Time: January to December 2020
Place: online studies
Enrolment by: March 31st 2020
Price: Free of charge
Number of students: 15000
Extent: 5 ECTS credits to 15 ECTS credits, depending on the modules you complete

Target group: This module is targeted at beginners and hobbyists 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. Examples include PUBG, GTA series, Need for Speed, Temple Run, Angry Birds, Clash of Clans to name a few massive success stories.

This course will provide a beginners guide to hands on games creation. The modules stand separately with deliverables but interlink so that a student completing all 15 ECTS credits will have a basic understanding how games are developed.

The lectures includes introduction to the games industry, data analytics, innovation in games, and history of games. Then after the warm-up modules you will be developing your own game designs, and games yourself!

The lectures are delivered mostly in forms of videos that you follow covering 2D painting, 3D modelling, and Unity development.

Learning resources:
In addition to a collection of videos that covers each topic in depth. Key assets will be provided for students to download directly from Teachable.com which is our teaching platform. All registered students will receive detailed instructions how log in to the platform.

Learning outcomes:
Learn the basic concepts of games industry, data analytics, innovation in games, and history of games and then game creation, 2D, 3D art. Learn fundamentals of procedural programming in the C# language.

Assessment:
There are 9 modules that sum up to 15 ECTS in total. Each module has a test or a deliverable to be submitted for assessment.

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

MODULE OUTLINE, 15 ECTS:

This is the recommend order of study from very easy to more difficult:

The Games Industry and History of Games

1) Module 11 – History of Games, Parts 1&2, 1 ECTS – VERY EASY
2) Module 12 – Game Experience Analysis, My Favourite Game, 1 ECTS – VERY EASY
3) Module 13 – Innovation in Games , 1 ECTS – VERY EASY
4) Module 14 – Games Industry and Data Analytics, 1 ECTS – EASY

Game development modules start from here

5) Module 10 – Design-Concept-Design, 2 ECTS – EASY
6) Module 1 – Introduction to development tools, 2 ECTS INTERMEDIATE
7) Module 2 – 'The Return' -text based adventure, 1 ECTS – INTERMEDIATE
8) Module 3 – An interactive card combat game, 4 ECTS – DIFFICULT
9) Module 4 – Pixel Art – 2 ECTS – INTERMEDIATE
 

SYLLABUS IN DETAIL:

Module 11 – History of Games, 1 ECTS

Module 11 is the about the history of games. 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 13: Innovation in Games, Quiz, 1 ECTS:

Video games industry started properly to boom in the 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 the games industry facts, titles, development platforms, studios, characters, designers and developers, associations and communities and, of course, technologies.

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

We will provide you some website links for making it easier to find the right answer.

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 60 quiz questions about innovation in games.

PC is recommended and internet connections for searching facts.

Assessment:
We will pass you if you answer correctly to 70% (42/60) of questions. You can do the quiz as many times you like until you pass.

 

Module 14: The Games Industry and Data Analytics, 1 ECTS

The Video Games Industry has grown since 90s to an industry worth more than 150 billion $ (2019). It is bigger industry than movies, films and music altogether. As learned from Module 11, 12 and 13, it is thanks to lot of innovations in the industry as well excellent, creative people developing great games along the history of approx. 50 years.

This module is about games industry and data analytics. It is very seldom that any university degree in games teaches the business side of the industry. Most often courses are about technology and arts. We try to give you an easy introduction about the terminology used in the games industry and also introduce you to a number important game analytics topics (data science) that you should know before deciding what type of games you want to develop. At first you probably want to like to develop games you like personally, but when it comes to a successful game you need to know the facts about the games industry and where is the best potential, and still like the game genre you work with.

This Module is the last ‘easy’ module we publish. As always it is important that you get to know at least the basics of games industry even you would prefer games programming or games arts.

You will self-study this document I prepared for you and then answer to 30 quiz questions to show your learnings about the different aspects the games business and data analytics.

Learning outcomes:
The module will improve your general knowledge about video games industry and data analytics in a simple way. You can study this module by using a smart phone.

Learn about video games industry and games business.

Learn about terminology used in video games industry and data analytics.

Learning resources:
Your main learning resource is this presentation. There is NO need to search for internet for more information but there are references you might be interested in looking for further reading.

Assessment:
You need to pass quiz with over 80% correct answers (28/35). You can do the quiz as many times you like until you pass.

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: An Interactive Card Combat Game, 4 ECTS

Introduction
In this module you will learn how to develop a fully working card combat game!

‘Merlin Demon War’ is a simple fun single player card battler. Scene: Merlin faces Mordred and her army of darkness in a battle to the death. Content: The player takes the role of Merlin and using a selection of spells must defeat the Evil hordes of Mordred. The objective is simply to kill as many enemies as possible.

During this module you will learn:

  • How to import and use 2D graphics
  • Make simple animations
  • Use random numbers to make the game different each playthrough
  • How to use Co-routines for timing
  • How to have multiple scenes
  • Add Drag and Drop
  • and how to import and use sound effects

The content of the videos is:

  1. Introduction to the project
  2. Setting up the Unity Project
  3. Importing Graphics and Setting up the GUI
  4. Creating the Cards
  5. Coding the Cards
  6. Creating the Players
  7. Dealing the Cards can Coroutines
  8. Adding Drag and Drop
  9. Attach Spells
  10. Defense Spells
  11. Finishing off Gameplay
  12. Sound Effects
  13. Assignment

Instructions to complete:

  • Watch the videos, follow them carefully and submit your assignment as explained in the video #13 Assignment
  • Download the assets provided below:
  1. Materials-Art,
  2. Materials-Audio,
  3. Materials-Merlin's Demon War Complete

 

Module 4: Pixel Art – 2 ECTS

Module 4: 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.

 

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.