, using guest lectures from many departments as well as industry. Students design a short narrative-based game using a commercial game engine.

Following CMPUT 250, the certificate requires four courses to be taken from among a set of second tier courses. These courses are offered across the Faculties of Science, Arts, and Education and are designed to take more focused explorations into specific aspects of game development, and allow students to specialize the certificate to their discipline and interests.

The culmination of the certificate is CMPUT 450, a capstone course that returns to a focus on interdisciplinary teams developing a complete game, using all of the skills learned in the intermediate courses and courses from their own discipline.

Course List

18 course credits are required for this certificate.

Introductory Course (Required, 3 credits)

CMPUT 250: COMPUTERS AND GAMES

An interdisciplinary course for students in Science, Arts, and other faculties. The focus is on games as interactive entertainment, their role in society, and how they are made. Teams composed of students with diverse backgrounds (e.g. English, Art and Design, and Computing Science) follow the entire creative process: from concept, through pitch, to delivery, of a short narrative-based game using a commercial game engine. The course culminates in an annual award ceremony where games from both terms compete in several categories (http://cmput250.org).
*To achieve the required mix of backgrounds and experience, students must apply for admission to this course.

Intermediate Courses (Choose 4 of the following 7 courses, 12 credits)

MUSIC 245: INTRODUCTION TO MUSIC TECHNOLOGIES
Computer technology with a focus on MIDI, synthesis, and software programs for sequencing, music notation, audio recording and transformation, and music on the Internet.

CMPUT 350: ADVANCED GAMES PROGRAMMING
This course focuses on state-of-the-art AI and graphics programming for video games. Part 1 introduces C++, the language of choice for video game engines, emphasizing efficiency, safety, the Standard Template Library, and OpenGL. Part 2 on real time strategy deals with efficient pathfinding algorithms, planning, and scripting AI systems. Student projects give hands-on experience directly applicable to the video games industry.

CMPUT 307: 3D GRAPHICS AND ANIMATION WITH 3DS MAX
Interdisciplinary introduction to graphics and animation through the use of the 3DS Max. Graphics and Animation have industrial applications in advertising, movies, games and TV. Interdisciplinary teams will work together on practical applications of graphics and animations. For example, students can work on a project to enhance sculpting skills using a database of 3D models.

ED IT 486: INTERACTIVE MEDIA: TEACHING AND LEARNING WITH VIDEO GAMES
This course emphasizes students as builders of video games as opposed to players of video games and addresses the pedagogy of using this process to teach K-12 students. Lectures will focus on educational theory, specifically, social constructivist and constructionist frameworks and their relevance to current learners and their perspectives on technology use. The lab components will explore various game development environments which are designed for K-12 students. Through the construction of video games, students will learn how to promote problem-solving skills and critical thinking in their own students.

STS 350/351: UNDERSTANDING VIDEO GAMES
This course will examine the history of video games, beginning with an exploration of games in general and leading to modern video games. The course will explore technological advances in computer games over the decades, and how these changes influenced and were influenced by cultural, social, and economic factors.

INT D 350: GAME DESIGN PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE
An interdisciplinary course for students in Science, Arts, and other faculties. The course explores the formal elements of games, broadly defined, including tabletop games, sports, live-action games, and computer games. The focus is on principles for how the formal elements of rules can be combined to create meaningful experiences. Students will apply these ideas in teams: playing, analyzing, and most importantly designing several non-digital games during the course.

WRITE 399: CREATIVE WRITING FOR VIDEO GAMES
Video and computer games enjoy widespread popularity currently, with millions of players participating in a variety of gaming formats. Games offer many connections to the study of narrative that complement other approaches to literature studies. These connections include discussions about the meanings of traditional features such as setting, character and plot, and also political elements relating avatar relationships with each other and their virtual environments. The emphasis of this course, however, will be on creating compelling narratives for the gaming context, with the goal of building a playable computer game by the end of the term.


Capstone Course (Required, 3 credits)

INT D 450: COMPUTERS AND GAMES
An advanced interdisciplinary course for students in Science, Arts, and other faculties who have completed CMPUT 250. The focus of the course is the development of a complete game to be released on any computing platform. Teams composed of students with diverse backgrounds follow the entire creative process: from concept to pitch, prototype, testing, and delivery. Game post-mortems and industry lectures provide context for the team projects.
*To achieve the required mix of backgrounds and experience, students must apply for admission to this course.