Emerging Themes in Entertainment Technology
Spring 20063 Course Syllabus

The information presented in this syllabus is subject to expansion, change, or adjustment during the quarter.


Name: Christopher A. Egert
Office: Bldg. 70, Room 2515
475 - 4873
cae (*at*) it.rit.edu

Office Hours:

Tuesday 9:00-11:00AM
Tuesday 5-7PM
and by appointment

Course Text and Materials

• Readings will be provided as handouts or web URLS.

Important RIT Deadlines

Last day of add/drop is Monday, March 19, 2007. Last day to withdraw with a grade of "W" is Friday, April 20, 2007. The deadline for withdrawing from a course with a W grade is the end of the 6th week of the quarter. Forms may be obtained from your department office and need your instructor's signature. The completed forms should be returned no later than April 20, 2007,.

NOTE: IT department policy states that a student has one quarter to challenge any grade. After that, grades cannot be challenged

Course Description

This course examines current technologies as well as future trends that will impact the direction of technology development within the gaming industry. Topics of study may include, but are not limited to: graphics hardware, graphics algorithms, content creation tools, content organization tools, artificial intelligence techniques, machine learning techniques, game play networking, audio and video hardware and algorithms, user interface development, control and feedback systems, simulation systems, console game systems, as well as game engine technology and corresponding development APIs.

Prerequisite Courses

Enrollment in the Game Design and Development Graduate Program.

Course Goals and Objectives

General Course Goals
The primary goal of this course is to provide students with a sense of current and future technological practices within the game industry. In addition, the course will expose students to upcoming technology trends as well as open problems within the entertainment technology field. Students will research key areas of game technology development including hardware, algorithms, software libraries, tools, development platforms/applications/languages, and game engines. Where relevant, students will examine the impact of social and usability issues with respect to the development and deployment of such technologies. Students will also examine the relationship between traditional computing research areas and the gaming industry. Students in this course will learn to analyze current research literature, in order to ascertain the impact of the literature on new technology development trends.

Specific Objectives (Learning Outcomes)
By the end of the course, students should be able to:

Describe technological differences between gaming system platforms. Describe key features of gaming systems platforms based upon personal computers, home console systems, and mobile gaming devices.

Describe the hardware components that comprise a modern gaming system independent of a particular game system platform.

Analyze the benefits and limitations of adding particular hardware components to the design of a gaming system.

Describe the general use and function of key algorithms for media manipulation and presentation.

Describe "state-of-the-art" techniques for creating both realistic and believable game simulations.

Describe different artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques as applied to entertainment technology systems.

Describe technologies and techniques for providing both physical and logical user interfaces within game systems.

Describe the technologies necessary for providing small-scale as well as large-scale collaborative experiences for users.

Describe the tools and technologies needed in order to implement a production pipeline for the development of gaming software titles.

Course Organization

Each class, the instructor will assign a particular topic for discussion. Students will be responsible for reading any assigned material and will be expected to participate in discussions related to the topic. Students will be graded on their preparedness as well as the quality of participation.

Along with instructor-led discussion, students will be responsible for researching, organizing, and presenting an emerging themes topic each class. Presentations will be both individual and group in nature. All students will be expected to interact during the discussion of each topic. Presentation and participation will comprise the grade for each presentation assignment. A schedule of topics and assignments will be generated during the first week of the course.

Technology Tests
Students will be responsible for constructing technology tests for at least three instructor or student presented topic. Technology tests are designed to show the feasibility of a particular emerging technology. In addition, the technology test should clearly demonstrate the strengths and limitations of the approach. Technology tests will be performed as either individual or group assignments at the instructor's discretion.

Technology Test Writeups
Each technology test will be accompanied by a writeup describing the technology test. The paper should present the technology, associated literature search, and analysis. In addition, each paper should discuss how the technology could be used in game design and development.

You are required to have a myCourses account for course communications and for submission of those assignments that must be submitted as files to our myCourses drop box.

Course Schedule (Approximate - will change throughout the quarter!)
  1. Gaming System Platforms
    1. The personal computer as gaming platform
    2. Home gaming systems (console systems)
    3. Portable gaming systems
  2. Hardware Components
    1. Graphics co-processors
    2. Audio recording and playback hardware
    3. Video decompression and playback hardware
    4. Technologies for game delivery
    5. Portable storage devices for game play
    6. Wired and wireless networking hardware for game systems
    7. Physical user interfaces for game interactions
  3. Algorithms for Media Manipulation
    1. Algorithms for geometric rendering\
    2. Algorithms for textures and lighting
    3. Algorithms for animation
    4. Algorithms for audio and video compression
    5. Algorithms for audio and video presentation
  4. Simulation and Believability
    1. Realistic vs. believable simulation techniques
    2. Techniques and algorithms for collision modeling
    3. Techniques and algorithms for physical environment simulations
    4. Techniques and algorithms for believable characters and objects in game worlds
  5. Intelligence and Learning
    1. Knowledge representation within game worlds
    2. Planning and reasoning
    3. Behavior-based artificial intelligence techniques for game interactions
    4. Machine learning algorithms for game design
  6. User Interaction and Control
    1. Physical interfaces for game interactions
    2. Logical interfaces for game interactions
    3. Usability considerations for game design
  7. Multiplayer Collaboration and Communication
    1. Client/server and peer-to-peer communication technologies for games
    2. Data storage and persistence technologies for multiplayer game worlds
    3. Algorithms for coordinating and partitioning massively multiplayer environments
    4. Social implications of competitive and cooperative interaction technologies
  8. Tools and Technologies for Managing the Game Development Pipeline
    1. Tools for idea management, storyboarding, and "brainstorming"
    2. 2D content creation tools and technologies
    3. 3D content creation tools and technologies
    4. Audio and video creation and editing tools
    5. Tools for motion and physics
    6. Asset management tools
    7. Programming languages for game development
    8. Low-level application programming interfaces for games
    9. Medium to high-level application programming for games
    10. Game engines and their corresponding tools

The grading scale used along with the grading criteria is as follows:

Component Weight
Participation 20
Presentations 40
Technology Tests and Writeups 40
Range Grade
>= 90.0% A
>= 80.0% & < 90% B
>= 70.0 % & < 80.0% C
>= 65.0 % & < 70.0% D
< 65.0% F

NOTE: The assignments in this course are designed based upon an opened-ended lab model. This means that merely completing the requirements for an assignment is only sufficient for a grade of "B". To receive an "A" grade, you must go beyond the basic requirements by demonstrating creativity, motivation, and initiative. In other words, the grade of "A" is truly reserved for excellent work, not just work that satisfies the basic criteria.


Academic dishonesty is misrepresenting someone else's work as your own. Academic dishonesty is a serious matter, and can result in an automatic F for the course. Please review the IT department's policy on cheating, located online at http://www.it.rit.edu/policies/dishonesty.html. If, during the quarter, you ever have any questions about what does or does not constitute academic dishonesty, please come and talk to me.


Any or all of the previous information is subject to change or adjustment during the quarter.

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