CS 4984 Creative Computing Studio: Video Game Design Spring 2012
Monday and Wednesday 4:00-5:15pm at McBryde 329

Art Instructor:
Instructor: Dane Webster
Phone: (540) 231-2952
Email: webster@vt.edu
Office Hour: By appointment at Henderson 347

Engineering Instructor:
Instructor: Yong Cao
Phone: (540) 231-0415
Email: yongcao@vt.edu
Office Hour: MW 2:30-4:00pm McBryde 122, and by appointment in KWII 1124

Course Description:

This is a project-oriented course for the design and development of video games. The focus is the overall process of
game development, game design and game programming. The students will learn how to produce a game from
beginning to end, how to design and programming, work with team members, and enjoy the experience by making their
own games. A game festival will be hosted at the end the semester, the best game team will be awarded.

The course will consist of lectures, game design practice workshops, video game related assignments/presentations, and a final video game project.


  1. Students should learn the following aspect of video game after the semester.
    Game design principles and process, the ability to design a video game in practice
  2. Video game software systems, both on game engine component and game content pipeline, basic game
    programming techniques and module design patterns, game programming with Microsoft XNA, Torque
    and Unity.
  3. Game development management, game industry working environment, communication and collaboration
    between artists and engineers.
  4. Simple 3D modeling and animation.

Course Work

Below is an estimate of the contributions of different parts of your final grade. We reserve the right to adjust these weights, as necessary.

  Precentage Schedule
Game Critic Assignment 5% Week 2, Tuesday
First Game Design Presentation 10% Week 4, Tuesday and Thursday
Game Development and Management Plan 15% Week 5, Tuesday
Mid-project Milestone Presentation 15% Week 9, Tuesday
Final Game Presentation 25% Week 14, Tuesday & Thursday
Final Game Project Report with Promotion Plan 20% At the end of Week 15
Game Festival and Contest Week 5% Week 15

Materials and References

There is no required Text Book for this course. You can use the following list as reference materials:

  1. “3D Game Engine Architecture” by David H. Eberly.
  2. “Game Design Workshop: Designing, Prototyping, and Playtesting Games” by Tracy Fullerton,
    Christopher Swain and Steven Hoffman.
  3. “The Game Design Reader: A rules of Play Anthology” edited by Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman.
  4. “The Game Programmer’s Guide to Torque” by Edward F. Maurina III.
  5. “XNA Game Studio Express, Developing Games for Windows and the Xbox 360” by Joseph Hall.
  6. Microsoft XNA Game Studio, http://creators.xna.com/.
  7. Unity Game Engine, http://unity3d.com/.

Game Laboratory

The course includes a weekly lab session led by an experienced teaching assistant, and will be
hosted in the Video Game and Interactive Media Lab located at McBryde Hall. The lab is
equipment with 10+ Microsoft XBOX360 game consoles and high-resolution TVs. During the
session, the student will have hands-on experience on game programming with Microsoft XNA.


The Honor Code will be strictly enforced. It is a violation to represent joint work as your own or to let others use your work; always acknowledge any assistance you received in preparing work that bears your name. You are expected to work independently unless explicitly permitted to collaborate on a particular project. It is not a violation to discuss approaches to programs with others; however, it IS a violation to use code fragments in your program that have been written by others without acknowledging the source.