Fall 2019 Schedule: MFA

Required Courses

Course Number

Title

Instructor

Schedule

Room

Class #

GAMES-GT 101

Games 101

Charles Pratt

M 4-5:45

202

7480

Recitation

W 1-3:45

625

7481

Recitation

W 4-6:40

625

7496

GAMES-GT 120

Game Studio 1

Matt Boch

W 10-12:45

7483

Lab

F 10-12:45

GAMES-GT 120

Game Studio 1

Robert Yang

W 10-12:45

7484

Lab

F 10-12:45

GAMES-GT 150

Game Design 1

Naomi Clark

T 9:30-12:15

626

7485

Lab

Th 9:30-12:15

626

GAMES-GT 150

Game Design 1

Eric Zimmerman

T 9:30-12:15

627

7486

Lab

Th 9:30-12:15

627

GAMES-GT 200

Visual Lab 0 (2 Credits)

Th 1-3

23486

GAMES-GT 300

Code Lab 0

Matt Parker

M 1-3:45

7508

GAMES-GT 500

Survival Skills

Dylan McKenzie

M 7-9

202

GAMES-GT 1001

Thesis 1 (6 Credits)

Frank Lantz & Mitu Khandaker

T 2:30-5:15

626/7

7493/ 20655

Lab

Th 1-5

6th Fl

Electives

Course Number

Title

Instructor

Schedule

Room

Class #

GAMES-GT 104

American Computer

Games of the 1980s

Jesse Fuchs

M 10-12:45

23500

Lab

W 10-12:45

GAMES-GT 122

Prototype Studio

Matt Boch

M 4-6:40

21303

Lab

W 4-6:40

GAMES-GT 123

Narrative Game Studio

Clara Fernández-Vara

M 1-3:45

21302

Lab

W 1-3:45

GAMES-GT 129

Project Studio

T 9:30-12:15

7577

Lab

R 9:30-12:15

GAMES-GT 204

2D Art & animation

Diego Garcia

T 9:30-12:15

7559

Lab

R 9:30-12:15

GAMES-GT 206

3D Modeling for Games

W 6:50-9:30

7590

GAMES-GT 212

Audio for Digital Games

Corey Bertelsen

T 5:25-8:05

20652

Lab

F 4-6:40

GAMES-GT 236

Big Screens

Mattia Romeo

M 9-11:45

23260

GAMES-GT 241

Game Design &

The Psychology of Choice

Greg Trefry &

Jenny Lim

M 12:10-3:05

23443

GAMES-GT 244

Economics for Game Designers

Alexander King

Th 9:30-12:15

23501

GAMES-GT 303

Code Lab 2

F 1-3:45

7498

GAMES-GT

New Trends in Board Game Design

Gil Hova

W 7-9:30

7631

GAMES-GT 412

Horror Games (2 Credits)

Matt Weise

W 7-9:30

23574

Course Descriptions

2D Art & Animation for Games

Instructor: Diego Garcia, degarcia@nyu.edu

2D Art and Animation for Games is a 1-semester, 4-credit class that builds fundamental skills around the design and production of art assets for games. Through a series of individual design assignments, critiques, and exercises, students will explore concepts like art direction, color theory, animation principles, and UI design while building a working knowledge of prominent industry tools.

3D Modeling for Games

Instructor:

4 Credits -- Typically offered every semester

​Syllabus​

This course is an introduction to 3D graphics for video games, starting with the foundations of 3D modeling and texturing in industry-standard tools. It focuses on building fluency with basic tools and techniques, as well as developing experience with aesthetic issues of look, style, and critical judgement in visual art.

American Computer Games of the 1980s

Instructor: Jesse Fuchs, jf126@nyu.edu

4 Credits – Offered occasionally

This survey course covers a selection of the computer games that were produced and played in the United States in the 1980s. While developers often started out in their bedrooms mailing out individual disks in ziplock bags, development and publishing companies sprung up from their early success; when the console game industry of the early 80s crashed in 1983, the relatively high­-end computer game market continued to innovate and sometimes even greatly prosper, albeit with a more narrowly targeted idea of its customers. The most popular games of the era retailed for an average of $30 - $40 (around $70 - $90 in today's money), often with stylish, lush presentation (thick manuals, cloth maps, scene­-setting "feelies") that often doubled as a physical form of copy protection. Cultivating an aura of expense and quality allowed American game designers to project pop personas, explore new ways of creating meaning via play, and add genuine depth to game worlds.

The political, cultural, and technological context of the United States in the 1980s provides a lens to analyze a corpus of games that, while often forgotten in contemporary American games culture, has imposed a powerful influence over our practices, and remains a rich ore of quirky ideas and never explored by-ways to mine. The course encourages students to play games critically, to understand different game design strategies as well as the technological constraints that often led to them, and to develop an understanding of the ways in which European,

Japanese and American games diverged through the 1980s. While the primary focus of the course is computer—as opposed to console or arcade—games, the latter will also be discussed to a extent; partly because they provide an effective counterpoint to what was going on in home computers, but also because there are more than enough interesting obscurities and touchstones for any game designer to at least be passingly aware of.

This course is directed to students of game design and game studies, as well as those with an interest in the study of video games as a cultural form and/or digital media history and development.

Audio for Digital Games

Instructor:

4 Credits – offered every fall

This course investigates aesthetic and technical aspects of sound for video games and interactive 3-D environments. Artistic implications of the technology are also explored from the perspective of the electronic composer and performer. Students will work with a game engine to create an immersive interactive environment. Additional topics include: Csound, Java and other relevant technologies. Completion of a final project, class presentation, as well as several weekly assignments is required.

Big Screens

Instructor: Mattia Romeo, mattia@giganticmechanic.com

4 Credits - first time offered

This class is dedicated to experimenting with interactivity on large-scale screens. Students will work in pairs to develop one project over the course of the semester, culminating with a showing at InterActive Corps' 120 X 11-foot video wall at their corporate headquarters on 18th St. and the West Side Highway. A mock-up of the system is available for testing. Class time is divided between independent project development, critique, technical demonstrations, and field trips to IAC.

Code Lab 0

Instructor: Matt Parker, madparker@nyu.edu

4 Credits – offered every fall (required)

Understanding how to script your own functions, behaviors, and interactions is an important skill for game designers. This course will focus on developing fundamental programming skills using two popular Game Engines: Phaser and Unity. While these tools provide many useful structures for creating video games, game designers must understand how to write their own scripts to combine these structures and create their own algorithms in order to execute their visions. This course will emphasize increasing the student’s comfort with coding, as well as their general understanding of programming, rather than specifics of either of the engines used.

Economics for Game Designers

Instructor: Alexander King, alexander.king@nyu.edu

4 Credits – new course

Game Design and Economics have substantial overlap, as both disciplines are about the study of complex systems. While the goals of a game designer and economist might be different, the tools and techniques are not. Approaches from Economics can be invaluable tools to a game designer, helping you better understand, predict, and design systems. This course is designed to introduce important concepts in Economics, as they relate to, or are of use in, designing games. From modeling in-game economies and balancing, to incentives and game theory, students will learn a variety of economic topics that easily applicable to games. This course is especially designed to empower designers with backgrounds in the arts or humanities with a core understanding of Economics that they can apply their work.​​

Games 101

Instructor: Charles Pratt Charles.j.pratt@nyu.edu

4 Credits -- Offered every semester (required)

​Syllabus​

Games 101 is the foundational course for the NYU Game Center and a prerequisite for all other Game Center classes. The focus of Games 101 is advanced game literacy – the development of a shared understanding of the history of games, culturally and aesthetically. This class is a broad, introductory survey which covers the full spectrum of digital and non-digital games. The class will incorporate lectures, discussions, and writing assignments, but the primary activity of the class is critical play – playing games and writing about them in order to better understand and appreciate them.

Game Design 1

Instructors: Naomi Clark, Eric Zimmerman

4 Credits – offered every fall (required)

Game Design 1 explores the fundamentals of game design. The focus of the class is the actual creation of several non-digital (off the computer) games. Just as art students might take “fundamentals” classes in figure drawing or color theory as part of their education to become visual artists, this class remains rooted squarely in the basics. It focuses on the elements common to all games that are fundamental for a game designer working in any format, from sports to board games to computer and video games. Although the focus of the course is on the creation of non-digital games, digital games will also be discussed and one of the assignments is the creation of a digital game concept pitch.

Game Design & The Psychology of Choice

Instructors: Greg Trefry, Jenny Lim

4 Credits - offered occasionally in the fall

As game and interaction designers we create systems and choices that can either prey upon our psychological foibles or help us avoid decision pitfalls. It is our responsibility to understand how we decide, to consider the ethics of the systems we create and to practice designing systems in a purposeful manner. Game Design & The Psychology of Choice will provide interaction and game designers with an understanding of the factors that influence behavior and decision-making by looking at the intertwining of cognitive psychology and economics through the development of behavioral economics. These disciplines study behavior on the individual and group level, often revealing some of the why behind the rules of thumb and folk wisdom that game designers come to intuitively. But understanding the why—why we fall into decision traps; why certain tradeoffs tax our brain more than others; why we are overconfident about our abilities; why certain decisions make us uncomfortable—allows us to more purposefully apply our design craft, both in and out of games. Finally, as a class, we will take what we learn about how we think and create series of game experiences based around key cognitive science concepts.

Game Studio 1

Instructors: Matt Boch, Robert Yang

4 Credits – offered every fall (required)

Game studio 1 is the Game Design M.F.A. program’s introductory game development course. Students will gain experience with two game engines with complementary strengths and capabilities, working in teams on a series of four game development project cycles.

Horror Games

Instructor: Matt Weise, miw211@nyu.edu

2 Credits -- offered occassionally

This course covers the history, aesthetics, and cultural impact of horror games. The main emphasis is on video games, but it includes non-digital games as well. Students are exposed to foundational games in what came to be known as the “horror” and “survival horror” genres, such as Alone in the Dark, Resident Evil, Silent Hill, and Amnesia, tracing how their design aesthetics were formed via their relationship with horror fiction in the wider media landscape. This course is for students interested in the culture and evolution of video game aesthetics and who understand and value the practice of close reading and comparative analysis, in the same way one studies the history and cultural relevance of works in other media.​

(Formerly Contemporary Concepts)

Instructor: Gil Hova

2 Credits - usually offered in fall

This class will go through modern tabletop mechanisms and techniques, enabling the student to quickly follow and digest the past few years in board and tabletop game design. It is assumed that the students understand more proven and fundamental concepts in board game design, like area control, worker placement, and deckbuilding.

The general format would consist of playing sample games in class, and then discussing the experience in detail afterwards. For homework, students would be expected to complete the full campaign of a long legacy game (Pandemic: Legacy, Seafall, Charterstone, etc.) and report their progress, experience, and lessons learned halfway through and at the end of the campaign.

​Narrative Studio

Instructor: Clara Fernández-Vara, cfv1@nyu.edu

4 Credits -- Offered once a year

Syllabus

The creation of novel storytelling strategies for digital games is one of the key issues in current game development. Narrative games build bridges between dramatic writing for theatre and film and game design, and opens new avenues for new types of writing for digital media.

The Narrative Game Studio is a hands-on course that focuses on games that include a strong storytelling component, providing the opportunity to do interdisciplinary work. This course introduces students to the design of narrative games, including conceptualization, foundational narrative design strategies, and writing. Students will learn how to use three different tools/engines to develop narrative games; they will work individually at first and then in teams. The course uses the adventure game genre as a gateway to the general strategies used to incorporate narrative in games.​

​Project Studio

Instructor:

4 Credits – offered every semester

In Project Studio, students will work alone or in teams to complete a single game over the course of the semester. Those wishing to take Project Studio must propose a concept or prototype to the instructor for approval. Priority will be given to students who propose a clear game concept or provide an interactive prototype. Teams, where applicable, should be formed before the start of the semester. The philosophy of the course is learning through doing, and the majority of student work time will be spent in actual design and production, which will be structured and guided by the instructor. This production time will be supplemented by in-class exercises, student presentations, critiques, playtesting, discussion, and visits from professional game developers.

Prototype Studio

Instructor: Bennett Foddy, bf43@nyu.edu

4 Credits – Offered once a year

Syllabus

Professional game development frequently involves a ‘rapid prototyping’ phase, wherein developers work feverishly to implement a large number of small ideas to test their potential before embarking on the more rigid and costly processes involved in full production. Many or most of the most famous games in history began with a minimalistic prototype created in less than a week. Prototype Studio is an intensive course which aims to build up a student’s repertoire of fast-prototyping skills and provide the student with invaluable experience in starting and finishing games. The course consists almost entirely in the creation of thirteen playable prototype games, one per week. Each prototype will be confined within a certain genre, conceptual theme, or within unique technical constraints.

Survival Skills

Instructor: TBD

2 Credit - Offered every fall (required)

​Syllabus​

Game design is a professional discipline that can lead to many professional paths, some well known, and some that we have yet to invent. As any other artist, a game designer needs to have a good deal of self-initiative, which can range from being an entrepreneur to knowing how to open the way to do work that has not been done before, whether it is in the art world, technical sphere, or academia.

This course provides students with an overview of the professional possibilities of what they are learning, as well as support in order to prepare their resumés / CVs and portfolios, alongside specific guidance of how to prepare themselves to find work in the specific area(s) of choice.​

Visual Lab 0

Instructor:

2 Credit – offered every fall (required)

Visual Lab Zero is a fundamentals course that introduces MFA Game Design students to the basics of visual design and communication. Following in the tradition of Code Lab Zero, which plays a similar role with game programming, Visual Lab Zero helps students gain a basic understanding of the visual aspects of game creation.

The course is meant to be taken alongside Studio 2, and in a sense serves as visual design tutorial for that class. However, there will also be lessons and exercises that exist independently of Studio 2 and focus on students learning concepts that might not immediately apply to their concurrent work in other classes.

The class activities consist of in-class and take home visual exercises that embody fundamental visual thinking. Through design and critique, students learn to look at and talk about the visual world. Lectures and presentations also introduce students to visual culture both inside and outside of games.