Time: January 2019 to December 2019
Place: online studies
Enrolment by: October 31st 2019
Price: Free of charge
Number of students: 10000
Extent: 5 ECTS credits to 15 ECTS credits, depending on the modules you complete

Target group: This module is targeted at people interested in learning the basics of making video games and curious to understand what happens behind the scenes.
Lecturer: Matthew Dickson, James Shepherd, Dr. Jan Storgårds, Course Leader

Description:

Games are one of the most exciting, fast moving, and lucrative creative industries worldwide. In the last 15 years the industry has matured and diversified. There are several key disciplines people can specialise in. The most successful games are creative powerhouses that have revenue returns that far outstrip comparable products in other mediums.

This course will provide a beginners guide to hands on games creation. The modules stand separately with discrete deliverables but interlink so that a student completing the all fifteen credits will be deliver a more round and fully featured final deliverable. They can be tackled in sequence or out of sequence.

The videos in this credit give an overview of the course, 2D painting, 3D modelling, and Unity development.

MODULE OUTLINE:

Part 1: Course Overview:

Video 1: Games: An overview. Content: The industry. The course structure and content. The software you will need. (Software: Unity, Visual Studio, Blender, Krita, back up storage)

Module 11 – History of Games, 1 ECTS

Module 11 is the first game’s history module for the course. It is an introductory module. It serves to illustrate the importance of looking at past games and what can be learnt from studying their historical significance. It will be essential viewing for anyone interested in a career in games development. The topic is ‘Ten Games that changed Gaming’. The learning outcomes are as follows:

· How games evolved over time.
· An understanding of how technological innovation can generate game-play innovation.
· How deep rewarding mechanics can be created with great economy and limited assets.

These learnings should directly impact student’s abilities to complete the practical modules on this course. No prior design, art of coding experience is required.

There are NO deliverables. You need to complete a quiz which follows the videos.

The module is broken down as follows:

History of Games  Part 1: This video covers the learning outcomes, the judging criteria and the following game.
Game 1: Spacewar!
Game 2: Defender
Game 3: Pac-man
Game 4: Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Game 5: Doom

History of Games Part 2:

This video covers games 1-6:
Games 6: Ridge Racer
Game 7: Half-Life
Game 8: Grand Theft Auto 3
Game 9: Minecraft
Game 10: Pokémon Go

Module 12: Game Experience Analysis, 1 ECTS:

We all like to talk to our friends about our best game playing experiences. From the perspective of being part of the games industry we think it is important to understand the history and the development of the video games industry. Many game designers and developers learn from their own experiences because they want to make even better games!

Analysing your own game experience will give you an understanding how the games industry became such an important industry and part of our everyday lives and what makes a game fun! We have all played more than one great game but here we make you to choose your favourite one.

This Module 12 will also help you to take and complete Module 10 Game Design -module where you need to design your own game.

Learning outcomes:

Learn to look at your game player experience for the purpose of understanding behaviours and reasons why some games are better and more engaging than others.

Learn to look at important features and characteristics of a ‘great game’ from your own perspective.

Learning resources:

There are no videos to watch on this lecture. You need to write an essay about your own game experience, analysing your own behaviours and game choice as a game player.

You have already completed Module 10: History of Games and learned why other games have been more important for the industry than others.

Assessment:

Your Essay will be read and assessed. The essay must cover a story about your game experience as well as you need to answer various questions about the game.

Module 10 – Design Concept Design, 2 ECTS

Module 10 Is the first Design module for the course. It is a two-credit module. It focuses on the early stage design in a game’s developments and Concept Design. It will be essential viewing for anyone interested in a career in games development.

No prior design, art of coding experience is required.

Part 1: Introduction to Design

This video serves as an introduction to the topic. Covering different ways games design can be approached and what need to be achieved before we start creating games to maximise development success.

There are no deliverables associated with this video.

Part 2: Design and Imagination

How can we improve and ‘turbo charge’ our imaginations to create world beating game concepts? This video shows how any student can follow a simple series of principles to create a personalised process that will enable them to create unique and compelling game concepts.

There are no deliverables associated with this video.

Part 3: Design Validation

How do we know if an idea is good and worth pursuing? This video will arm students with a set of methodology’s for assessing and validating early stage concepts.

There are no deliverables associated with this video.

Part 4: Design for One Sheets

Now we can generate ideas and valid that they are worthy of sustained development how do we structure are thoughts and subsequent documentation to maximise communication effectiveness and project success?

In this video students will discover how to shape an idea into a One Sheet design document.

Deliverables: Students will take all their learnings from this module and produce a One Sheet document of a game concept that they have designed.

Part 5: Character Design

Character design plays a major part in many videogames. What are the underlying principles that can be employed to create rounded, appealing and memorable characters? In this video students will find out.

Deliverables: Students will take all their learnings from this video and produce a compelling character design with background biographical information.

Module 1: Introduction to development tools, 2 ETCS

Part 1: Course Overview:
Video 1: Games: An overview. Content: The industry. The course structure and content. The software you will need. (Software: Unity, Visual Studio, Blender, Krita, back up storage)

Part2: Introduction to Krita. (2D Art)

Video 1: Software Set-up.
Video 2: Krita User Interface.
Video 3: Brushes.
Video 4: Painting Masks and Selections.
Video 5: Transforms and Text.

Deliverable: 2D Art.

Part3: Intro to Blender (3D Art)
Video 1: Download and Interface.
Video 2: Setting up the scene.
Video 3: Modelling Part1.
Video 4. Modelling Part2.
Video 5: Modelling Part 3.
Video 6: Texturing.
Video 7: Prepping for Blender.

Deliverable: 3D Model.

Part 4: Intro to Unity (Game Creation).
Video 1: Installing Unity.
Video 2: Creating a project.
Video 3: Unity’s User Interface.
Video 4: Scenes, Game Objects, Components.
Video 5: Cameras.
Video 6: Lights.
Video 7: Materials.
Video 8: Summary and Tips.

Part 5: Intro to Coding
Video 1: Introduction to Programming.
Video 2: Visual Studio.
Video 3: Your first programme.
Video 4: Variables
Video 6: Logic
Video 7: Containers.
Video 8: Loops.
Video 9: Strings and Dictionaries.
Video 10: Functions.
Video 11: Classes, Scope and Namespaces.
Video 12: Script Integration in Unity.
Video 13: Debugging.

Part 6: Your Assignment
Video 1: Prepping Your Model for Unity in Blender.
Video 2: Importing Your Model in Unity.
Video 3: Your Assignment.

Final Deliverable: Textured Robot in a Unity Scene.

NB: Video numbers and duration subject to change as the above is a minimal estimate.

Module 2 outline for 'The Return' -text based adventure – 1 ECTS

Carrying on from what we've learnt in Module 1, in this module you will be creating the Text based Adventure game “The Return”. You will be creating the game using a flexible / expandable architecture that will serve as a solid foundation for future projects.

By the end of this module you will have a finished text adventure and will have learnt a lot of the essential skills required in programming games.

Module 2 outline

Part 1 Introduction: An overview of the entire module and the design of the game we're are going to make.

Part 2 Project setup and GUI: Learn how to create a Unity Graphical User Interface.

Part 3 World data structures: Learn how to create data structures to store the game world and how to add that data to those structures.

Part 4 Creating a Game Controller: Learn what a Game Controller is and how to make one:

Part 5 Processing User Input: Learn how to get the game to accept and respond to user input

Part 6 Implementing a System of Actions: Learn how to create a system to handle actions that the user can perform in-game.

Part 7 Adding the Go Action: Learn how to add the first action “Go” to allow the player to move around the world.

Part 8 Adding Items: Learn how to add items to the world, including items in room and the players inventory.

Part 9 Item Interactions: Learn how to create a system that handles the interaction of items in our game world. As well as some refactoring.

Part 10 Adding a Conversation: Learn how to expand the current systems to handle conversions between the player an in-game characters.

Part 11 Finished the Game: Learn how to add a win condition to the game, as well as some testing and bug fixing.

Part 12 Your Assignment: Put your own content into the game to complete the module

Module 3: Pixel Art – 2 ECTS

Module 3: Pixel Art is a beginner level introduction to low resolution pixel art creation. Students need no prior art experience, (although it is highly recommended that they complete the ‘Introduction to Krita’ videos of Module 1 of the course to facilitate completion of this module.), and it is to be noted that this is an art module that can be completed with mouse input if a student has no access to a tablet or pen input.

Students will gain a wide set of skills in, character creation, environment creation and animation and will learn key game art skills such as anti-aliasing, dithering, colour reduction, and principles of animation.

XAMK003PixelArt-Part2-HUD Elements.

Much less dry than it sounds 😊 In this set of videos students will create a low resolution pixel art portrait of the character Merlin which will be used in later modules as head up display character icon. They will learn many of the core concepts of pixel art in a series of fun, easy to complete videos.

Video 1: Preparation: In this video we select and resize our reference images in preparation for the work ahead.

Video 2: Blocking in the Shapes. Create and use different layers in Krita to block in the main areas of the image.

Video 3: The Dithering Brush. As we start to add detail into the image, we discuss and implement the key Pixel Art concept of dithering.

Video 4: Creating the Features. This video is the heart of the project. It is here that we learn to shape and sculpt the detail in to the image by adjusting the colour, tone and placement of individual pixels within the Merlin image.

Video 5: Anti-Aliasing. Here we learn about the key game concept of Anti-Aliasing and look at different potential style treatments.

Video 6: Colour Reduction.

A short fun video where we play experiment with the colour reduction tools within Krita.

Deliverables: Students will submit the low-resolution Merlin artwork at the completion of this set of videos.

XAMK003PixelArt-Part3-Environments

In this set of videos students will make a 2-D environment art tile-set to be used in a later game module. Starting from scratch they will create a simple mediaeval pixel art scene.

Video 1: Setting up the Tile-set. From an initial piece of concept art students will create the overall tile-map and level tiles and begin the creation of the level.

Video 2: Creating the Background. They will move on to start thinking about creating tile borders, tile orientation and how to depict 3D space in a 2D environment.

Video 3: Creating the Scene. Once the tiles have been created, they will be aligned in position to create finished scene ready for texture implementation.

Video 4: Creating the Textures. From a series of reference images, the student will create the first of several textured tiles for the environment scene.

Video 5: Texture Placement.

Here students will learn how a lighting model and geometric factors can affect the number of landscape tiles that are needed to finish the full environment tile-set.

Video 6: Adding Details.

In the final video of the set we add individual decorative features to the scene to bring it to life.

Deliverables: Students will submit their finished environment tile-set at the completion of these videos.

XAMK003PixelArt-Part4-Characters

In this set of videos students will make a 2-D character in preparation for animation.

Video 1: Paint Design. In previous modules we have created work by having strong reference material. In this video we look at other more experimental ways of designing a character.

Video 2: Texture. Once we are happy with the design of our character we start to paint in some details and texture.

Video 3: Shading. Consistency is an important consideration when making game graphics, in this final video we apply the environment graphics lighting model to the character we have created to make it sit correctly within the scene.

Deliverables. There is no deliverable at the end of this set of videos.

XAMK003PixelArt-Part5-Animation

Animation is a very large topic. In this set of videos students will learn the basics of animation by utilising the 2D animation software available within Krita. They will learn key animation principles such as, ‘slow-in / slow-out’, exaggeration, follow through and secondary motion.

Video 1: Your First Animation. Using the character completed in part 4 students learn the basics of the Krita animation interface and make a simple to complete animation.

Video 2: Principles of Animation. In the second video students evolve their animation taking into consideration the principles of ‘slow in slow out’ and exaggeration.

Video 3: Principles of Animation 2. Students add bones to their animation and learn to consider physics and secondary motion.

Video 4: Building and Shading the Tail. With the animation complete the tail is drawn in and shaded and textured to finish the deliverables for this module.

Deliverables: Students will take the character they created in part 4 ally it with the animation they make in part 5 and submit the result.

Learning outcomes:

Learn the basic concepts of game creation, 2D, 3D art.
Learn fundamentals of procedural programming in the C# language.

Learning resources:

In addition to a collection of videos that covers each topic in depth. Key assets will be provided on Dropbox for students to download.

The delivery of the course is done through Teachable.com platform. All registered students will receive detailed instructions how log in to the platform.

Assessment:

Students will be tasked with creating basic 2D assets, importing them onto a 3D object, and setting it up in a 3D unity scene.

Module 13: Innovation in Games, 1 ECTS:

Video games industry started properly to boom in the late 70s. As described in the Module 11: History of Games, there have been many significant games published that changed the industry. However, along these years many of the technologies used in developing games have advanced a lot too.

This module is about improving your general knowledge about innovation in games. We will cover topics such as industry facts, titles, development platforms, studios, game, characters designers and developers, associations and communities and, of course, technologies.

You will self-study and answer 60 quiz questions to learn about the different aspects that influence the future of video games development.

Learning outcomes:

The module will improve your general knowledge about video games industry and development in a fun and simple way that can be also studied by using a smart phone.

Learn to look for information about video games industry.

Learn to follow selected trends in games.

Learning resources:

There are no videos or presentation materials to watch on this lecture. You need to be able to browse the internet to search for answers to the 99 quiz questions about innovation in games.

PC is recommended and internet connections for searching facts.

Assessment:

You need to pass quiz with over 70% correct answers (42/60). You can do the quiz as many times you like until you pass.

Additional information on enrolment:
Open University of Applied Sciences office, email openstudies@xamk.fi.

Terms of cancellation:
If you are not able to participate in the course, please let us know as soon as possible by email openstudies@xamk.fi.

You’ll receive an invitation by email to this course within one week after signing up.