CS 325: Introduction to Game Design
- Meets: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:30–2:45pm in East 122
- Resources: Piazza
- Community: Discord
- Grades and Submitting Assignments: Blackboard
- Credits: 3
- Prerequisites: Grade of C or better in CS 211 Object-Oriented Programming
Instructor: Yotam Gingold
Game design, in various electronic entertainment technologies,
involves a diverse set of skills and backgrounds from narrative and art to
computer programming. This course surveys the technical aspects of the field,
with an emphasis on programming innovative game design.
Game Design Workshop by Tracy Fullerton.
- Principles of Game Design
- The Structure of Games
- Formal and Dramatic Elements
- System Dynamics
- There will be weekly assignments and presentations (75%) and a mid-term and final exam (25%).
- Late policy: I drop the two lowest weekly assignment grades, so you may miss two of them without penalty.
- An ability to employ a variety of data structures in a game development and design context.
- An ability to identify the issues involved in the core mechanics and design of a game and how to solve them with appropriate techniques.
- An ability to design and implement simple games from the ground up.
GMU is an Honor Code university; please see the Office for Academic Integrity for a full description of the code and the honor committee process, and the Computer Science Department's Honor Code Policies regarding programming assignments. The principle of academic integrity is taken very seriously and violations are treated gravely. What does academic integrity mean in this course? Essentially this: when you are responsible for a task, you will perform that task. When you rely on someone else's work in an aspect of the performance of that task, you will give full credit in the proper, accepted form.
Another aspect of academic integrity is the free play of ideas. Vigorous discussion and debate are encouraged in this course, with the firm expectation that all aspects of the class will be conducted with civility and respect for differing ideas, perspectives, and traditions.
When in doubt (of any kind) please ask for guidance and clarification.
Accommodations for Disabilities:
If you have a documented learning disability or other condition that may affect academic performance you should: 1) make sure this documentation is on file with Disability Services (https://ds.gmu.edu; email@example.com; +1-703-993-2474; SUB I Suite 2500) to determine the accommodations you need; and 2) talk with me to discuss your accommodation needs.
Students must use their GMU email account to receive important University information, including messages related to this class. See https://mail.gmu.edu for more information.
[The following privacy statement is courtesy of Dr. Carrie Klein.]
As a learning community, we are collectively responsible for upholding privacy protection standards. This is especially important as much of our teaching and learning has moved on to online platforms, which moves learning beyond the confines of the classroom. As your instructor, I am committed to protecting your privacy by only using university-approved course technologies and adhering to Family and Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) guidelines. This includes only using your educational data for legitimate educational purposes and only sharing that with the university for legitimate purposes (for instance, submitting your final grades to the registrar’s office). Regarding video-conferencing, while I ask, to the extent you are comfortable and able, that you keep your videos on during lessons to aid in the development of our learning community, I also understand that that may not always be possible. Know that you will not be penalized for choosing to disable your video during synchronous course sessions. If a need to record our class arises, I will give everyone notice prior to the recording, so that you may turn off your videos should you not wish to be recorded.
As learning community members, I also ask that each of us commit to the following basic privacy protection standards:
Finally, I encourage you to become active agents in understanding how your personal data is used and protected by the university/college to support your learning and institutional resources and priorities. Per Caines & Glass (2019), answer the following to better understand “how and why your data is collected, the potential risks of this collection, and how to better protect your personal data” (para. 7):
- Not pinning or taking screenshots of fellow classmates or recording sessions during synchronous online sessions or sharing discussion thread posts from the learning management system.
- Just as in in-person courses, do not post images or identifiable conversations that occur in class to social media or to those beyond our learning community (this violates both general privacy and FERPA standards).
- Also, to protect your own privacy, remember that when using video conferencing, consider editing your physical background (if you don’t want fellow classmates seeing where you are joining from) and your computer background (so that you don’t inadvertently share browser tabs, internet history, or document/folder titles you don’t want public). You may also want to turn off notifications and alerts, so those aren’t shared to the group.
If after asking yourself these questions you have concerns, I invite you to reach out to me to discuss them. I may not have easy answers to the questions or concerns that you bring to me (often in these matters no one has these answers), but I will happily explore them further with you or find someone more knowledgeable who can help answer your questions.
- What types of personal data do you think are collected through your use of digital tools for educational activities?
- What value does your personal data have for different contexts and entities? Consider how your data might be valued by your instructor, the institution, yourself, and companies.
- Who owns your personal data, who can sell it, and who can use it?
- Do you have concerns about how your personal data can be used? If so, what are they?
- Are there aspects of your identity or life that you feel would put you in a place of special vulnerability if certain data were known about you or used against you?
This class seeks to create a learning environment that fosters respect for people across identities. We welcome and value individuals and their differences, including gender expression and identity, race, economic status, sex, sexuality, ethnicity, national origin, first language, religion, age and ability. We encourage all members of the learning environment to engage with the material personally, but to also be open to exploring and learning from experiences different than their own.
This class abides by the GMU anti-racism statement.
Nouns and Pronouns
If you wish, please share your name and gender pronouns with me and how best to address you in class and via email. I use he/him/his for myself. You may address me as Prof. Gingold in email and verbally.
Sexual Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, and Interpersonal Violence
As a faculty member and designated “Responsible Employee,” I am required to report all disclosures of sexual assault, interpersonal violence, and stalking to Mason’s Title IX Coordinator per university policy 1412. If you wish to speak with someone confidentially, please contact the Student Support and Advocacy Center (+1-703-380-1434) or Counseling and Psychological Services (+1-703-993-2380).
You may also seek assistance from Mason’s Title IX Coordinator (+1-703-993-8730; firstname.lastname@example.org).
Other useful campus resources: