Course Lists

Game Design Course List

GMD 200 Game/Play

An introductory course about game culture, theory, design and development. Students play, make and analyze games in order to build a common and more extensive vocabulary to discuss and understand the form. Principles from traditional board games, sports games, and party games are analyzed and applied to designing two paper-based games over the course of the semester.

GMD 230 2D Game Design

In this course, students will gain a solid foundation in working with the Unity Engine, a powerful cross platform development engine to create video games and other amazing immersive and interactive experiences. Students will learn to use the engine to program, design, and prototype their own video games from the ground up. No programming or game design experience is required. In addition to creating one’s own unique games, students will learn about video game history, theory, and production, including current trends in digital games and gaming.

GMD 231 Narrative Design

An introduction to narrative strategies for digital games. Using the skills learned in their previous game design courses, students learn how to analyze, design, build, and test compelling game narratives.

Open to Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors and Graduate students

GMD 240 3D Game Design

Builds upon the student’s technical and design skills in 2D games and makes the jump into 3D. Students learn how to program, design and build games in 3D environments with a focus on understanding 3D workflows and tools. Students also create their own games as well as work on group projects while learning how to analyze and critique 3D game systems.

Prerequisite: GMD 230 or IA 313

GMD 260 Illustrated Games

This course will examine the relationship between mechanics and aesthetics in the design of traditional two dimensional tabletop games. Students will study the design of board games and card games, examining the critical role that visual design plays in engaging players with a game’s themes and systems. Through independent and group work, students will explore illustration, design, and manufacturing methods used to create visually engaging games which entice and inspire players.

GMD 265 Unreal Engine Workshop

In this introductory skill-building course, students will learn the fundamentals of Unreal Engine, a popular real-time 3D creation tool used in the production of AAA video games, animation, immersive interactive art, architectural visualizations, & film.

GMD 298 Special Topics in Game Design

This course looks at various aspects of game design, theory, and practice with each semester focused on a different theme. Students are expected to be read, discuss, and write about related topics as well as producing finished projects. The specific topic is announced in the course schedule.

Open to Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors and Graduate students

GMD 314 Bodies in Play

This studio course explores the complex role of the body in games. Throughout the semester, students study historic and emergent forms of play, ranging from children's games to experiments in the arts to innovative commercial game interfaces. Students from all disciplines are encouraged to bring their own skills to collaborate on small embodied games, new sports, experimental video game controllers, and playful installations.

Prerequisite: GMD 305, IA 210, or IA 215

GMD 315 Hybrid Games

Explores new game design techniques by having students concurrently design, build and playtest a tabletop game and it's digital counterpart. Students work in teams to build a tabletop and digital RPGs while developing stronger game design and programming skills. The goal of this course is to examine how rapid prototyping of digital and analog games can influence and improve upon a game's design. Students are expected to have a background in either programming, game design or concept art to be considered for the course. This course works closely with students and faculty from Johns Hopkins University’s Computer Science Department.

Prerequisite: GMD 200

GMD 320 Level & Player Experience Desi

Understanding user experience is central to the practice of designing games and other interactive experiences. In this course, students will learn to design exciting and effective video games spaces which result in compelling experiences for their players. Throughout the semester, students will work on small projects to develop processes for planning and prototyping virtual spaces which encourage curiosity and engagement through successful goal setting, wayfinding, and level architecture.

Prerequisite: GMD 230 or IA 313

GMD 330 Unity Engine 2: Advanced 2D

In this course, students will continue building programming and design skills developed in Introduction to Unity Engine: 2D Game Design. Throughout the semester, students will make small, personally-directed games, exploring exciting new concepts such as game development for mobile devices like phones and tablets. Additionally, students will learn how to use Version Control systems and other valuable project management skills to work effectively on team projects.

Prerequisite: GMD 230 or IA 313

GMD 340 Advanced 3D Game Design

Create small 3D games in groups while furthering their understanding of 3D game design, research and prototyping. The course emphasizes project management skills so that groups can successfully plan and execute their designs. Studio work is supplemented by readings and discussions further exploring contemporary cultural issues surrounding digital games.

Prerequisite: GMD 240

GMD 400 Senior Thesis - Visual Dev

In this collaborative course, students will begin preparing a final body of artwork geared towards the visual development market. This section of senior thesis will contain students from multiple disciplines who are interested in developing a body of work collaboratively or individually for games, film, and animation. Working closely with instructors and peers, students will create a single semester-long project that will be reviewed in individual and group critiques. Class deliverables will be based on each student’s creative discipline, including outcomes such as the production of a personally rewarding and commercially viable group of images or set of tested and playable game prototypes. Coursework will be supplemented by visiting artists, critics and lecturers, and field trips to places of interest.

GMD 498 Senior Studio I

Working in teams, students spend the semester creating a game prototype that they refine and polish during the spring semester. The goal of this course is for students to demonstrate their ability to research, design and test a game which shows their own personal voice as well as an understanding of the field of game design.

Prerequisite: GMD 230 Senior Game Design majors only

GMD 499 Senior Studio II

In this course students refine their game prototypes into finished games and create documentation to submit for festivals, grants, distributions, and exhibition. The course also covers many aspects of professional development for game designers, including portfolios, web presence, funding, and entrepreneurship.

Prerequisite: GMD 498